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Northern California at its best

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Some of my favorite spots to shop, eat, visit.
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55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
The academy of arts and science museum in golden gate park offers a whole day of fun and learning. A planetarium, an aquarium and a rainforest is such a diverse experience under one roof which is designed with the environment in mind. The roof is...
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50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
I highly suggest visiting the de Young Museum at Golden Gate Park. Not only is it in a great part of the city, with great art to boot, they have an incredible observation deck at the very top! This was my first time at the de Young Museum and...
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2900 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705, USA
This café was originally Ozzie's Fountain, a Berkeley landmark since 1921. The café still retains its retro feeling with the original Ozzie counter. Additional seating at tables are available indoors and outside. The Elmwood is open for breakfast,...
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Inverness, CA, USA
Explore the natural beauty of West Marin, with plenty of small towns to explore. At Point Reyes Station, stop at the CowGirl Creamery to grab a picnic lunch while exploring the small shops, or head to Point Reyes National Seashore. Later stop in...
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San Francisco, CA, USA
If you're in San Francisco for just a day, a week, or even a lifetime, check out San Francisco City Guides walking tours. Tours cover the rich history and architecture of neighborhoods all over the city. There's even a Hitchcock tour for movie...
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2 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
Every Christmas season San Franciscans head to the elegant Palace Hotel's Garden Court to enjoy holiday brunch or tea. This historic Beaux Arts hotel also offers inventive holiday cocktails in their Pied Piper Bar. An annual gingerbread...
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5200 Sonoma Hwy, Napa, CA 94559, USA
Yes, Napa Valley is known for its wine, but the Di Rosa Preserve highlights the art of Northern California. Rene and Veronica di Rosa had a personal passion for art and artists. Their home, the Di Rosa Preserve, became the focal point not only for...
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67402 Drive Thru Tree Rd, Leggett, CA 95585, USA
In the tiny hamlet of Leggett in California's Humboldt county you can drive through the Chandelier Tree. This tree is a 315 foot tall coast redwood tree with a 6 foot wide hole cut through its base to allow a car to drive through. The hole was...
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75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
The Japanese Tea Garden has been a special place for multiple generations of my family. It may be small, but it feels like an entire world apart, a pocket of beauty and peace in Golden Gate Park and the ever-busy city. For me, a visit here always...
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San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
A vital civic and cultural space within Golden Gate Park, the Bandshell, known as the Spreckles Temple of Music, hosts free concerts on Sundays during the summer and serves as a picnic spot year-round for visitors to the nearby cultural facilities...
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Inverness, CA, USA
Before getting into Point Reyes, stop by Inverness' Busy Bee Bakery on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. for a delicious homemade pastry and latté. Once in Point Reyes Station head to Coyuchi Outlet for discounts on top quality bed linens, robes and...
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Close to the Bay Area, Asilomar State Park and Conference Center offers 107 acres of beachfront land along with cozy cottages and rustic lodges for guests. The Arts & Crafts architecture style of the main lodge and many of the smaller buildings...
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5000 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611, USA
Designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Oakland's Mountain View Cemetery, completed in 1863 is the final resting place for some of California's most famous residents including Charles Crocker, Bernard Maybeck, Anna Head,...
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5891 Broadway Terrace, Oakland, CA 94618, USA
In the upper Rockridge district of Oakland you'll find the charming Terrace coffee house with an adjoining gift shop. Seasonal items are a specialty in the gift shop with Halloween and Christmas taking over the shop in a riot of visual delights....
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Visit Oakland's Temescal Alley for one-of-a-kind shops...I especially like Crimson Horticulture and Esqueleto jewelry but there's lots to explore here. Wander around the corner to Telegraph Avenue for more shops and restaurants.
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471B 9th St, Oakland, CA 94607, USA
Near the corner of 9th & Broadway, Marion & Rose's Workshop, in the Old Oakland neighborhood, is fun place for unique gifts for friends or for yourself! Lots of small artwork, children's clothing & toys, housewares, Blue Chair jams, jewelry & LOTS...
