San Francisco | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com Trip Ideas, Itineraries, Maps & Area Experts Sat, 18 Nov 2017 00:01:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9 https://deathstar-650a.kxcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/cropped-moon_logo_M-32x32.jpg San Francisco | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com 32 32 125073523 San Francisco to Seattle Road Trip https://moon.com/2017/07/san-francisco-to-seattle-road-trip/ https://moon.com/2017/07/san-francisco-to-seattle-road-trip/#respond Thu, 27 Jul 2017 19:51:04 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=58287 Most people view the Golden Gate Bridge as the magnificent entrance to the beautiful and storied city of San Francisco, but after my road trip driving north out of San Francisco, I now see it the other way around. That iconic red bridge is not only your gateway to the magnificent northern California coast and the emerald-meets-indigo shores of the Pacific Northwest, but it’s also the perfect start to a San Francisco to Seattle road trip.

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Most people view the Golden Gate Bridge as the magnificent entrance to the beautiful and storied city of San Francisco, but after my road trip driving north out of San Francisco, I now see it the other way around. That iconic red bridge is not only your gateway to the magnificent northern California coast and the emerald-meets-indigo shores of the Pacific Northwest, but it’s also the perfect start to a San Francisco to Seattle road trip.

There are faster ways to do this road trip. You can take Interstate 80 east out of San Francisco to Interstate 5, making the 850 (1400 km) mile drive north to Seattle in about 12 hours—a ho hum day or two, if you’re in a hurry—and if you stay on Highway 101 north of Golden Gate, it’s only four hours cutting through agricultural country to Humboldt Redwoods State Park. But if you believe life is more about the journey and less about getting from point A to point B, keep the Pacific Ocean on your left and give yourself five days to a week to soak up beautiful scenery, picturesque towns, and giant trees.

View of the coastline at Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California.

Point Reyes National Seashore has miles of hiking trails. Photo © mtilghma/iStock.

Driving north across the Golden Gate, you’ll enter Point Reyes National Seashore after about an hour; nature lovers will marvel at the hundred square miles of unspoiled grasslands, forests, estuaries, and beaches. Another hour finds you driving along the 17-mile stretch of Sonoma Coast State Park, where every turn of the cliffside highway offers another majestic vista, showing off rocky headlands framing sandy coves below.

You’ll be tempted to think it doesn’t get any better, but the next 120 miles of remote and rugged California coast will prove you’ve only scratched the surface! Crossing from Sonoma into Mendocino county, you can spend an entire day simply stopping at viewpoints to marvel at the intense Pacific hues and endless craggy bluffs. Eventually, you’ll reach Mendocino, an artsy village presiding over a pristine bay, where every shop and gallery along Main Street boasts a million-dollar view.

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway near Mendocino.

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway near Mendocino. Photo © duha127/iStock.

Fifty miles ahead, Highway 1 rejoins Highway 101 and heads back inland, for your first taste of redwood forest. Parallel to the highway, the famous 30 mile stretch called the Avenue of the Giants cruises past centuries-old groves populated by trees taller than the Statue of Liberty. 

Next, Highway 101 returns to the coast, where the twin towns of Eureka and Arcata provide a last stop on the road to one of California’s greatest natural treasures, the Redwood National and State Parks—two million acres of old growth forest providing some of the best hiking and camping opportunities on the planet.

You may take Highway 199 out of the Redwoods to link to Interstate 5, the expressway to Portland and Seattle. But then you’d miss the entire Oregon coast, where winds have spent thousands of years carving rocky sea stacks that rise like monoliths out of flat sand beaches. The craggy, woodsy coast of Southern Oregon is interrupted only by forty miles of Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, where shifting sands form dunes as high as 500 feet over the ocean!

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Park. Photo © Capricornis/Dreamstime.

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Park. Photo © Capricornis/Dreamstime.

Charming small towns populate Oregon’s coast, every one of them offering warm bowls of delicious local clam chowder, whether its small resort towns like Bandon and Cannon Beach, or more cosmopolitan destinations like Newport and Astoria.

From Astoria, you may easily shoot east to reach one-of-a-kind Portland, a truly creative city that wears its weirdness like a badge of honor. But for a more adventurous journey, continue north to reach Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Rising out of the state’s southern shores, the Olympic Peninsula is home to the awe-inspiring Olympic National Park, where temperate rainforests dotted by sparkling lakes and bisected by salmon-rich rivers climb slopes up into a breathtaking snowcapped mountain range.

The entire park is surrounded by coastline where Native American communities continue to fish the oceans as they have for generations, and where driftwood pieces the size of entire trees pile up on remote beaches that are often accessible only by enervating fresh air hikes.

The Pier in Port Townsend. Photo © Jeff Ferguson/123rf.

The Pier at Port Townsend. Photo © Jeff Ferguson/123rf.

As Highway 101 curls around the northeastern corner of the Olympic Peninsula, consider a side-trip to the elegant Victorian mariner town of Port Townsend, which is surrounded by water and boasts mountain views both to the east and west. From there you may descend in short order to Bainbridge Island, where a short ferry ride takes you across the Puget Sound—the gateway to America’s gleaming northwest metropolis, Seattle: home to a thriving cosmopolitan culture, and all the delicious oysters you can eat! 

 


San Francisco to Seattle Travel Maps

Travel map of San Francisco

San Francisco

Maps - Northern California 7e - San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco Bay Area

Travel map of California's north coast.

California’s North Coast

Color map of the South Coast of Oregon

South Coast of Oregon

Color map of the central coast of Oregon

Central Coast of Oregon

Color map of the north coast of Oregon

North Coast of Oregon

Travel map of the Olympic Peninsula and the Coast of Washington

Olympic Peninsula

Travel map of Seattle, Washington

Seattle

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Plan a California Coast Road Trip (Including Detours for Big Sur) https://moon.com/2017/06/take-a-two-week-california-coast-road-trip/ https://moon.com/2017/06/take-a-two-week-california-coast-road-trip/#comments Thu, 01 Jun 2017 18:36:09 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=7027 A day-by-day California coast road trip accounting for detours and road closures along key sections of the PCH. This itinerary includes helpful travel maps and is flexible enough to start in San Diego, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. Only have two to four days? Each section can also be its own quick getaway.

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The ideal way to experience the California coast is to hit the road. Following this legendary road trip will take you through California’s bustling cosmopolitan cities, small beach towns, redwood forests, and sandy beaches. This itinerary has been updated to take into account detours caused by 2016’s stormy winter, which caused road closures and mudslides in some regions.

You can switch back and forth between the two routes depending on your pace and your interests. Highway 1 is generally more scenic; U.S. 101 is usually faster.For the most part, you’ll cover this stunning 850 miles by following the legendary Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) and U.S. 101. You can switch back and forth between the two routes depending on your pace and your interests. Highway 1 is generally more scenic; U.S. 101 is usually faster. A few diversions onto other routes are necessary to cover the entire coast (for example, you’ll be driving I-5 between San Diego and Los Angeles).

The day-by-day routes below begin in Southern California, but you can just as easily start in Central or Northern California, or reverse the route (from driving north to driving south) if that works better for you. Combine all three itineraries to make a 16-day tour of the coast. If you’re pressed for time, choose just one or two of the itineraries.

Northern California travel map

Northern California

Southern California travel map

Southern California

Five Days along the Southern California Coast

San Diego

Day 1

map of San Diego

San Diego

Easygoing San Diego is a great place to start any vacation. Upon arrival, orient yourself by driving to the top of Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial, a small mountain that has views of the entire city. After that, head down to La Jolla Cove to go kayaking or snorkeling; or just lie on the beach.

In the afternoon, visit Balboa Park, where you’ll spend most of your time at the San Diego Zoo. End your day with a craft beer at one of San Diego’s many breweries, like the giant Stone Brewing Co., followed by a meal in the Gaslamp Quarter. Try the historic Grant Grill or the nearby Café Chloe.

