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Guide: Northern California

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Local things that I recommend and stuff that I still have to do.
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CA-1, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, USA
Many car commercials have been filmed along this stretch of the iconic California road. The hairpin turns and switchbacks make it a wild ride for some, but the views to the west (the ocean) and the east (Northern California's inimitable green...
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100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, USA
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA can be considered one of the most beautiful places to visit in Cali. The weather is great-I wore a light hoodie and pants in August (while the rest of CA experienced triple digits), the scenery is absolutely incredible, and...
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38257 E Kings Canyon Rd, Dunlap, CA 93621, USA
Cat haven is a small zoo filled with felines rescued from various situations. The animals seem content an well cared for, and you can get an up close view of some large and beautiful creatures. As one if the handler's explained, there are not a...
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United States
This beautiful place in Death Valley is on the way to the Mesquite Sand Dunes and it's called the Devil's corn field. Walking on it feels very strange as the sand is solidified at the surface. When you step on it makes in crack and it sounds and...
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1000 Oak St, Oakland, CA 94607, USA
Good to know that there is a museum dedicated to educating the community and supporting art in Oakland. Take a nice bike ride around lake Merritt before viewing the current exhibit or have a refreshing greyhound at Room 389.
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Hume Lake, California 93628, USA
Along a windy road in Sequoia's National Park you may see a sign for Hume Lake. It won't be a big sign, and if you're not looking for it, you'll think it's just one of many lakes along the winding roads thru the great Sequoia's park. This one gets...
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23240 California 1, Marshall, CA 94940, USA
Since I’m still relatively new to San Francisco, I’m still discovering all of the amazing places just outside of the city. Every weekend I try to hop in a car and explore. My latest discovery is Nick’s Cove, a restaurant and cottages located in a...
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155 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
A San Franciscan watering hole since 1907, Comstock Saloon serves up classic cocktails (think Negronis and Manhattans) in the buzzing North Beach neighborhood. The bar is run by the bartending duo of Jeff Hollinger and Jonny Raglin, previously of...
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Chinatown, San Francisco, CA, USA
This tiny Chinatown alterations place is a local favorite, with people walking in and out constantly. The prices are very reasonable, and I wouldn't recommend haggling with Ms. Ma.
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824 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
Stepping into Paxton Gate is like entering a wonderland. What began as a small store in an alley off Market Street in 1992 has since grown into their location on Valencia Street, a mecca for those interested in the oddities of the natural world....
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738 Main St, St Helena, CA 94574, USA
Lots of restaurants brag about having a farm-to-table ethos, but few stick to it as adamantly as Farmstead restaurant at Long Meadow Ranch Winery in Napa. Nearly every ingredient—from the grapes that go into the wines, to the beef used in...
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1 Johnson Pier, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, USA
Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay has a little bit of everything: fishing boats, a brewery, seafood restaurants, whale watch tour boats, kayaking outfits and other businesses related to enjoying all that the sea has to offer. When walking...
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25 Swanton Rd, Davenport, CA 95017, USA
Swanton Berry Farm is a u-pick farm along the coast just north of Santa Cruz. In the winter it's kiwis; other seasons provide opportunities for picking ollalieberries, blackberries, and strawberries. It's a great, kid-friendly afternoon activity....
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1329 Beckwourth Calpine Rd, Beckwourth, CA 96129, USA
On a gorgeous late-spring morning, on a tip from a Sierra Valley local, we drove down from Packer Lake to Sierra Valley Farms (near Beckwourth) for the farmers' market seasonal debut. Cherries, peaches, greens, baked goods from Longboard's, and...
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19225 CA-1, Marshall, CA 94940, USA
North of the little town of Point Reyes Station, the Marshall Store sits on the banks of Tomales Bay. I've been coming here for years after hiking or horseback riding or walking on the beach in Point Reyes National Seashore. The place is super...
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Avenue of the Giants, California, USA
Whenever I experience power in nature, it makes me feel small, insignificant, fleeting. I get this feeling watching rugged cliffs dropping into a pounding ocean; the ceaseless force of a raging waterfall; or the colorful kaleidoscope of a setting...
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6037 San Pablo Ave, Oakland, CA 94608, USA
Pepples Donut is in a random location (San Pablo and 61st) so it's not really somewhere you would go out of your way to get to (they also sell them in the Ferry Building), but the grimy cafe store is very low key and I love getting a box of dozen...
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200 Centennial Dr, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
The Botanical Garden in Berkeley is small enough that it's kid-friendly. Packing a lunch and having a picnic is a must.
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200 Nevada Ave, Moss Beach, CA 94038, USA
At any time of day this forest feels enchanted. As you walk along, what are now, well marked paths there are phases of to this coastal journey. Depicted is the cypress forest which leads north to the tide pools and south to Three Palm, which needs...
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3431 19th St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
Can't beat a buck for an Oyster! Hogs and Rocks is a great happy hour haunt in the mission. Super lively and fun. I shouldn't be telling you all this!
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390 Capistrano Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, USA
It may be a little cold and foggy on the the patio at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. And certainly a pint or two of their microbrew will refresh more than heat your insides. But don't worry, there are heat lamps over the picnic table or a few...
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2015 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
Bun Mee recently opened near my house. Their Vietnamese sandwiches are just spicy enough, with the right amount of filling and at the right price. They also have great salads and sweet potato fries with curry aioli sauce. I've been having their...
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754 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA
This place is tiny, but it's one of my favorite places in my neighborhood. The menu is small so there are only a few choices, but no matter what you get, you'll be happy. Make sure to try the iced coffee. It's made with chicory, the way it's done...
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6711 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599, USA
This venue is temporarily closed for renovations, 10/2018. Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley is a well-curated art gallery and wine tasting room set amidst an eclectic sculpture garden. At this Napa Valley tasting room, originally built in 1904 as a private...
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17380 Sonoma Hwy, Sonoma, CA 95476, USA
This tiny market on the way to or from Sonoma Wine Country is the perfect place to stop for a meal on the go. El Brinquito is Spanish for a small jump, or a leap, and the Market is just a short hop outside of downtown Sonoma. The everyday fare is...
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16th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project in the Inner Sunset is a reflection of the city’s creative spirit. Artists Aileen Barr and Colette Crutcher led the initiative to cover a stairway in mosaics inspired by the Santa Teresa Steps in Rio de...
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1275 McKinstry St, Napa, CA 94559, USA
There’s something romantic about train travel isn’t there? And when the journey is on tracks that have been around for more than 150 years in one of the word's most scenic wine regions, the ride is even sweeter. If you’re looking...
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Even in winter, this grassy part of the trail is lovely. It runs along as part of the Coastal Trail high above Stinson Beach. Always makes for a great run... but in early spring with the wild flowers its ideal. Purple and green vibrate!
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972 Gravenstein Hwy S, Sebastopol, CA 95472, USA
True to its name, this Sebastopol Hole in the Wall cafe was hidden and delicious! The Dutch baby is a deep German pancake made in a skillet with tons of sugar and apples. The chef brought it out to us sizzling hot! What a breakfast.
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Marin County, CA, USA
I think this area of the Mt. Tam Watershed is one of Marins best kept secrets. Take the Bolinas-Fairfax road to get there.
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19225 CA-1, Marshall, CA 94940, USA
I come here to relax and watch the seaweed sway beneath the water and light sparkle above. The drive to Point Reyes along Highway 1 is an experience in itself with rolling green hills that meet an expansive sky and the smell of eucalyptus in the...