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817 Washington St, Oakland, CA 94607, USA
On a lazy Saturday morning head to Caffe 817 in Old Oakland (downtown) for a breakfast of poached eggs, olive tapenade and toasted levain. Add a latte bowl or cappuccino for the perfect start to your day! After breakfast explore the neighborhood...
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1 Point Reyes-Petaluma Rd, Inverness, CA 94937, USA
My all time favorite thing to do in Northern California when the fog clears! Shucking without gloves is risky business though!
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Presidio, San Francisco, CA, USA
The Presidio of San Francisco, a former army post, is now a wonderful public park for all to enjoy. Put on your hiking shoes and find Andy Goldsworthy's two public sculptures, Spire and Wood Line. Spire was created using 37 felled Monterey cypress...
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563 Ruger St, San Francisco, CA 94129, USA
Located in a former army barracks in San Francisco's Presidio, the Presidio Social Club is open for lunch and dinner. Here you'll find classic American dishes including mac 'n cheese, grilled chicken sandwiches, meat loaf, pot pies...all the...
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155 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
The site of Comstock saloon has quenched the city's thirst since 1907. Named after the Comstock Lode– one of the most significant gold finds in California that prompted migration, mining and the growth of the city –this bar has seen it all. With...
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730 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
Overlooking Yerba Buena Gardens is a wonderful tea café called Samovar. This is the place for tea connoisseurs as they offer tea varieties from all over the world as well as limited edition teas. Samovar also offers tea and food pairings...
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1603 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702, USA
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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1836 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710, USA
Berkeley's 4th Street shopping area offers 3 blocks of unique shops and restaurants. Some of my favorite spots are The Gardener for gardening accesories and housewares, Nest for beautiful gift items and linens, and Bette's Oceanview Diner for...
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100 34th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA
High on the headlands above the Golden Gate - where the Pacific Ocean spills into San Francisco Bay - stands the California Palace of the Legion of Honor.
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1 Lincoln Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94129, USA
Located in the Presidio, the San Francisco National Cemetery was the first national cemetery established on the west coast. It is the final resting spot for over 30,000 soldiers, family members, and other notable figures. A walk among the white...
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816 41st Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062, USA
Perfect latté every time! On the East Side of Santa Cruz near Pleasure Point you'll find Verve Coffee. Very cool, laid back surfer vibe where locals hang out. A local turned me onto this place and every time I visit Santa Cruz I head straight to...
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55 Peckham Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076, USA
Gizdich Ranch located off the Hecker Pass Hwy (Hwy 152) is a must stop if you're headed to the Santa Cruz – Gilroy area. The Barn, open from 9–5 every day, sells pies made from freshly picked fruit. They're know for their apple pies because they...
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State Park Dr, Aptos, CA 95003, USA
Near Santa Cruz in the small town of Aptos, you'll find the beautiful Seacliff State Beach. Seacliff's famous fishing pier extends out to a concrete tanker, the SS Palo Alto. Built during WWI the Palo Alto spent a few years after the war as a...
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101 N Big Trees Park Rd, Felton, CA 95018, USA
The Fall Creek area of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is over 2,300 acres. Limestone kilns once dominated this area of the park and remnants of the kilns are still visible along the South Fork trail. The park's groves of first and second growth...
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48603 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
I seem to have a thing about old typewriters, perhaps because I actually remember using some of them back in the day. This one is at the Henry Miller Memorial Library (although I put "museum" on the photo). It doesn't look like it still works!
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1000 Great Hwy, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA
During the Great Depression the United States government supported artists by commissioning murals in public buildings. There are several places where you can see the WPA (Works Progress Administration) murals in San Francisco. My favorite spot is...
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214 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
After a day spent floating down the Russian River, happy hour at Mateo's hit the spot. We grabbed seats at the colorful bar and ordered tacones stuffed with olive oil guacamole and black bean puree with homemade chorizo. I paired the food with a...
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Agate Beach, California 95570, USA
Agate Beach, in California's Humboldt county, is a favorite spot for agate hunting. The powerful waves here regularly churn up seashells, agates and occasionally a moonstone. Be careful to watch for sneaker waves, notorious in this part of the...