Day 2

The fastest way to reach the North County beach towns of Encinitas, Carlsbad, and Oceanside is to take I-5 north out of San Diego. To cruise along the coast, opt for North Coast Highway 101 (also called Camino del Mar, San Elijo Boulevard, and Carlsbad Boulevard as it travels from Torrey Pines State Beach to Oceanside). Make sure to stop for a surf or a swim since the ocean temperatures cool as you head up the coast.

Continue north on I-5 to visit Huntington Beach before turning off towards Long Beach for a nighttime ghost tour on The Queen Mary, an ocean liner that is now home to restaurants, a hotel, shops, and a museum. If you are daring enough, book a room for the night in the haunted ship.

Torrey Pines State Reserve. Photo © Chad McDermott/The Department of Creativity.

Torrey Pines State Reserve. Photo © Chad McDermott/The Department of Creativity.

Los Angeles

Day 3

map of Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Jump on I-405 to save some time and drive about 30 miles north, exiting towards Venice Beach. Park your vehicle and take a stroll along the Venice Boardwalk to take in the local wildlife that includes bodybuilders, street performers, and alternative-culture types. Without getting back on the highway, take the local roads paralleling the beach 10 minutes north to Santa Monica. Enjoy the amusement park rides of the Santa Monica Pier or just take a break on Santa Monica Beach. For dinner, get a taste of the Caribbean at Santa Monica’s casual but popular Cha Cha Chicken or backtrack to Venice for a hearty Italian meal at C&O Trattoria.

Day 4

Consider heading inland for a day of culture (and pop culture). For aesthetic stimulation, visit the world-famous Getty Center or the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Less rigorous on the mind is a walk down the star-studded Hollywood Walk of Fame and a stop at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre, where you can find the handprints of your favorite movie stars. End the day with a cocktail at Sunset Boulevard’s Rainbow Bar & Grill. There might even be a grizzled, past-his-prime rocker sitting in the booth next to you.

Get an amazing view of Los Angeles from the Getty Center.

Get an amazing view of Los Angeles from the Getty Center. Photo © Jon Bilous/123rf.

Day 5

Take the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) out of Santa Monica west as it heads away from sprawling Los Angeles and into Malibu. Stop at Malibu’s Surfriders Beach to watch the surfers compete for its famously peeling waves (or catch one yourself). After a morning outdoors, feed your mind with ancient art at The Getty Villa in Malibu. (Admission is free, but you’ll need to reserve a ticket in advance.) Finish the day by watching the sun slide into the Pacific from the outdoor deck of Neptune’s Net, while enjoying fresh seafood.

If you want to spend more time in the Los Angeles area, you can easily fill a couple of days enjoying Disneyland Resort.


Six Days along the Central California Coast

Santa Barbara and Ventura

Day 1

map of Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara

Wake up early and drive north on the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. Thirty-five miles from Malibu, at Oxnard, merge onto U.S. 101. Head north on U.S. 101 to Ventura and take the exit toward Ventura Harbor, where you can catch a boat out to Channel Islands National Park for a day of hiking, snorkeling, or kayaking on Santa Cruz Island or Anacapa Island. (Make boat reservations in advance.) Return to Ventura and eat dinner at one of its seafood restaurants, such as Lure Fish House or Spencer Makenzie’s Fish Company. Or have an Italian meal and cocktail at hip Café Fiore.

Day 2

Take U.S. 101 north just a half hour (28 miles) to Santa Barbara. Get a history fix at the Santa Barbara Mission, which might be the most beautiful of the 21 Spanish missions in California. Then taste some of Santa Barbara’s wines on the Urban Wine Trail, six tasting rooms on lower State Street, or head north for a day at palm-lined Refugio State Beach, 20 miles west of Santa Barbara on U.S. 101.

Mission Santa Barbara on a clear day.

Mission Santa Barbara was the tenth built of the California Missions. Photo © Dreamstime

If your schedule is flexible, you might consider another full day in Santa Barbara, another day of wine-tasting in nearby Santa Maria Valley, or a day on the Gaviota Coast. Whatever you do, stop at Santa Barbara’s State Street for a fine meal or cocktail at a restaurant like the local favorite Opal. Or head off State Street for superb Mexican food at La Super-Rica Taqueria.

Big Sur and the Central Coast

Day 3

Maps - Northern California 7e - Big Sur

Big Sur

Drive 1.75 hours (92 miles) north of Santa Barbara on U.S. 101 to San Luis Obispo’s Madonna Inn, where you can take in its kitschy decor during a restroom and stretch-the-legs break.

Outdoor enthusiasts will want to head off the highway and go west on Los Osos Valley Road just 20 minutes (12 miles) to Montana de Oro State Park, one of the state’s best coastal parks. Picnic at Spooner’s Cove or hike to the top of 1,347-foot-high Valencia Peak. Then head back to U.S. 101 North, but be sure to turn onto Highway 1 north to take in sunset over Morro Rock, known as the “Gibraltar of the Pacific.”

Another option is to drive an hour north (44 miles) to opulent Hearst Castle. Tours of this “ranch” built for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst offer insight into the lifestyle of the rich and infamous. However you spend your day, end it with a meal in one of the Central Coast’s unassuming beach towns: Morro Bay, Cayucos or Cambria.

Day 4

Big Sur was one of the area’s hit hardest by winter’s storms in 2016, but this stunning section of coast is worth the extra effort to visit. A massive landslide in May 2017 has made travel into Big Sur from the south impossible. But the good news is that you can still experience 30 miles of the iconic coastline and a section of Highway 1 from Carmel down to the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge closure, where one of the roadway’s bridges had to be demolished after incurring major storm damage. A new bridge is scheduled to open in September 2017.

To reach Carmel from San Luis Obispo, which is a two-and-a-half-hour drive, take U.S. 101 North 118 miles and then take the Abbott Street exit towards Spreckels. After two miles, turn onto Harris Road, which becomes Spreckels Boulevard, and continue 1.5 miles until you drive onto CA-68 West. Go 17 miles on the two-lane roadway until you hit Highway 1. Opt for Highway 1 South towards Carmel and Big Sur. Maybe pop off the highway for a snack break at Carmel-by-the-Sea’s Carmel Belle, which serves up tasty and healthy sandwiches and salads.

Refreshed, it’s now time to take in the stunning scenery of Big Sur. The open northern section has many worthwhile sights and stops including Garrapata Beach, the Bixby Bridge, and the Point Sur Light Station, which is open for tours.

Warm weather meets coastal fog on the Bixby Bridge in Big Sur. Photo © Mariusz Blach/123rf.

Warm weather meets coastal fog on the Bixby Bridge in Big Sur. Photo © Mariusz Blach/123rf.

While the famous Nepenthe Restaurant is past the bridge closure and therefore inaccessible, there are a handful of Big Sur Valley restaurants open to the public, including the Ripplewood Café, the Fernwood Bar & Grill, the Big Sur Roadhouse, and the Big Sur River Inn, where you can dangle your legs in the Big Sur River while sipping a beer or cocktail from the bar.

There are also a handful of places to spend the night in the open section of Big Sur, including but not limited to the Fernwood Resort, Glen Oaks, the Big Sur River Inn, and 50 campsites within the recently reopened Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Or opt to helicopter into the closed section of Big Sur for a two-night stay at the Post Ranch Inn; the “Escape Through the Skies” package rates begin at $4,291.

Monterey Bay

Day 5

Maps - Northern California 7e - Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay

After waking up in Big Sur, head up CA-1 north for 21 miles to the Carmel’s Point Lobos State Reserve for a morning walk on the Cypress Grove Trail. Then drive a few miles north into Monterey to spend the afternoon at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Dine on fresh seafood at Pacific Grove’s Passionfish, Monterey’s Fish House in Monterey, or Phil’s Fish Market up Highway 1 in Moss Landing.

