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Bay Area Escapes

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How lucky we are, the locals of and visitors to this big, beautiful Bay Area. This is a collection of things to do, eat, drink and see all within an hour or two of drive time from San Francisco or Berkeley. You'll be reminded that often times, great escapes are - quite literally- in your own backyard. Get out there and explore.
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Dewey Point, California, USA
There's an absolute gem of a hike in Yosemite National Park that anyone who loves a good winter snowshoe hike should do. It's a seven-mile out-and-back trek from Badger Pass to the inspirational Dewey Point, which is on the south rim at just over...
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23240 California 1, Marshall, CA 94940, USA
It always feels like a different world anywhere in the beautiful Point Reyes National Seashore area, and an evening at the hidden Nick's Cove in Marshall, will have you in love with Tomales Bay. The property was recently overhauled by a group of...
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975 1st St, Napa, CA 94559, USA
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This is one of my favorite places to meet friends that are in California and visiting wine country. It has everything to do with the delicious BBQ, excellent collection about wine, and the casual and convivial atmosphere. Bounty Hunter is in the...
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Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA, USA
Not crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco would be like skipping the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It’s a rite of passage every visitor should experience. The best way to traverse this iconic symbol of the city is either on foot or two wheels....
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Oakland, CA 94611, USA
Looking for a great afternoon or evening hike, high above the clouds of the East Bay? Need a few good labyrinths and a volcano to make it desirable? It so happens, I've found your place. Located on the border of Oakland and Contra Costa, the...
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2501 Grizzly Peak Boulevard, Orinda, CA 94563, USA
This is my favorite 30-35 mile ride in the East Bay, and spring and fall are the times to see the colors really pop. Make your way up and out of Berkeley on Spruce and head straight on Wildcat Canyon to enter the majestic Tilden park, when you hit...
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2109 Cedar St, Berkeley, CA 94709, USA
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This has become my go-to plan for friends visiting the area. It includes fine French takeout dining from Gregoire's on Cedar and Shattuck, and a one mile walk up to the best local sunset view you'll ever find (smack dab in the middle of a Berkeley...
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Nicasio Reservoir, California 94946, USA
Start the day off right in Point Reyes Station with coffee and a scone at the Bovine Bakery. There's loads of bicycle parking in the park to the right of the bakery and cyclists come in from every direction, to fuel up at this same intersection....
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1099 Alcatraz Ave, Oakland, CA 94608, USA
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Open five days a week and on the corner of San Pablo Ave and Alcatraz in Oakland, everyone's a winner at Victory Burger. Sal Bednarz of Actual Cafe (next door) is the force behind this new favorite and continues to make this district of Oakland...
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1108, 1195 65th St, Emeryville, CA 94608, USA
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Not only does Farley's have delicious hand crafted coffee and food in a cozy and hip corner of Emeryville, but their magazine wall is something out of a dream. Creative publications and the perfect reading spot, make Farley's the place to be when...
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1603 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702, USA
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Using Sightglass coffee, Bartavelle serves the BEST latté in Berkeley! Opened in late 2012 this unassuming café already has a local following. Small place with stand-up only zinc counters inside plus outdoor seating. The small plate menu uses...
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900 Murray St, Berkeley, CA 94710, USA
Walking into Urban Ore for the first time is an assault on the senses. To each their own on any treasure hunt here, in the space that just keeps on going. Row after row, drawer after shelf, the amount of discarded items (spared from landfills)...
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2821 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
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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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797 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA
This creative collective founded by Ann Hatch, is a brilliant example of encouraging, supporting and showcasing artistic talent. In the heart of the cool Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco, you'll know you're in the right spot immediately-...
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11250 CA-1, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956, USA
Toby's Feed Barn in the heart of Point Reyes Station has been a general store and operating feed barn since 1942. Organic and fresh local goods are on hand as well as a yoga studio, community garden and one fabulous little coffee bar. Start your...
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709 Main St, St Helena, CA 94574, USA
If you're headed to wine country for some sipping and spinning, I'd encourage you to start and finish your day at the Clif Family Wine tasting room and their all-bicycles-welcome back porch at Velo Vino in St. Helena. It's the perfect place to...
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Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA, USA
Treasure Island is still technically located in the city of San Francisco, but you probably wouldn't venture to the island unless you're making a trip over to Oakland and the east bay. I have often noticed the great views of SF from the bay...
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6702 Hollis St, Emeryville, CA 94608, USA
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A dear friend and her Bourbon loving husband shared this favorite local bar with me last year and it's become our official venue for get together gatherings in the East Bay, ever since. In the words of their owners, Prizefighter has certainly been...
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1807 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710, USA
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Don't let the name of the diner fool you- there's no ocean view on Fourth Street in Berkeley, but after one glimpse at the menu, you won't mind. Bette's in an institution and many of my colleagues over on Cedar St will admit to being a patron even...
