Photography by: myself & Jessica Knai
Location: San Francisco, CA
If you follow me on Instagram, then you'll know that the other day I had the pleasure of working with Toyota to showcase some of my favorite creative spots throughout San Francisco. It was a dream collaboration, and one of my most favorite ones I've ever done. I brought my darling friend Jessica with me, who's no stranger on this blog, and we had the best day ever. Definitely one for the books, and one I'll never forget.
We started our journey off at Twin Peaks, which has the most amazing view of the city. It's up this windy mountain, and overlooks the entire city. The Golden Gate, the Bay Bridge, Market street... you can see it all from the top! Neither Jessica nor I had ever been up there, and we were blown away- literally. The winds were so insane that we felt like we were going to be swept away! It was freezing cold, so if you ever go up there, I highly recommend you bring a parka (or, make other plans so you don't have to stay there a while haha). We took some photos, met with our driver, toured the Toyota, and then we were off!
Next, we decided to head to the Presidio, and check out Baker Beach and the Golden Gate Bridge. Now, these spots are ultimate tourist traps, so I usually never come here. But hey, sometimes it's fun to be a tourist in your own city! Thankfully, once we got down the peak it was super sunny and warm- I almost forgot I was in cloudy San Francisco! We strolled down the beach for a bit, playing in the sand and capturing some photos, before we headed up to the Golden Gate to get that tacky tourist shot. We felt so silly being up there. Mind you, when Jessica and I travel, we bring a sh*t ton of cameras with us. I usually have my DSLR with a backup lens, and my Polaroid or film camera, and Jess usually has a DSLR, 2-3 lenses, and her film camera. Plus, our phones. So between that and the location, we looked like total tacky tourists. But I have to say, we got some killer shots out of it, so it was totally worth it.
We took a detour at the Dutch Windmill, which is really just another photo spot. It's a huge windmill right by Ocean Beach that's surrounded by tulip fields. I took some photos of Jess there, and I have to say, they're some of my most favorite photos to date. Maybe i'll share them on here soon. While we were there, a couple noticed I was a photographer and asked me to take a photo for them- but then proceeded to request different angels and positions! It turned into a mini shoot, and Jess said I should've charged them $20. In hindsight, I wish I did, but hey, they were tourists from South Africa, and I wanted to show them just how nice and friendly people in the Bay can be. :)
Two hours in and three locations down, we still had two more hours left with the car and driver. We decided to head down to famous Postcard Row, aka Steiner St. in Hayes Valley, home of the Painted Ladies (Full House, anyone?) We were able to snag the perfect parking spot right in front, and seriously, we were all cheering about it. You can see in the photos above how perfect it is. Trying to find any parking in Alamo Square- and in San Francisco in general- is a near impossible feat, so finding a parking spot, let alone one that's perfect for photographs just proved that the universe was truly on our side that day.
While the Painted Ladies are fun to look at, that's literally the only thing to do, there- look at them. So, we packed up relatively quickly and headed to our last stop of the day: Mission Dolores Park. As famous as it is, I'd never been to Dolores Park before. I've always heard such amazing things about it, but had never taken the time to visit there. By the time we got there, Karl the Fog had just started to roll in, so it was a little too cold to just sit and relax. But, we still had so much fun. We shot some photos, petted some dogs- and had quite the embarrassment with a Samoyed puppy (Jess thought it was a Samoan, I thought it was a Samoa)- and we danced throughout the park. It helped too that our driver was so nice and friendly, and laughed and hung out with us the entire time. The three of us had a blast, cracking jokes and exploring parts of the city that we normally drive right past.
I had such a great experience getting to drive around with Toyota for the day. Not only was it amazing getting to explore, but the car was extremely good quality. It reminded me a lot of my MINI- small and compact on the outside, yet super spacious on the inside. Even though I wasn't allowed to actually drive it (since I'm under 21), it drove a lot similarly to my car, which felt nice, since I quite love my car.
Overall, I had one of the best days I've had in a while. Everything about it was absolutely perfect, and I couldn't have asked for a better experience working with the Toyota team.
** This post was written in collaboration with Toyota. In no way does that affect my review, nor did it affect my experience.