If you want to spend another day in this area, wander the galleries in Carmel-by-the-Sea, golf at Pebble Beach, or head inland to Carmel Valley for wine tasting.

Day 6

Getting to Santa Cruz is an easy 50-minute drive (44 miles) up Highway 1 from the Monterey Peninsula. The eclectic beach city is an ideal place for recreation whether you are surfing, stand up paddleboarding, or hiking redwood-filled Forest of Nisene Marks State Park or the coastal bluffs of Wilder Ranch State Park. Refuel with a healthy snack at The Picnic Basket before ending the day with thrill rides at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

If your adrenaline is still racing from the Boardwalk rides, calm down with a drink at Red Restaurant & Bar or The Crepe Place.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a classic stop on a California coast road trip.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Photo © Ken Wolter/123rf.


Five Days along the Northern California Coast

San Francisco

Day 1

Maps - Northern California 7e - San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco Bay Area

Wake up early for a drive on Highway 1 from Santa Cruz less than two hours (80 miles) to San Francisco. In the city, spend a few hours in the hands-on science museum The Exploratorium. As the sun goes down, make sure to head out for dinner, whether it’s seafood at the Tadich Grill, modern Vietnamese at The Slanted Door, or pizza at Tony’s Pizza Napoletena. If you still have energy, make sure to check out some of San Francisco’s vibrant nightlife or a concert at a venue like the Great American Music Hall.

Day 2

Head out on the San Francisco Bay to take a fascinating tour of the island prison Alcatraz. Or secure passage on a ferry to Angel Island, which has hiking trails that offer up some of the finest views of the city.

In the afternoon, shop the used clothing stores of Haight-Ashbury or the department stores of Union Square. Or browse the books at City Lights in North Beach.

You’ll quickly fall in love with San Francisco; you can easily extend your romance to three or four days if you have the time.

Cable car in San Francisco.

Cable car in San Francisco. Photo © vadimsto/123rf.

The North Coast

Day 3

Maps - Northern California 7e - Sonoma and Mendocino Coasts

Sonoma and Mendocino Coasts

Your journey north begins with a drive on U.S. 101 over San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Then after five miles turn off U.S. 101 to Highway 1 at Mill Valley. On the slow, over-four-hour drive up the coast (around 160 miles), make time to stop at places like the tiny but unique Sea Ranch Chapel, which is just feet off Highway 1, and take a hike on the stunning cliffside trails in the Point Arena-Stornetta Unit of the California Coastal National Monument.

End the day in the community of Mendocino with a view of the sunset at Mendocino Headlands State Park or a pint at the lively Patterson’s Pub or at the one-of-a-kind dive bar Dick’s Place.

Day 4

Drive Highway 1 north of Fort Bragg until the road turns inland to connect with U.S. 101 after about an hour of driving. Opt for the Avenue of the Giants, a 31-mile drive through redwoods by the Eel River. Even though it’s only 31 miles, the drive could take a few hours if you decide to get out of your car and ponder the trees.

Get back on U.S. 101 North and head an hour north (60 miles) to Eureka. Stop to wander the city’s Old Town and Waterfront. Taste some of the delicious oysters at the Humboldt Bay Provisions.

Continue on U.S. 101 another 10 minutes or so to charming Arcata. Wander through the redwoods of the Arcata Community Forest before sundown. Dine at one of the restaurants surrounding the lively Arcata Plaza. Then catch a live band or arthouse movie at The Miniplex in Richards’ Goat Tavern.

Fern Canyon is draped in bright green ferns. Photo © Igors Rusakovs/123rf.

Fern Canyon is draped in bright green ferns. Photo © Igors Rusakovs/123rf.

Day 5

Start your morning with a tasty crepe from Arcata’s Renata’s Creperie and Espresso before hitting U.S. 101 North on your final day. About 20 minutes north (15 miles), exit to the scenic coastal city of Trinidad. Have your camera handy for photos of Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse, Trinidad Head and Trinidad State Beach.

Another half hour up U.S. 101 (26 miles), turn onto Newton B. Drury Scenic Drive to explore Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. If you have the energy, drive out Davison Road to Gold Bluffs Beach, where Roosevelt elk roam the sands, and continue on the dirt drive to hike the one-mile round-trip Fern Canyon Trail, which passes through a steep canyon draped in bright green ferns.

Head back out to U.S. 101 to drive the 45 minutes (38 miles) to Crescent City, where you can get a hotel room and a full night’s sleep.


Updated from an excerpt from the Fifth Edition of Moon Coastal California.

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California’s Summer of Love 50th Anniversary Events https://moon.com/2017/05/californias-summer-of-love-50th-anniversary-events/ https://moon.com/2017/05/californias-summer-of-love-50th-anniversary-events/#respond Fri, 12 May 2017 18:51:40 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=56958 California is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love and the hippie counterculture movement in 2017 with these events up and down the coast.

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Fifty years ago, the Summer of Love became the pinnacle of the 1960s-hippie counterculture movement, changing popular culture, music, fashion, and art forever. California was the epicenter, and the musicians, artists, and activists that gathered in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury introduced flowery garments, psychedelic rock, political activism, and LSD to the greater world in the summer months of 1967.

hippie dress

An example of a flowery dress worn during the 1960s hippie counterculture movement. Photo courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Down the coast, the Monterey International Pop Festival was a critical component of the Summer of Love. The three-day concert held in the Monterey County Fairgrounds featured career-making performances by Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding, while paving the way for future festivals like Woodstock.

Most local authorities at the time were not thrilled with the throngs of hippies. This year, however, several cities are fully embracing their countercultural past for the summer’s 50th anniversary. A wide variety of events will be commemorating the Summer of Love over the next few months, from major museum exhibits to a new Monterey International Pop Festival featuring acts like Jack Johnson, Norah Jones, Gary Clark Jr., Father John Misty, and more.

Organizers of a Summer of Love 2017 are still hoping to get a permit to put on a show in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park this September—but until then, embrace the peace, love, and rock and roll of 1967 with any one of these events from LA to the Bay.

San Francisco Bay Area

The de Young Museum’s “The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll” showcases 400 significant cultural artifacts from the Summer of Love in 10 galleries. There are mannequins decked out in period apparel, record sleeves, book covers, photographs, and poster art (including the original “Skeleton and Roses” Grateful Dead concert poster created by Stanley Mouse). A more immersive experience in the exhibit is a “liquid” light show commissioned by Bill Ham, that evokes the experience of attending a psychedelic rock show in 1967.

Details: de Young Museum’s “The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll,” April 8th—August 20th, 415/750-3600, adults $15, seniors $10, college students $6, children 17 and under free

Grateful Dead skeleton and roses poster

Original Grateful Dead concert poster designed by Stanley Mouse. Photo courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

The Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive’s “Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia” examines the architecture and design of the countercultural movement. This includes everything from quirky hand-built homes to Gary D. Anderson’s original design for the recycle symbol. Along with the exhibit, the museum will be hosting public talks, film screenings, and other events. Check out the museum website for a full schedule.

Details: Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive’s “Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia,” February 8th-May 21st, 510/642-0808, adults $12, students and seniors $10

designer of the recycle symbol

Gary D. Anderson is the designer of the original recycle symbol. Photo courtesy of the Gary D. Anderson collection.

Organized by Grateful Dead biographer Dennis McNally, the California Historical Society’s “On the Road to the Summer of Love” looks at the cultural happenings that preceded the Summer of Love. It begins by casting its gaze at the Beat Generation in the Bay Area during the 1950s, and goes beyond the Summer of Love to when two members of the Grateful Dead were arrested in a drug bust in October 1967. Unique artifacts on display include a framed sheet of LSD and a rare photo of Janis Joplin performing as a little-known folkie before becoming a rock legend.

