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33 Places to Play Hooky in SF

One day this Spring, let's skip work and wander. Here's where you'll find AFAR employees on their perfect day out of the office ("shhh!").
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Ocean Beach, San Francisco, CA, USA
Ocean Beach is a massive, four-mile-long stretch of sand. Surfers talk about it in terms of the block they surf. I surf Pacheco or Moraga Street. This story appeared in the January/February 2012 issue.
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3940 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
They do their own blend of beans called Elbow Grease, and it’s high-octane stuff.
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4500 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
Mollusk is a neighborhood surf shop that sells clothing and great boards. They carry my surfboards and handplanes [for body surfing]. They occasionally host art shows and live music. The shop is sort of like the cornerstone of the Sunset. 4500...
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1690 John F Kennedy Dr, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA
In Golden Gate Park, right off Ocean Beach, you'll find two historic Murphy windmills that have just been restored to their former working glory. The surrounding tulips and a picnic area make it a perfect pit-stop on your way to, or from, the...
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Presidio of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA
A few blocks east of Goldsworthy's more prominent Spire is this installation of fallen trees snaking through the still standing ones. Wood Line is located within the cypress grove near the intersection of Presidio Boulevard and West Pacific...
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Long Ave & Marine Dr, San Francisco, CA 94129, USA
The Golden Gate Bridge is probably the most photographed site in California, but this vantage point never gets old. Explore the hollowed out fort, learn some history, and marvel at the view from the top floor.
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75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA

While Japanese gardens have come to be an expected feature of many botanical parks around the world, the Japanese Tea Garden, which opened in 1894, was the first public tea garden in the United States. The original plot consisted of less than half...

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50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
The de Young Museum, with its perforated copper facade and spiraling tower in the center of Golden Gate Park, is as dramatic outside as it is inside. Follow the widening crack in the sidewalk into the atrium. It's an Andy Goldsworthy–created...
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100 John F Kennedy Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
The Victorian-era glass and wood structure, which looks like a sugar-coated castle atop a grassy slope, is Golden Gate Park's oldest building. It's also one of San Francisco's most splendid historic sites. Wander through five different galleries...
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220 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
For a dose of culture, head to Park Life in the Inner Richmond. The goal of this gallery-cum-retail space is to feature today’s most engaging contemporary art. Located in a 1,400-square-foot former furniture store, Park Life showcases 10 exhibits...
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2821 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
You'll have a hard time ever leaving B. Patisserie, and you'll know why it's been an over night sensation in lower Pac Heights. The open, modern space feels like something you'd find in the Marais in Paris, and the fact that you can view the...
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560 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
For lovers of unique design, contemporary and vintage style, and long-lasting quality, Eden & Eden in North Beach is one stop you must make. The eclectic shop is stocked with everything from designer womenswear to teeshirts and handmade jewelry to...
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Steiner St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA

An estimated 48,000 houses were constructed in San Francisco from 1848 to 1915 in the style typical of the day, with ornate woodwork characteristic of so-called Queen Anne design. Earthquakes and fires, most notably those of 1906, destroyed many—...

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4519, 261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA

In an age when many independent bookstores have surrendered to the advance of chain stores and Amazon, City Lights is a true survivor. Since it was founded by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 1956, it has served as a gathering place for San Francisco...

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1612 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
In a city charmed by all things retro, the North Beach neighborhood is the place for Prohibition-era fashion (followed by speakeasy-style drinking, of course). Stop by the Goorin Bros. Hat Shop for the kind of boutique shopping experience from the...
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1001 Minnesota St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA
They had me at the yellow building. I love wandering the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco and both Piccino restaurant and separate coffee bar, are lovely places to gather. The coffee bar on 22nd Street serves carefully crafted Sightglass...
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600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
With no sign above its unassuming storefront, Tartine is most easily recognized by the line that snakes out its door and down Guerrero Street. People patiently wait for flaky pains au chocolat (the best outside Paris, in my opinion), decadent...
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1634 Jerrold Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124, USA
Even the blackest of thumbs can find inspiration at Flora Grubb’s eponymous nursery—or at least a good cup of coffee. Grubb runs the enormous space (complete with Ritual Coffee Roasters bar) with a gallery-like ethos, rotating in new displays...
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1 Sausalito - San Francisco Ferry Bldg, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
The Ferry Building in San Francisco is a must for any food lover, and Cowgirl Creamery is one of my favorite stops. This producer of artisanal cheeses is a place to pick up cheese for a snack or picnic and to ask questions about California cheese....
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Lower Nob Hill, San Francisco, CA, USA
Bourbon and Branch is a traditional speakeasy. Their 8 house rules—hushed voices and no cell phones among them—encourage neighborly conversation in a very relaxed setting. It's a great way to meet people if you're traveling alone as...
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355 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
Is Bar Agricole the best bar in the city? It’s certainly in the top five, based on the groundbreaking cocktail program developed by bartender and owner Thad Vogler; the award-winning architecture and interior design by local favorite Aidlin...
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Pier 7, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
Pier 7 is a secret. I have found myself there many times and never understand why there are rarely any crowds. At sunrise or sunset with your back to the city you can get gorgeous photos of the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island. The beautiful wooden...