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100 34th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA

San Francisco's Legion of Honor, in Lincoln Park in the northwest corner of the city, has stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge. The building is a replica of the French pavilion constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition,...

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Pier 45, Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
You can find this gem of a WW2 Liberty Ship docked at Pier 45 in the Fisherman Wharf neighborhood. You'll have to make your way through the crowds of visitors and many a seagull being fed a french fry, but if anyone you're traveling with thinks...
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1001 Minnesota St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA
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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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1200 Euclid Ave, Berkeley, CA 94708, USA
This city-owned park in Berkeley will steal your heart, even before you find the stone slide! While I was exploring the park for the first time, I'd already been wowed by the little league park of my dreams, the magical Redwood trail running...
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904 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA
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Next time you're in the Dogpatch neighborhood of SF, don't miss the chance to swing by Rickshaw and create a custom bag. Tucked away in your Rickshaw bag you’ll find a tag with their special heart symbol, something called the Rickshaw “PCQ Tattoo”...
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801 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA
There's a chance you're already having an affair with Jacky and Michael Rechiuti's flagship chocolate store in the Ferry Building. Do know, that you're not alone. They now have- not one- but two other store fronts in the Dogpatch district of the...
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801 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA
I love the experimental name, Chocolate Lab, that brings to mind two mad chocolate makers (the Recchiuitis) dueling over creations, beakers bubbling over with—you guessed it—chocolate. This cozy café is known not just for its dessert, and the...
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Long Ave & Marine Dr, San Francisco, CA 94129, USA
FREE
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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8600 River Rd, Forestville, CA 95436, USA
My mother is such a good sport when she visits. She knows I have to be constantly moving outside to feel alive and on this visit, I thought a fun way to be active in the wine country region of the Russian River, would be to take her out on a 10...
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798 Arguello Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
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This cozy, community minded, all-things-bicycle-inspired cafe on Arguello (and a block from Golden Gate Park) is the perfect place to meet cycling buddies for your pre-ride fuel spot. You'll see the red, ceramic decorated bicycle hanging above the...
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2534 Mandela Pkwy, Oakland, CA 94607, USA
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Mind, blown and belly, full. Brown Sugar Kitchen is the place in the East Bay for your brunch in search of food for the soul. Created by the master head chef Tanya Holland (known for her celebration of community as well as her gifts in the...
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5000 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611, USA
Watching the sun set over San Francisco Bay from this hilltop is an unforgettable (and truly local) experience. Maybe going to graves is a little creepy, but the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland is more beautiful and historic than most places you...
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3800 Main St, Alameda, CA 94501, USA
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The Alameda Antiques experience is such a cool way to spend the morning of your first Sunday of any month on the calendar year. It's the largest show in Northern California and it has over 800 dealer booths that are selling items at least 20 years...
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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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75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 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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1315 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA
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Be sure to check out their website for the lovely story as to how the original Farley's location began. Know that this is the perfect place in Potrero Hill for coffee, tea, community and most definitely, your favorite magazines. If you're waiting...
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2049 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702, USA
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Welcome to my new favorite, neighborhood cafe near the intersection of University and San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley. The space is inviting (both inside and out), the communal tables and cozy chairs plentiful and the Four Barrel coffee delicious with...
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Centennial Dr, Berkeley, CA, USA
The view of San Francisco from high above the Berkeley hills on Centennial drive at the Lawrence Hall of Science is work the drive or bike, UP. This is a public science center that offers many cool, hands-on learning opportunities for kids and...
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Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, USA
Golden Gate Park was formed out of an expanse of sand dunes to the west of the city in the nineteenth century—a history that is still discernible in the rolling topography of much of the park’s more than 1,000 acres. Over 13 million...
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Sausalito, CA 94965, USA
If you're exploring the Marin Headlands area, make sure you scoot over to this hidden gem and still active, lighthouse. As you can see, the setting is dramatic and you'll be rewarded with some sweeping views of the bay. There's a half mile trail...
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1299 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA
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This is an excellent place for brunch in Potrero Hill and more than worth the wait for a table, that you may find on a weekend morning. The two founders not only have a passion for food, as you can see from the cool exterior seating, they also...
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Rodeo Beach is a gorgeous place to start and finish some hiking or trail running in the Sausalito/Marin Headlands area and the perfect place for a picnic. Rodeo Beach is another gorgeous park in the big and beautiful Golden Gate National Parks...
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140 Bohemian Hwy, Freestone, CA 95472, USA
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This treasure of a bakery is in a town called Freestone (near Sebastopol) and off a road called the Bohemian Highway, meaning that this is already as California as it gets and an absolute must-see for anyone exploring the coast of the Golden...