Details: California Historical Society’s “On the Road to the Summer of Love,” May 12th-September 10th, 415/357-1848, adults $5, children free

hippie modernism protest poster

A protest poster shows a rendition of a militarized American flag. Photo © Lincoln Cushing/Docs Populi Archive.

Jim Marshall is known as a pioneer in rock and roll photography. Located in San Francisco City Hall—which goes to show how mainstream the counterculture has become—“Jim Marshall’s 1967” features photos of Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and more.

Details: San Francisco City Hall’s “Jim Marshall’s 1967,” April 24th-June 17th, 415/554-4000, free

The GLBT History Museum’s “Lavender-Tinted Glasses: A Groovy Gay Look at The Summer of Love” looks at the movement through the lenses of queer figures that played prominent roles, including Janis Joplin, poet Allen Ginsberg, filmmaker Kenneth Anger, and philosopher Gavin Arthur.

Details: GLBT History Museum’s “Lavender-Tinted Glasses: A Groovy Gay Look at The Summer of Love,” April 7th-September 29th, 415/621-1107, adults $5, students $3

Magic Bus’s “Summer of Love 50th Anniversary Tour” is a bus tour in a vehicle that is described as a traveling movie theater and light show. The two-and-a-half-hour excursion includes stops at North Beach’s City Lights Bookstore and in Haight-Ashbury, the real focal point of the Summer of Love.

Details: Magic Bus’s “Summer of Love 50th Anniversary Tour,” May 1st-September 15th Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 10:30am and 1:30pm, 855/969-6244, adults $70, students $65

Hang out in the go-to haunts of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, and Joni Mitchell on the 12-block Haight-Ashbury Flower Power Walking Tour.

Details: Haight-Ashbury Flower Power Walking Tour, Tuesdays and Saturdays 10:30am, Fridays 2pm, adults $20, children under nine years old free

crowd of people aat the Monterey Pop Festival

The Monterey Pop Festival crowd in 1967. Photo © Elaine Mayes.

Monterey

The big Summer of Love event in Monterey is without a doubt the Monterey International Pop Festival 50th Anniversary Concert. In the same venue as the groundbreaking 1967 music festival, the three-day event includes performances by Jack Johnson, Norah Jones, and Gary Clark Jr., along with Phil Lesh and Eric Burdon & The Animals, alumni of the original fest. With original organizer Lou Adler onboard, the concert will also showcase historic memorabilia.

Details: Monterey International Pop Festival 50, June 16th-18th, $295-695/three-day tickets

Monterey’s Golden State Theatre will be screening documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker’s Monterey Pop: a concert film with superb footage of performances from the Monterey Pop Festival. The screening will be accompanied by a talk by photographer Tom Gundelfinger O’Neal about shooting photos at the iconic event.

Details: Golden State Theatre’s Monterey Pop Screening, May 12th, 831/649-1070, $16

Missed the Golden State screening? Not to worry—catch the remastered cut at Monterey’s Osio Theater on June 16th ($10)!

The Monterey Museum of Art’s “Who Shot Monterey Pop! Photographs from the 1967 Music Festival” showcases images from the festival from seven photographers. There will be a handful of accompanying events including a roundtable talk with the exhibit’s photographers on June 15th.

Details: Monterey Museum of Art, June 2nd-September 18th, 831/3720-5477, adults $10, students and children under 18 free

Janis Joplin singing

Janis Joplin at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. Photo © Elaine Mayes.

The hyper intimate Gallery Exposed in Carmel will fill its small space with photos of rock photographer Tom O’Neal during its exhibit “Tom Gundelfinger O’Neal: From Monterey Pop to Déjà Vu and Beyond.”

Details: Gallery Exposed, June 13th-August 25th, 831/238-0127, free

The West End Celebration is a music and arts festival that has been going on in the small community of Sand City for 16 years. This year, there’s a definite Summer of Love focus, with free performances by 1960s acts David LaFlamme of It’s a Beautiful Day and Big Brother & The Holding Company.

Details: West End Celebration, August 25th-27th, free

Even the Monterey Regional Airport is getting in on the Summer of Love fun with its “Feeling Groovy” exhibit, showing artifacts that help visitors step back in time to 1960s Monterey.

Details: Monterey Regional Airport, January-December, 831/648-7000, free

Los Angeles

The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles is celebrating the anniversary of the Summer of Love with two exhibits. “Jim Marshall’s 1967” displays photos taken in 1967 by the rock photographer, while “Monterey International Pop Festival: Music, Love, and Flowers, 1967” takes a look at the iconic music festival.

Details: Grammy Museum, “Jim Marshall’s 1967” March 10th-May 14th, “Monterey International Pop Festival: Music, Love, and Flowers, 1967” May 11th-October 22nd, 213/765-6800, adults $12.95, seniors and students $11.95, children 6-17 $10.95

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Three Days in San Francisco https://moon.com/2016/11/three-days-san-francisco/ https://moon.com/2016/11/three-days-san-francisco/#respond Sun, 20 Nov 2016 14:58:33 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=36698 Three days are perfect for a whirlwind romance with San Francisco. This travel itinerary tells you where to eat and play, plus a side trip to Muir Woods National Monument.

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Travel Itinerary - Three Days in San Francisco

Three days are perfect for a whirlwind romance with the city of San Francisco. Here’s where to eat and play, plus a site trip to Muir Woods National Monument.

Day 1

Start your day with breakfast at the Ferry Building. Grab a latte at Blue Bottle Café or graze from one of the many on-site vendors before taking a two-mile stroll along the Embarcadero to Fisherman’s Wharf. Then circle back to Pier 33 and hop on a (booked in advance) ferry to Alcatraz to tour the former island prison. Back on land, walk west on Bay Street for about six blocks, then board the Powell-Mason cable car at the intersection of Bay and Taylor Streets. Hop off for some window shopping and lunch at Union Square.

In the afternoon, head to the Sunset District to explore verdant Golden Gate Park. The fabulous de Young Museum is directly across from the California Academy of Sciences. Art lovers and science geeks can part ways here or squeeze in a trip to enjoy both! Near Golden Gate Park, visit the Haight, the hippie enclave made famous in the 1960s. Enjoy the finely crafted cocktails and nibbles at Alembic or head back downtown to splurge on dinner at Farallon. End the day with martinis at the swank Top of the Mark.

View of downtown San Francisco. Photo © Lunamarina/Dreamstime

View of downtown San Francisco. Photo © Lunamarina/Dreamstime

Day 2

North Beach is home to Mama’s on Washington Square, whose specialty “m’omelettes” have made this joint a local favorite for decades. After brunch, stop in at City Lights, the legendary Beat Generation bookstore, then enjoy an old-school cappuccino at Caffé Trieste. Climb to the top of Coit Tower to catch a great view of the city skyline—look west to find crooked Lombard Street.

Spend the afternoon in the hip Mission District. Order an authentic Mission burrito at La Taqueria or sweets from Tartine Bakery. History buffs should visit 18th-century Mission Dolores. End your stay in the Mission with thin-crust pizzas and classic cocktails at Beretta.

Day 3

Get an early start for breakfast at popular Dottie’s True Blue Café. Afterward, spend a few hours discovering the world of science at the Exploratorium, or, if the weather cooperates, explore The Presidio and take a hike along Crissy Field. Stop for coffee and a snack at Warming Hut Bookstore & Café, then it’s off to the ultimate San Francisco photo op, the Golden Gate Bridge.

A spotted owl in Muir Woods National Monument. Photo © Raferrier/Dreamstime

A spotted owl in Muir Woods National Monument. Photo © Raferrier/Dreamstime

Muir Woods National Monument Side Trip

Extend the love affair with a side trip to wander the redwoods in Marin. Muir Woods National Monument is home to acres of staggeringly beautiful redwood forest just north of San Francisco. The Muir Woods Visitors Center is a great place to begin your exploration. Hike the Main Trail, a paved boardwalk through the beautiful redwoods. Pick up a self-guided trail leaflet at the visitors center and follow the interpretive numbers along the way to learn about the flora and fauna of this unique ecosystem.

