Help me plan my staycation in SF Bay Area

<p>When the kids were little, we went to the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield--east of SF. I found it fascinating!</p>

<p>Don't they still have free concerts in Stern Grove in SF? I have had some great times there in the past</p>

<p>Mudbaths in Calistoga -- That's something we have loved for 30 years. But not so cheap. BTW, last time we went there we had three fabulous meals. One was at French Laundry, one was at venerable St. Helena Tuscan restaurant Tra Vigne, and one was $9 fish tostadas at a tiny Mexican restaurant in Calistoga called Puerto Vallarta right across the street from the Dr. Wilkerson's and Indian Springs mud baths.</p>

<p>French Laundry -- You're probably too late for reservations this summer anyway.</p>

<p>The Asian Art Museum, now at Civic Center, is the most exciting museum we have seen on the West Coast.</p>

<p>Go to goldstar.com. You can get tickets to tours, events at discounted prices. E.g., there are tickets for Wicked (closing in September) for $50-70 vs. normal $80-99. Beach Blanket has been known to have tickets on there (LOVE IT!). Plays, music, etc.</p>

<p>Also....try one of the open air double decker hop on/hop off bus tours. D tried with college friends and they had a great time.
- Rent a bike at the Wharf, ride over GG bridge to Sausalito and take ferry back.
-Fly a kite on the Marina Green</p>

<p>Let us know what you end up doing!</p>

<p>Gosmom, did you copy and pasted what I was thinking about? :) absolutely second your suggestions! We met some locals on the double decker bus - they were happy to play tourists. And Wicked is amazing, worth every penny of your ticket's price! There is a ticket booth in the Union Square that is called Half Price Tickets, and they sell... you guessed it, half-price tickets to local shows. Or you can try the Wicked lottery. :)</p>

<p>Ferry to Angel Island for a day of hiking and picnicking.</p>

<p>Tech Museum in San Jose. Mochi from the Japantown area.</p>

<p>Hiking at Tilden Park in Berkeley. Go ride the merry go round while you're there, and go for a swim.</p>

<p>Cheese rolls from the Cheese Board in Berkeley, also a spinach-mushroom deep-dish pizza from Zachary's. </p>

<p>Musee Mechanique in San Francisco. Also the Exploratorium.</p>

<p>Jack London Square in Oakland is going to be getting a gargantuan new Farmer's Market. Be one of the first to check it out.</p>

<p>Point Reyes. Stinson Beach. </p>

<p>I will second the Jelly Belly factory, even without children. You can see fortune cookies being made in shops in SF and Oakland.</p>

<p>Later in the summer, A Taste of the City in GG Park.</p>

<p>^I have to second the recommendation of the Cheese Board in Berkeley! I love that place. The same people have a place actually in SF called Arizmendi...I think it's around 9th and Irving? It's great as well.</p>

<p>Another suggestion would be to go to Outside Lands (August 14th - 15th) if that works with your schedule. I haven't been (I wanted to go this year, but I'll have just left for college), but I've heard it's really fun.</p>

<p>My home town, Livermore, is not far away and has many wineries for wine tasting (when I was a kid, there was only Wente and Concannon). The Del Valle Reservoir is also a great place for picnics, swimming and hiking. On a clear day, drive up to the top of Mt. Diablo and view the Sierras to the east and the islands off SF to the west. Also a good spot for a picnic.</p>

<p>Thanks for the additional recommendations.</p>

<p>CaliforniaDancer, there is also an Arizmendi in Oakland (a few blocks from where I live)</p>

<p>Staycation Update #1</p>

<p>My staycation kick-off was on Friday afternoon. I went to the DeYoung musuem to see the 'Birth of Impressionism' with a good friend. The show was pretty darn fabulous. We then celebrated my friend's birthday with a dinner at The Moss Room. The menu is limited, but the food and drink were excellent.</p>

<p>Saturday, I took care of personal financial business (aka paid bills) and then a walk in Redwood Park with a friend and her dogs. We then had dinner at Cha-Ya in Berkeley. It is a very good vegetarian japanese restaurant. The moon garden tofu is my favorite. The good news is that the restaurant is expanding, so there will be more than 6 tables in the near future. They also have a restaurant in SF.</p>

<p>One project for this vacation is to go through my art work in need of framing and take advantage of the current sale at Aaron Bros. So, on Sunday, I took 17 posters in to get framed. Not that I have procrastinated, but most of these were purchased in 1984 on a trip to England, Belgium, and France. We got through 11 and I'll go back later in the week to finish it up.</p>

<p>On Monday, I took the ferry from Oakland to SF. (I had never taken it before). The contrast of the Port of Oakland (a real, working port) vs the Port of SF (which is primarily recreational) was pretty marked. I walked from the Ferry building to Union Square via the Embarcadero Centers, The Transamerica Pyramid, the BofA building, and China Town. </p>

<p>Tuesday, was pretty quiet. Walked to the hardware store (need picture hangers of course). Then met a friend in Hayward for the best-ever machaca at La Imperial on C street.</p>

<p>Love the report so far! I moved from Berkeley to Indiana three years ago and I miss it so much! I would also check to see what live free theater is around this weekend. SF Mime Troupe was always a great one, and SF Shakes is doing Two Gentlemen of Verona. I live near Chicago now and am amazed that there is no free theater companies.</p>

