Home is where the heart is

12 Apr

Home is where the heart is. And as much as I love DC and the home we’ve made for ourselves in Cleveland Park, a part of my heart is stuck in California–and each time I go back, I realize even more how much I miss it.

The nice thing about heading to the Bay Area with people who aren’t from the region is that it gives me the chance to act as a faux tourist. Between San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area, there is an overwhelming list of things to do and see–but I have my own favorites and must-dos for out-of-towners and locals alike.

West Coast Wanderings:

  • Walk/run across the Golden Gate Bridge. I didn’t do this until I was 18, despite living 15 minutes from the Bridge for my entire life, and I’m glad I finally got around to it. Despite the wind and fog, you can’t beat the views.
  • Take the ferry. My favorite is the ferry that goes between Larkspur and AT&T Park for every Giants game. What a great way to get to and from a baseball game–and no need for a designated driver! But you’re not losing out by taking the regular ferry either, which drops you off at the Ferry Building for plenty of shopping and dining.
  • Visit the Ferry Building. This is a great stop to browse, buy, and indulge in local delicacies. From fresh roasted coffee to organic chocolates to locally cured meats to the Slanted Door, you can’t go wrong. And if you happen to be there on a Saturday, you’ll get the extra pleasure of a fantastic farmers market.
  • Eat in Chinatown. Forget Rice-a-Roni, dim sum is the real San Francisco treat. Plenty of fried food–and it comes around to your table on carts. Can’t go wrong. Chinatown is also a great place to pick up gifts, fresh spices, a wide variety of teas, and all sorts of Asian food to add to your pantry.
  • Stroll through Muir Woods. Home to the tallest trees in the world, Muir Woods is a sight to be seen. Whether you’re up for a day of hiking or a casual stroll on the paved path, you can’t miss out on the giant redwoods.
  • Wander through downtown Sausalito. Whether you get there by car, ferry, or bike, downtown Sausalito is a quaint little strip with plenty of cute cafes and art galleries along the water. If you’re in town, Fish is a great restaurant for some local seafood.
  • Go wine tasting. Duh. You can’t go to the Bay Area without taking a trip to Napa/Sonoma/St. Helena to go wine tasting. I went to Schramsberg Vineyards for a fabulous sparking wine tour.
  • Shop on Union Street. You’ll find a lot of great boutiques on Union Street (in San Francisco)–and also some fun people watching.

There is so much more to do (Haight-Ashbury, burritos in the Mission, Coit Tower, the Marina, North Beach, Napa Valley dining…), but hopefully this list is a good starting point for anyone who is planning a Bay Area vacation.

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