Fill up on a hearty lunch of British comfort food at The Pelican Inn. Dark wood and a long trestle table give a proper Old English feel to the dimly lit dining room. It’s just a short walk from the restaurant to lovely Muir Beach, perfect for wildlife-watching and beachcombing. End the day with oysters and drinks at the Farley Bar at Cavallo Point Lodge. Snag a blanket and a seat on the porch to watch the fog roll in over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Travel map of San Francisco

San Francisco

 


Excerpted from the Seventh Edition of Moon Northern California.

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Spend a Day in San Francisco Like a Local https://moon.com/2016/04/spend-a-day-in-san-francisco-like-a-local/ https://moon.com/2016/04/spend-a-day-in-san-francisco-like-a-local/#respond Fri, 15 Apr 2016 17:03:41 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=38443 Dedicate a day to living like a true San Franciscan by jumping on a bike, pedaling through the hippest neighborhoods, shopping for local designs, and—most importantly—eating and drinking your way through the city.

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While renting a car and checking out iconic sights such as Fisherman’s Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge are inherent parts of any San Francisco vacation, you should also dedicate a day to living like a true San Franciscan by jumping on a bike, pedaling through the hippest neighborhoods, shopping for local designs, and—most importantly—eating and drinking your way through the city.

View of downtown San Francisco. Photo © Lunamarina/Dreamstime

View of downtown San Francisco. Photo © Lunamarina/Dreamstime

Rent a bike for the day at CityRide in Hayes Valley. Consider one of the city cruisers, with a basket perfect for hauling purchases. On your way there, notice the grand office building on the corner of 10th and Market with the bluebird icon: Twitter headquarters.

Head down Valencia Street toward the Mission District for a two-stop breakfast: a lovingly brewed cup of third-wave coffee at Ritual Coffee Roasters, then, a few blocks north, a morning bun from Tartine Bakery.

Spend the morning browsing the eclectic shops on and near Valencia Street: Dema for locally designed women’s separates, Gravel & Gold for original gifts and accessories, and Good Vibrations for romance-inducing toys and erotica in a bright, friendly atmosphere.

An early lunch at trendy Mission Chinese is just the ticket. Start with Sichuan pickles and Mongolian long beans before moving on to bacon-rice cakes or lamb cheek noodle soup.

Pedal back to Hayes Valley to explore design goods at Propeller, fine wines at Arlequin Wine Merchant, and high-quality vintage clothing and antiques at Ver Unica. You’re likely to pass several pop-up shops and galleries along Hayes Street as well.

A vertical vintage theater sign reads Castro in neon letters.

San Francisco’s famous Castro Theatre. Photo © Fabien David, licensed Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivatives.

Heading south toward the Castro, stop in front of the iconic Castro Theatre for a snapshot of the famous marquee. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the city’s most freewheeling neighborhood.

Take an afternoon breather in Dolores Park, where you can nap on the lawn, watch hula-hoopers and Frisbee enthusiasts, and enjoy the distant vista of the downtown skyline.

Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco.

> Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco. Photo © jejim/123rf.

Bike down Dolores Street to 16th Street, passing the lovely Mission Dolores on the corner, then turn right on 16th and grab a happy hour cocktail at Elixir.

At Flour + Water, order a memorable housemade pasta off the menu, or go for the tasting option and sample five seasonal pasta variations. Save room for dessert — Humphry Slocombe is only four blocks away, offering unique ice cream flavors, such as honey thyme, grapefruit tarragon, and candied chestnut.


Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon MapGuide San Francisco.

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Best Restaurants in San Francisco for Every Occasion https://moon.com/2016/04/best-restaurants-san-francisco-every-occasion/ https://moon.com/2016/04/best-restaurants-san-francisco-every-occasion/#respond Fri, 08 Apr 2016 17:03:11 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=39193 There's no shortage of great restaurants in San Francisco, or unique dishes and venues, either. But when you're looking for something specific–you're dying to dine outdoors, you want an especially romantic evening, or maybe it's your last morning in the city and you're craving the best brunch you've ever had–this every-occasion list has what you're looking for.

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There’s no shortage of great restaurants in San Francisco, or unique dishes and venues, either. But when you’re looking for something specific–you’re dying to dine outdoors, you want an especially romantic evening, or maybe it’s your last morning in the city and you’re craving the best brunch you’ve ever had–this every-occasion list has what you’re looking for.

A signature pasta dish at Flour + Water.

A signature pasta dish at Flour + Water. Photo © Asta Karalis, courtesy of Flour + Water.

Best three-figure splurge: Saison
The tasting menu at Saison ($248 before tax, tip, or alcohol) requires a commitment of both money and time. Chef Josh Skenes will send out about 15 courses of molecular gastronomy over the course of three hours. The open kitchen lets you watch the chefs at work.

Best vegetarian dishes: Greens
Using only organic produce and the finest ingredients available, chef Annie Somerville balances colors, flavors, and textures to create her all-veggie Mexican-, Mediterranean-, and American Southwest-influenced dishes. The to-go counter is a convenient and inexpensive option for enjoying world-class health food anytime.

Most romantic restaurant: SPQR
Matthew Accarrino, one of SF’s top chefs, works his magic on imaginative combinations of Roman-inspired small plates and pastas, relying on seasonal produce and seafood. The dark room teems with couples and small groups making a night of it on one of the most charming blocks of Fillmore Street.

Best pizza: Little Star Pizza
Dimly lit and done up in shades of black, this hipster hangout proffers what’s hailed as the city’s best deep-dish pizza, plus a thin-crust version that can hold its own. Salads, microbrews, and inexpensive French wines serve as perfect accompaniments. A cleverly loaded jukebox makes the long waits bearable.

Hottest restaurant of the moment: State Bird Provisions
To nab a seat in the hip dining room of the city’s hottest restaurant, you need patience, perfect timing (try 9 P.M. or later on a weeknight), or a hard-to-get reservation 60 days in advance. But the inventive California menu, especially the fried quail and savory pancakes, is worth it.

Fried Quail at State Bird Provisions.

Fried Quail at State Bird Provisions. Photo © Freda Banks, courtesy of State Bird Provisions.

Best pasta: flour + water
The specialty at this bustling casual spot is daily house-made pasta and pizza—hence the name—but “pasta” doesn’t begin to describe the wild boar raviolini with pickled persimmons or chestnut gnocchi with porcinis. Open until midnight on weekends, it’s the perfect spot to end an evening in the Mission.

Best place to dine outdoors: Foreign Cinema
Retreat from the urban bustle for a leisurely brunch in this modern brasserie’s generous courtyard oasis. At night, foreign classics, independent features, and animated shorts projected onto the patio’s brick wall offer the perfect accompaniment to the Mediterranean menu. But it’s a restaurant at heart, so don’t expect surround sound.

Dinner on the courtyard at Foreign Cinema.

Dinner on the courtyard at Foreign Cinema. Photo © Charlie Villyard, courtesy of Foreign Cinema.

Best SF-style burrito: La Taqueria
This cheery stucco-and-neon taqueria has been run by the Jara family since 1973 and is regularly touted by the media as having the best burrito in the United States. Carnitas and carne asada are the best fillings here; the tacos, chips, and quesadillas are just as good.

Best takeout: Mission Chinese
It looks like a fluorescent-lit dive, but inside chef Danny Bowien is cooking up a nationally acclaimed menu of what he proudly calls “Americanized Oriental” food: tea-smoked eel, salt cod fried rice, kung pao pastrami. No reservations, but delivery is available if you don’t want to brave the lines.

Best pastries and desserts: Tartine Bakery
Hipsters and tourists alike line up down the block for the morning buns, bread puddings, meringues, and brownies from bread master Chad Robertson and his wife, pastry chef Liz Prueitt. For lunch, try a croque monsieur or hot-pressed sandwich on Tartine’s world-famous bread.