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1414 Harbour Way S #3000, Richmond, CA 94804, USA
Rosie the Riveter Museum in Richmond celebrates an era of women's history with great historical impact. A spot dedicated to the stories of WWII wartime prep that is a significant part of the history in this area of the East Bay. It was a naval...
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736 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
While wandering around San Francisco's vibrant Mission district I came upon a small restaurant called Mission Cheese which celebrates artisan American cheeses. I ordered the gruyere and salami sandwich with a nice spicy mustard and crunchy...
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824 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
This is one of my favorite shops in San Francisco. It is full of all sorts of curiosities and funky plants and located down in the mission. I could spend hours in the place.
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740 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
San Francisco's Dandelion Chocolate is a MUST if you love chocolate. This bean-to-bar chocolate factory recently opened and already they have a following. In the small café in front of the factory you can sample different types of chocolate...
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50 Balmy St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
There are plenty of murals in San Francisco's Mission district. Don't limit yourself to a few well traveled places but wander the side streets to find lesser known murals. Balmy Alley is the most well known location but I prefer the murals on...
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460 Nashua Rd, Castroville, CA 95012, USA
Whenever I'm in the Salinas valley I make sure to stop at Pezzini Farms to get a big bag of their green globe artichokes -- the best! Lots of local produce, artichoke spreads and an outdoor stand where you can buy fried artichokes. Pezzini has...
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701 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, USA
Pacific Grove's Passionfish is enjoyed by both locals and tourists. This simple restaurant focuses their menu on sustainable seafood, local veggies and modestly priced wines. For dessert you must try the lemon verbena creme bruleé... lemony with a...
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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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12781 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Inverness, CA 94937, USA
In the tiny town of Inverness you'll find Saltwater Oyster and Wine Bar. Focusing on locally sourced and sustainably farmed food, Saltwater offers oysters in a variety of ways. I like the Oysters BLT; bacon and tomato crumbled on top enhances the...
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561 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
Weekend brunch at Bar Tartine in San Francisco's Mission district serves small and large plates that are inventive and delicious. I had the avocado toast with scrambled eggs, mustard and cheese sauce; a bit too much mustard for my palate but...
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3150 18th St #105, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
Little Paper Planes carries paper goods, housewares, plants, artists' editions & lots of other fun stuff in this tiny shop. Owl Cave Books is a small book shop within LPP. Spend an afternoon and wander along Valencia street checking out the unique...
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736 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
The stunning Contemporary Jewish Museum was once a PG&E power station that world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind transformed in 1998. Today, it functions as an ode to both history and the future. The museum features rotating exhibits that...
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662 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, USA
Pacific Grove is often foggy, especially in the mornings. Head to the cozy Red House Café, sit by the fire and enjoy a hearty breakfast while watching the fog waft by. Order a latté....delicious and served French-style in a large bowl. Great place...
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946 Main St, Watsonville, CA 95076, USA
If you're in the Watsonville area and have a hankering for an old-style hearty, HUGH breakfast head where the locals go -- Cowboy's Corner Café. No fancy lattés here just straight forward homestyle bacon & eggs. Good biscuits, large servings.
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Pier 15 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
In a new location, the joy is still the same, as the world's premiere hands on science experience - but it's so much more than that. A place to relive childhood and experience the best of what engages us with the world around us and our sense of...
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Step back in time to the golden age of railroads in the American West. The California Railroad Museum is one of California's State Parks and a nice way for kids and adults to learn about the rich history of the American West. Twenty one restored...
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7087 Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA 94611, USA
East Bay Regional Park District has many wonderful hiking areas. Huckleberry Preserve in the Oakland hills offers self guided nature trails (maps available in parking lot) where you'll see a variety of California native flowers and trees such as...
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Sacramento, CA, USA
Every July Sacramento hosts the California State Fair offering days full of all-American family fun. Amusement rides, live entertainment, corn dogs and funnel cakes, livestock, exhibits about California history and agriculture. July is usually hot...