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309 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
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Stray Bar opened its door in 2006 and it's been a place that welcomed two legged and four legged bodies in fun fashion. Part sports bar, part neighborhood pub- this is the place to spend a sunny (or foggy) afternoon or evening in Bernal Heights.
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800 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Be surprised by the beauty of Diego Rivera's murals up close, at the San Francisco Art Institute on Chestnut Street. This private art school was founded by Ansel Adam's and the work by Rivera can be found in the wall of the 'main gallery' once...
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California, USA
“We wanted to go to Yosemite, but didn’t have time.” I’ve heard this refrain from several San Francisco visitors and they all have said it with regret. Yes, the reverent national park is outside of a short-drive comfort...
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Jewel Lake, California 94708, USA
There are miles upon miles of trails and hikes to choose from in Tilden Park, high up in the Berkeley Hills and I always love to start and finish many of the classic afternoons here by swinging through the Redwood groves that are on the western...
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Lake Aloha, California, USA
Welcome to Northern California's Desolation Wilderness, the perfect place to hike near South Lake Tahoe. Lake Aloha is a well-deserved and divine place to take a dip after having tackled the climb up from Echo Lake. I'd suggest parking your car at...
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Lake Tahoe, United States
This is big bicycle ride. Not necessarily because of the distance (if you're a regular road cyclists this amount is your usual Saturday or Sunday ride) or the terrain (there are only a few sections with significant climbs), but big because of the...
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Gibson Rd, San Francisco, CA 94129, USA
Every once in a while, the sun shines bright in San Francisco and every city residents flocks to the nearest park or beach to soak up the sun and day drink. Baker Beach, in the confines of SF, seems worlds away from city life. The view of the...
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Wildcat Canyon Rd, Orinda, CA 94563, USA
You'll love the views you'll have of the EBMUD Watershed while you're hiking or mountain biking along Nimitz Way in both Wildcat Canyon Regional Park and Tilden Regional Park. The views really open up once you're in the area considered the Bay...
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Meadows Canyon Trail, Berkeley, CA 94708, USA
This isn't the first time I've seen this, but it was the first time I had my phone on me while I was hiking up Meadows Canyon Trail. Not only is this spot one of my favorite places for a sunset in the East Bay, it's apparently also a great spot to...
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4048 Sonoma Hwy, Napa, CA 94559, USA
This refined 28-acre resort set in the rolling hills between downtown Sonoma and downtown Napa makes guests feel relaxed the moment they check in. The vistas are unobstructed from the resort’s pool areas, and many of the property’s 94...
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4048 Sonoma Hwy, Napa, CA 94559, USA
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I'd been here twice for brunch and finally had a chance to have dinner here before a concert in downtown Napa. Delicious. When you tell your friends that you're headed here, everyone will chime in about the dish that you have to get. 'Make sure...
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The Embarcadero & Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
From the soaring copper tower of the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum to the pillars of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco celebrates the artistic and architectural. Public sculptures line the waterfront and spike out of...
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San Francisco, CA 94129, USA
FREE
Once a U.S. Army airfield, Crissy Field has undergone an amazing transformation over the past 20 years and is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. A popular spot for dog walkers, bikers, runners, and families, the 1.5-mile...
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15500 US-101, Klamath, CA 95548, USA
Yes, there's a hint of the American-road-trip cheese factor, but for a family on the stretch of road from Northern California to Oregon on Highway 101, this stop would be a home run. It's 36 miles south of the Oregon border, amid the miles of...
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Point Reyes Station, CA 94956, USA
This photo was taken in woodcut print maker Tom Killion's studio in Inverness, California during an event called the Point Reyes Open Studios Weekend. The group known as the Point Reyes Open Studios Group was established in 1997 to promote the...
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129 Miller Ave, Mill Valley, CA 94941, USA
I was on my bike with friends the day after Thanksgiving, beginning our climb to the summit of Mount Tam, when the Mill Valley Lumber Yard caught my eye on Miller Avenue. Fresh flowers, small boutiques in the old lumber yard offices and striking...
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10905 Shoreline Hwy, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956, USA
Tipped off by a colleague that lives around the corner from Point Reyes Station, I headed to lunch here on a Saturday to find fuel for a big hike in Tomales Bay. I take the phrase I'm about to write quite seriously, but the beef burger I had here...
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Summit Rd, Walnut Creek, CA 94598, USA
However you get here- by bicycle (way to go), by foot (the Summit Trail is not easy, nice work) or by car (it takes a while), the views will not disappoint. Having been introduced to my geographical neighbor due to my love for cycling and its...
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North Peak, California 94517, USA
A recent favorite hiking path in Mount Diablo State Park (in Northern California) to North Peak is considered the hard way. You'll have over 3,000 feet of climbing on some of the toughest ascents in the region in the first five miles. Do know that...