Enjoying a Fromage Blanc.

Enjoying a Fromage Blanc at Tartine. Photo © Eric Wolfinger, courtesy of Tartine.

Best brunch: Zazie
Inviting inside and out—with a checkerboard tile floor, exposed brick walls, and a sunny patio—Zazie is famous for its decadent brunches. Try gingerbread pancakes or one of many variations on eggs Benedict. Visit on a weekday for French comfort food sans the excruciating wait.


Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon MapGuide San Francisco.

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Sights in San Francisco’s North Beach and Chinatown https://moon.com/2016/03/sights-north-beach-chinatown-san-francisco/ https://moon.com/2016/03/sights-north-beach-chinatown-san-francisco/#respond Tue, 22 Mar 2016 14:59:51 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=36795 In the historic Chinatown neighborhood, beautiful Asian architecture mixes with more mundane blocky city buildings to create a unique skyline. Farther up Grant from the Chinatown Gate, North Beach is an odd amalgam of old-school residential neighborhood and total tourist district. Although most of the old families have gone, North Beach has long served as the Italian district of San Francisco.

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The massive Chinese migration to California began almost as soon as the news of easy gold in the mountain streams made it to East Asia. And despite rampant prejudice and increasingly desperate attempts on the part of “good” Americans to rid their pristine country of these immigrants, the Chinese not only stayed but persevered and eventually prospered. Many never made it to the gold fields, preferring instead to remain in bustling San Francisco to open shops and begin the business of commerce in their new home. They carved out a thriving community at the border of Portsmouth Square, then center of the young city, which became known as Chinatown.

In this historic neighborhood, beautiful Asian architecture mixes with more mundane blocky city buildings to create a unique skyline.Along with much of San Francisco, the neighborhood was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire. Despite xenophobic attempts to relocate Chinatown as far away from downtown San Francisco as possible, the Chinese prevailed and the neighborhood was rebuilt where it originally stood. Today visitors see the post-1906 visitor-friendly Chinatown that was built after the quake, particularly if they enter through the Chinatown Gate (Grant Ave. and Bush St.), at the edge of Union Square. In this historic neighborhood, beautiful Asian architecture mixes with more mundane blocky city buildings to create a unique skyline. Small alleyways wend between the touristy commercial corridors, creating an intimate atmosphere.

Chinatown Gate at Grant and Bush Streets. Photo © Chee-On Leong/123rf.

Chinatown Gate at Grant and Bush Streets. Photo © Chee-On Leong/123rf.

Farther up Grant, North Beach is an odd amalgam of old-school residential neighborhood and total tourist district. Although most of the old families have gone, North Beach has long served as the Italian district of San Francisco, a fact still reflected in the restaurants in the neighborhood. North Beach truly made its mark in the 1950s when it was, for a brief time, home to many writers in the Beat Generation, including Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder, and Allen Ginsburg. San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen famously coined the term “Beatnik” while at a Beat gathering on Grant Avenue six months after the launch of Sputnik.

City Lights

One of the most famous independent bookshops in a city known for its literary bent is City Lights (261 Columbus Ave., 415/362-8193, 10am-midnight daily). It opened in 1953 as an all-paperback bookstore with a decidedly Beat aesthetic, focused on selling modern literary fiction and progressive political tomes. As the Beats flocked to San Francisco and to City Lights, the shop put on another hat—that of publisher. Allen Ginsberg’s Howl was published by the erstwhile independent, which never looked back. Today they continue to sell and publish the best of cutting-edge fiction and nonfiction. The store is still in its original location on the point of Columbus Avenue, though it’s expanded somewhat since the ’50s. Expect to find your favorite genre paperbacks along with the latest intriguing new works. The nonfiction selections can really make you take a step back and think about your world in a new way, which is just what founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti wanted.

City Lights. Photo © Elizabeth Linhart Veneman.

City Lights. Photo © Elizabeth Linhart Veneman.

Coit Tower

Built in 1933 as a monument to her beloved firefighters, Coit Tower (1 Telegraph Hill Blvd., 415/249-0995, 10am-6pm daily May-Oct., 10am-5pm daily Nov.-Apr., adults $7, ages 12-17 $5, under age 12 $2, call for tour times) has beautified the city just as benefactor Lillie Hitchcock Coit intended. Inside the art deco tower, the walls are covered in the recently restored frescos painted in 1934 depicting city and California life during the Great Depression. For a fee (adults $7, youths $5, children $2, children 4 and under free), you can ride the elevator to the top, where on a clear day, you can see the whole city and bay. Part of what makes Coit Tower special is the walk up to it. Rather than contributing to the acute congestion in the area, consider taking public transit to the area and walking up Telegraph Hill Boulevard through Pioneer Park to the tower and descend down either the Filbert or Greenwich steps toward the Embarcadero. It’s long and steep, but there’s no other way to see the lovely little cottages and gardens of the beautiful and quaint Telegraph Hill.

Lombard Street

You’ve no doubt seen it in movies, on TV, and on postcards: Lombard Street, otherwise known as “the crookedest street in the world.” Much of Lombard Street is a drab commercial artery connecting the Golden Gate Bridge with Van Ness Avenue, but the section that visitors flock to spans only one block, from Hyde Street at the top to Leavenworth Street at the bottom. However, the line of cars waiting their turn to drive bumper-to-bumper can be just as legendary as its 27 percent grade. Bypass the car and take the hill by foot. The unobstructed vistas of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island, Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower, and the city are reason enough to add this hike to your itinerary, as are the brick steps, manicured hydrangeas, and tony residences that line the roadway.

Lombard Street, also known as "the crookedest street in the world." Photo © Anthony Dezenzio/123rf.

Lombard Street, also known as “the crookedest street in the world.” Photo © Anthony Dezenzio/123rf.

Fisherman’s Wharf

Welcome to the tourist mecca of San Francisco! While warehouses, stacks of crab pots, and a fleet of fishing vessels let you know this is still a working wharf, it is also the spot where visitors to San Francisco come and snap photos. Fisherman’s Wharf (Beach St. from Powell St. to Van Ness Ave., backs onto Bay St.), reachable by Muni F line and the Hyde-Powell cable car, sprawls along the waterfront and inland several blocks, creating a large tourist neighborhood.

The Wharf, as it’s called by locals, who avoid the area at all costs, features all crowds, all the time. Be prepared to push through a sea of humanity to see sights, buy souvenirs, and eat seafood. Still, many of the sights of Fisherman’s Wharf are important (and fun) pieces of San Francisco’s heritage, like the Fisherman’s and Seaman’s Memorial Chapel (Pier 45, 415/674-7503), and the Musée Mécanique (Pier 45, 415/346-2000, 10am-7pm Mon.-Fri., 10am-8pm Sat.-Sun., free), an arcade dating back over a century.


Excerpted from the Seventh Edition of Moon Northern California.

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San Francisco City Parks https://moon.com/2016/03/city-parks-san-francisco/ https://moon.com/2016/03/city-parks-san-francisco/#respond Wed, 16 Mar 2016 15:01:28 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=36796 With the huge Golden Gate Park, Dolores Park, and the Presidio, it's easy to indulge in a green escape right in the middle of your urban San Francisco spelunking. Museums, gardens, trails, and prime-people watching await.

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With the huge Golden Gate Park, Dolores Park, and the Presidio, it’s easy to indulge in a green escape right in the middle of your urban San Francisco spelunking. Museums, gardens, trails, and prime-people watching await.