<p>I'm so bookmarking this thread for my grandparents. They are now "stuck" in San Francisco indefinitely- no more lengthy vacations on East Coast. They've lived in SF (well, bi-coastal) for 15 years. They've done a lot but they still realize that there's STILL a lot to do! As an overzealous explorer, I took them to a couple of places around SF and to Big Basin Redwoods Park (Don't go there "just" for the waterfall, it's quite meager, but go for some peace and quiet). They've taken up on my suggestion to picnic on Angel Island after I left.</p>

<p>Yosemite and Lake Tahoe would be fabulous for a mid-week overnight (when places are cheaper).</p>

<p>Explore the Mission district. I'm serious. I've found MORE things to look at than I expected when I actually walked along Mission and Valencia between 14th and 24th, and along the 24th. Actually go into the ethnic markets and see what you can put together for that night's dinner. My grandparents actually shudder a little at the thought of their 24 year old granddaughter romping around this slightly unruly neighborhood but they were pleased to see that I had a great time, found ah-mazing Mexican coffee at La Victoria's, yummy Mexican pastries (a little break from La Boulangarie...), and darn cheap dried chilies in one of the markets.</p>

<p>Walk through the National Cemetery. It's actually bit of a workout just walking around that hill! See what the oldest tombstones are and if you can find anyone who served in WWI and any wars earlier than that (good luck!).</p>

<p>Sit on the cliff near Fort Legion of Honor, facing the bridge, and watch the fog go through. It's just beautiful and quiet there.</p>

<p>Don't forget, once school starts up again in Berkeley, check out any lectures!</p>

<p>I just wanted to jump in and congratulate avoidingwork on her dining experience at La Imperial in Hayward. It is indeed amazing. I live in the Bay Area and seeking out delicious Mexican eateries is my hobby. Look out for El Sol on the "Best of the Bay" segment Kron 4 News soon (sorry, I don't have a date. I have friends that work there and they told me they will be filming on Monday).</p>

<p>Carry on.</p>

<p>It's not free theater, but the Shaw playing going on right now at Cal Shakes (Orinda) is great. Take warm clothes if you go!</p>

<p>How about a trail hike based from Muir Woods up to the Tourist Club (1920's Austrian style hiking club chalet--do a search on it). Not that many people know about it since it's off the beaten track and privately owned....but you'll never forget it. Suggest making a donation to the club if you stop in for a drink--sit on the deck, overlook the woods and valley. Lovely.</p>

<p>We found tranquil and serenity on the tails at McNee Ranch State Park, Half Moon Bay. And it is FREE. The hike is not too strenuous but the coastal view is priceless. In fact, there are lots of places you can have a vacation in the coastal region.</p>

<p>Half</a> Moon Bay Beaches, Parks, and Open Space</p>

<p>And you can have a deluxe stay at the Ritz, if you want.</p>

<p>Bring a picnic dinner w/a bottle of wine-head over to Woodminster Theater in the Oakland Hills-watch a fun musical and beautiful views of the Bay.</p>

<p>More affordable wine tasting in the Livermore Valley-closer,too!</p>

<p>Find Yoda! Hint...in the Presidio</p>

<p>Take a Gondola Ride on Lake Merritt</p>

<p>Moonlight kayak trip from Jack London Square</p>

<p>Take a trip back into time and walk along the Haight</p>

<p>Enjoy your stay-cation! You deserve it!!</p>

<p>Was at the Jelly Belly factory the other day! We are headed to the SF area today, so will take these great suggestions!</p>

<p>Gosh CountingDown we are still living parallel lives! Just got back from a brief family reunion in SF. Since my bil has small fry we didn't do as much as we might when sightseeing might have been more on the agenda, but this is what we did do:</p>

<p>Drove to Point Reyes, saw the light house and the young whale that is spending the summer there away from his pod. </p>

<p>Stayed at the youth hostel in the park and ate Tomales Bay oysters for dinner. (We reserved an entire bunk room for the extended family.)</p>

<p>Took a bird walk along Limantour Estero reserve.</p>

<p>Drove to Castiloga to stay at the Indian Springs Spa and Resort. Had a mudbath. (Loved it - well worth the price.) Swam in their pool, played bocce ball, badminton and shuffle board. Had so-so BBQ. (Don't ask it's an obsession with my husband!) We'd had barbecued oysters the day before though that were quite good.</p>

<p>Went to the The</a> CIA in California-The Culinary Institute of America and did their tasting lesson. (Kids enjoyed this.) You put on headphones and a chef guides you through various combinations of salt, sugar, cayenne and lime juice on radicchio or grapes.</p>

<p>Went to a winery and tasted some wine.</p>

<p>Thanks to this New York Times article <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/04/magazine/04icecream-t.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/04/magazine/04icecream-t.html&lt;/a> we went to Humphrey Slocumbe in Mission Bay and had weird ice cream. Peanut butter curry turns out to be delicious. Caramel balsamic vinegar not so delicious. Secret breakfast (bourbon and cornflakes) was yummy. Best coffee ice cream I've had outside Boston. We also ate in a real dive of a tacqueria (Photos</a> for Taqueria Vallarta | Yelp) around the corner from the ice cream with great murals and a pretty wildly inaccurate history of SF on the walls.</p>

<p>In Berkeley we went bowling, walked through the campus (nice Eucalyptus grove) and saw the Rose Garden. We also really enjoyed just walking through the residential hills above the campus, absolutely gorgeous gardens spilling out into the sidewalks. Oh and we had quite good BBQ in Berkeley. Can't remember the name of the place, (just looked it up, must have been Everett and Jones). Brisket was excellent.</p>