Golden Gate Park

The largest park in San Francisco is Golden Gate Park (main entrance at Stanyan St. and Fell St., McLaren Lodge Visitors Center at John F. Kennedy Dr., 415/831-2700). In addition to housing popular sights like the Academy of Sciences, the de Young, and the Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park is San Francisco’s unofficial playground. There are three botanical gardens, a children’s playground (Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. and Bowling Green Dr.), tennis courts, and a golf course. Stow Lake offers paddleboats for rent (415/386-2531, 10am-5pm Mon.-Thurs., 10am-6pm Fri.-Sun., $20-34 per hour), and the park even has its own bison paddock. Weekends, find the park filled with locals inline skating, biking, hiking, and even Lindy Hopping. John F. Kennedy Drive east of Transverse Drive is closed to motorists every Saturday from April through September and Sunday year-round for pedestrian-friendly fun.

Waterfall in Golden Gate Park.

Waterfall in Golden Gate Park. Photo © Andrew Zarivny/123rf.

The 0.6-mile (one-way) Lover’s Lane once served soldiers stationed at the Presidio who beat down the path into the city proper to visit their sweethearts.The park offers plenty of chances to go off-roading, with scores of paved and unpaved trails zigzagging through the park. The longest is the Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach Hike (trailhead at Fell St. and Baker St.), which runs from the Golden Gate Park panhandle all the way to the ocean, then down Ocean Beach to the San Francisco Zoo.

Presidio of San Francisco

Crissy Field (Marina Blvd. and Baker St., 415/561-4700), with its beaches, restored wetlands, and wide promenade, is the playground of the Presidio (415/561-4323, free). It’s part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is dedicated to environmental education. At the Crissy Field Center (1199 E. Beach, 415/561-7690, 9am-5pm daily), you’ll find a list of classes, seminars, and fun hands-on activities for all ages. Many of these include walks out into the marsh and the Presidio.

The rest of the Presidio offers the biggest and most diverse network of hiking trails in the city. (For trail descriptions, check out www.presidio.gov.) For an easy nature walk, try the Lobos Creek Valley Trail (Lincoln St. at Bowley St.). Less than a mile long (0.8 mile one-way), this flat boardwalk trail is wheelchair-accessible and shows off the beginning successes of the ecological restoration of the Presidio. Another easy Presidio hike goes way back into the region’s history. The 0.6-mile (one-way) Lover’s Lane (Funston Ave. and Presidio Blvd.) once served soldiers stationed at the Presidio who beat down the path into the city proper to visit their sweethearts. Today you’ll have a peaceful tree-shaded walk on a flat semipaved path that passes the former homes of officers, crosses El Polin Creek, and ends at the Presidio Gate.

The Bay Area Ridge Trail (415/561-2595) runs more than 325 miles around the San Francisco Bay Area. One of the prettiest San Francisco sections runs through the Presidio (Arguello Blvd. and Jackson St.). Extending from the Arguello Gate to the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, it is 2.7 miles (one-way) of gently sloping dirt footpaths and passes through unpopulated forests and meadows. Another regional trail system running through the Presidio is the California Coastal Trail (Golden Gate National Recreation Area). Originating beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, the trail meanders all the way down the west side of the city and provides stunning views high above the Pacific.

The Lands End Trail (Merrie Way, 415/561-4700) is also part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Rising above rugged cliffs and beaches, Lands End feels wild, but the three-mile trail, which runs from El Camino Del Mar near the Legion of Honor to the ruins of the Sutro Baths, is perfect for any hiking enthusiast. For a longer adventure, there are plenty of auxiliary trails to explore that lead down to little beaches. Be sure to look out for the remains of three shipwrecks on the rocks of Point Lobos at low tide. Grab a cup of hot chocolate at the stunning Lands End Lookout visitor center (680 Point Lobos Ave., 415/426-5240, 9am-5pm daily) when your hike is finished.

Mission Dolores Park

If you’re looking for a park where the most strenuous activity is people watching, then head to Mission Dolores Park (Dolores St. and 19th St., 415/554-9521). Usually called Dolores Park, it’s a favorite of Castro and Mission District denizens. Bring a beach blanket to sprawl on the lawn and a picnic lunch supplied by one of the excellent nearby eateries. On weekends, music festivals and cultural events often spring up at Dolores Park.

Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco.

Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco. Photo © jejim/123rf.


Excerpted from the Seventh Edition of Moon Northern California.

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Mapping San Francisco, an Ever-Changing City https://moon.com/2016/03/mapping-san-francisco-an-ever-changing-city/ https://moon.com/2016/03/mapping-san-francisco-an-ever-changing-city/#respond Mon, 14 Mar 2016 21:03:32 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=38444 Geographically and culturally, San Francisco is anything but flat, and what level ground exists might at any moment give way. While earthquakes remake the land, social upheavals play a similar role in reminding that the only constant here is change.

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When engineers laid out the streets of San Francisco, they modeled the city after America’s board-flat urban centers. They may as well have tried to fit a siren into a schoolgirl’s uniform. The regular grid pattern found on maps leaves visitors unprepared for the precipitous inclines and stunning water views in this town built on 43 hills.

While earthquakes remake the land, social upheavals play a similar role in reminding that the only constant here is change.Geographically and culturally, San Francisco is anything but flat, and what level ground exists might at any moment give way. While earthquakes remake the land, social upheavals play a similar role in reminding that the only constant here is change. In the 1950s, the Beats challenged postwar conformity and left a legacy of incantatory poems and independent bookstores. The late 1960s saw a years-long Summer of Love, which shifted consciousness as surely as quakes shift tectonic plates. During the same period, the Black Panther party was founded across the bay in Oakland, and other ethnic and cultural groups were redefining their identities against mainstream America.

Gay and lesbian liberation movements sprung forth in the 1970s, as did a renewed push for women’s rights. More recently, a vibrant culture of technological innovation has emerged as groundbreaking companies and tech visionaries choose to make the Bay Area their home. And of course, there is the continually evolving restaurant scene, one of the country’s finest.

View of downtown San Francisco lit up in the evening from Twin Peaks.

View of downtown from San Francisco’s Twin Peaks. Photo © Nickolay Stanev/123rf.

Surrounded by water on three sides, San Francisco is a city of microclimates. Sweatered residents of the Richmond District may be huddled in cafés to escape the fog while friends in the Mission District sit on their stoops in shirtsleeves, soaking up the sun. Visitors may be surprised by thick fog in July and August, or by the warmest day of the year coming in early October.

Although San Francisco is one of the most visited cities in the United States, it often seems like a provincial village, or a series of villages that share a downtown and a roster of world-class icons. Drive over the Golden Gate or the Bay Bridge as the fog is lifting and your heart will catch at the ever-changing beauty of the scene. Stand at the base of the Transamerica Pyramid, hang off the side of a cable car, or just walk through the neighborhoods that make the city more than the sum of its parts. Despite the hills, San Francisco is a city that cries out to be explored on foot.

The fog rolls in and out; the city reels and rights itself through earthquakes and dotcom bubbles alike. For all its mutability and contrariness, San Francisco has staying power. In the realm of the imagination, it easily displaces bigger cities with more impressive credentials. Willfully young and a little raw, San Francisco nevertheless has a talent for living its moment fully—from Gold Rush to Flower Power to dotcom to whatever comes next. New arrivals, visitors and residents both, come to live the eternal present of the city that captivates even as it shifts underfoot.

First Inhabitants and Settlers

Waves of immigration have played their part in defining San Francisco. The area’s original inhabitants were the Ohlone people, who shared the peninsula with grizzly bears, herds of elk, and flocks of geese so dense they darkened the sky. The Ohlone got a reprieve when, in 1579, Sir Frances Drake sailed right past the opening to San Francisco Bay. Other explorers missed it, too; it wasn’t until almost two centuries later that the first Europeans sailed through the Golden Gate.

People looking down Sacramento Street at billowing clouds of smoke after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Looking Down Sacramento Street, San Francisco, April 18, 1906, a photograph taken by Arnold Genthe on the morning of April 18, 1906 in the wake of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

The indigenous culture went into quick decline with the arrival of the Spanish, who founded the city in 1776, just as the United States declared independence from England. The first colonizing party built a presidio (fort) and founded the Mission Dolores (La Misión de San Francisco de Asís), then came a village called Yerba Buena, a name that stuck until the city became San Francisco in 1847. A year later gold was discovered, and soon more than 100,000 ’49ers (named for the year they arrived) flooded in to make their fortune. Chinese began arriving in large numbers during this time, too—that year San Francisco’s population shot from 500 to 25,000. The 20th century saw successive waves of newcomers, from beatniks and hippies to dotcommers and immigrants. More recently, immigrants from other Asian countries, the Philippines, Russia, and South and Central America have added to the city’s diversity.


Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon MapGuide San Francisco.

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Road Trip Itinerary: San Diego to San Francisco in Two Days https://moon.com/2015/08/road-trip-itinerary-san-diego-to-san-francisco-in-two-days/ https://moon.com/2015/08/road-trip-itinerary-san-diego-to-san-francisco-in-two-days/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 22:48:34 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=29900 You could drive from San Diego to San Francisco in several hours of featureless traffic, or you could take your time exploring the scenic route. Our two-day itinerary gives you time to lounge on the beach, enjoy the natural splendor of the central coast, and leaves plenty of time for cosmopolitan fun.

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2-Day Road Trip: San Diego to San Francisco

About 500 miles of coastline separates the sun-soaked beach lifestyle of San Diego from the progressive and artistic city vibe of San Francisco. In a perfect world, it’s an eight hour road trip, but while the word perfect applies to many things in the state of California, rarely is it used to describe driving conditions. The only way to make it that quick is to take Interstate 5 through California’s Central Valley, where you’ll only have three things to look at for five hours: yellow hills, flat farmland, and the backside of a hundred big-rig trucks.

By taking Highway 101 out of Los Angeles you’ll add an hour to your journey, but avoid the torturously winding hills north of Los Angeles.Instead of subjecting yourself to hours of featureless traffic, take your time exploring the scenic route. By taking Highway 101 out of Los Angeles you’ll add an hour to your journey, but avoid the torturously winding hills north of Los Angeles. Better yet, you’ll skirt the Pacific and pass through Santa Barbara wine country. If you’re willing to stretch your total driving time to just over 11 hours, you’ll be rewarded with the greatest coastal drive of all: the Pacific Coast Highway, lined with lush forest and breathtaking cliff-side views of the ocean.

To get the most out of your lengthy road trip, split it into two or three days. Day One you can spend an afternoon enjoying the best of Los Angeles’ colorful beach cities. Day Two offers a scenic drive through the heart of California’s central coast, where you may choose to stop and spend the night enjoying the natural splendor, or press on to reach the cosmopolitan restaurants and nightlife of vibrant San Francisco.

View of Malibu Beach from the PCH. Photo © Simon Whitehurts/DollarPhotoClub.

View of Malibu Beach from the PCH. Photo © Simon Whitehurts/DollarPhotoClub.

Day One: San Diego to Los Angeles

With a little luck, you can make it to Los Angeles in about two to three hours.Your introduction to Southern California traffic patterns begins with your departure from San Diego. If it’s a workday, every road between the two cities will be clogged full of commuters and exhaust fumes until after 9am. In other words, enjoy your morning. Head to Mission Beach and order the city’s best French toast at Mission Café (3795 Mission Blvd.; 858/488-9060), or grab a coffee and parfait on the patio of nearby artisan roaster, Swell Café (3833 Mission Blvd.; 858/539-0039). Both sit a mere block from the beach, so take that short walk for one last glance at the waves before you hit the road.

Once the traffic has cleared, make your way to Interstate 5 and head north. With a little luck, you can make it to Los Angeles in about two to three hours. Just before the city of Irvine, head northwest on Interstate 405. It won’t be pretty, but trust me–you’re better off heading straight to Venice Beach and Santa Monica. That is, right after you grab lunch. Just east of the 405, in a strip mall off Santa Monica Blvd., you’ll find an outpost of the legendary Zankou Chicken (1716 S Sepulveda Blvd.; 310/444-0550). Don’t balk at the plastic trays and Styrofoam containers, just order the chicken tarna plate and revel in the richness of the rotisserie chicken, tahini and garlic paste; then thank me forever. When you’re done, pop a mint or two and head west to the beach.

There’s nothing in the world quite like the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Its collection of tattooed oddballs, beach bums, bodybuilders, roller-dancers, hippies, performers and street vendors is always a top tourist draw, even without any specific landmarks other than the beach. The Boardwalk runs north from Washington Blvd. and connects all the way to the famous tourist-friendly pier in neighboring Santa Monica. In Venice, you’ll find plenty of shops, bars and cafes on beach-adjacent Abbot Kinney Blvd. In Santa Monica, look for Main Street. Either way you’ll marvel at how hip everyone seems to be. Remember, this is Los Angeles; any one of these beautiful waiters or waitresses may be a screen icon next year.

For a memorable sunset meal, make your way up Pacific Coast Highway 1 into Malibu to experience Neptune’s Net (42505 Pacific Coast Hwy; 310/457-3095), a regional classic where you’ll find bikers, surfers and world travelers enjoying crab cakes, lobster, and clam chowder at a casual roadside eatery with a million-dollar ocean view.

Color map of Southern California

Southern California

map of San Diego

San Diego

map of Greater Los Angeles

Greater Los Angeles


Day Two: The California Coast

If you spent the night in the Venice area, start your day by grabbing a bowl of cereal (no kidding) at Venice’s memorable Flake (513 Rose Ave.; 310/396-2333), or grab a fine cup of coffee or tea at Groundwork (671 Rose Ave.; 310/664-8830)

…if driving through Redwoods and along Pacific cliffs appeals to you, hop on Pacific Coast Highway 1 when you hit San Luis Obispo.Once you hit the road, head north on I-405 or PCH-1 until you hit Highway 101. This will take you through a constantly changing landscape of beaches, hills, and wine country. On a drive like this, I would rather stop when I’m hungry than have a specific lunch destination in mind. Fortunately, there are several In-N-Outs to choose from. The California burger chain has near-mythical status, and no meat eater should leave the state without trying a Double Double. Fast food in name only, the drive thru may take 15 minutes, but you’ll get a lunch ten times better than anything else you’ll see on the highway. You’ll find an In-N-Out on the Turnpike Rd. exit in Santa Barbara (4865 Calle Real), again at Stowell Rd. in Santa Maria (1330 S. Bradley Rd.), and off Oak Park Rd. in Pismo Beach (1170 W. Branch St.).

If driving along Pacific cliffs appeals to you, hop on Pacific Coast Highway 1 when you hit San Luis Obispo.

If driving along Pacific cliffs appeals to you, hop on Pacific Coast Highway 1 when you hit San Luis Obispo. Photo © Rian Castillo, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

If you’re impatient to reach San Francisco, stay on the 101 all the way. However, if driving through Redwoods and along Pacific cliffs appeals to you, hop on Pacific Coast Highway 1 when you hit San Luis Obispo. This route takes you past sleepy little beach towns like Cayucos, Cambria, and San Simeon. Resist the urge to stop until you make it to the Los Padres National Forest and Big Sur, about six or so hours from LA. The road will get windier the closer you get, and the clash of emerald and sapphire more pronounced as you rise above the ocean and weave through the trees. Nature lovers may wish to camp for the night and enjoy a morning hike before moving on. But city folk content to see this majesty from their car window may press on another three hours to make San Francisco by nightfall.

Do that by taking the 156 to the 101 at Castroville, and riding that through San Jose, where you may stay on the 101 or make your way to the larger Interstate 280. Either way, the grandeur of the San Francisco skyline will appear over the horizon at last to lift your road-weary spirits with the promise of fine dining, multicultural nightlife, and classic sights including Alcatraz, Chinatown, and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Color map of Northern California

Northern California

map of California's Central Coast

Central Coast

map of Big Sur

Big Sur

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