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San Francisco

San Francisco is a city full of mini-cities.  There are so many neighborhoods and communities that you really need a full week or more to fully explore all of its gifts.  Heck, I need a full week just to explore its Chinatown, another week to meander through the Presidio, and another week to eat at all the wonderful restaurants.  In other words, my few days were not enough and a return visit is in order.

Here are a few tips for a visit to San Francisco:

Starting points:

Bring layers: I started the morning with a heavy coat, which came off around noon to reveal two layers, one of which came of around 3 p.m.  Around 5 p.m., the sweater went back on followed by the coat.

Public transportation: Take time, in advance, to familiarize yourself with the buses and trams, which are really good.  Things are spread out and the hills can be hard.


The Presidio, formerly a military post, is a National Park and recreational area featuring great vistas, beautiful trails, and historic and architectural treasures. You can hike, picnic, or just sit on a bench. We really enjoyed our walk through Crissy Fields, which has an interesting conservation project.  The Presidio experience can be an entire day!

The Wave Organ, part of the San Francisco Exploratorium, is a wave-activated acoustic sculpture located on a jetty in the San Francisco Bay.  You need a windy day to get the full-effect.

The Coit Tower was built in 1933 with funds from Lillie Hitchcock Coit, an eccentric personality who was best known for her support of the local firemen. When she died, she left one third of her fortune for the beautification of the city. The result was the Coit Tower, which is both a memorial for Lillie Hitchcock Coit and for the San Francisco firemen. Inside are amazing WPA murals.


Ferry Plaza Farmers Market: Great food to eat, buy and simply adore! Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays.


Aziza: A modern take on Moroccan food with incredibly delicious cocktails.  The dishes are all about showcasing the great flavors of his native cuisine in ways that harmonize with the fresh, local, artisanal ingredients of Northern California. Directions to this wonderful eatery.

Lucky Creation Vegetarian Restaurant: Don’t be deterred by the lack of ambiance or the sharing of tables.  Just go and dig into some great, all vegetarian chinese food.  We had great tofu dumplings with fried noodles and gluten puffs.   We even bought some of the various gluten “fake meat” products home and made dinner for days!  The address is 854 Washington St, San Francisco, CA 94108.


Red Blossom Tea Company: This tiny tea shop has a superb collection of teas that range from light and green to downright dirt-like.  Part of the wonderful experience is the tastings that you can experience.  The staff is very knowledgeable and want to share their love of tea.  We are hooked and order tea online for gifts, which we share with everyone!  Red Blossom is located at 831 Grant Avenue in Chinatown.  

Palace of the Fine Arts Greco Roman Rotunda: This amazing Rotunda, which was built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition world fair, is connected to the Exploratorium and very close to the Presidio.  We stumbled into it while weaving our way home after a stroll through Crissy Fields.  It is rather surreal and a great place for picnics and photos.  You can’t miss the Greco Roman structures.  But, if you do, here is a map.

Next time:

Alcatraz Island: Because it is an amazing site and has recently undergone a major prison garden restoration!

Golden Gate Park, which includes the Conservatory of Flowers (Victorian greenhouse), Japanese Tea Garden, and architecturally dramatic de Young Museum.

Octagon House (1861)built only a few years after the Gold Rush, has a view of the Golden Gate from its cupola. The house was a family residence until the late 1920s, when it was acquired by a utility company. Its purchase by the California Society in 1952, for one dollar, and subsequent restoration in 1953, saved this charming landmark for future generations.   Octagon House is open to the public on the second Sunday and the second and fourth Thursdays of each month except January and is closed on holidays. Visiting Hours are from Noon to 3:00 PM. The last admission is at 2:45 PM.

FiloliLocated 30 miles south of San Francisco, Filoli is recognized as one of the finest remaining country estates of the early 20th century.  This remarkable 654–acre property, including the 36,000 square foot Georgian country house and spectacular 16–acre English Renaissance garden, is a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Filoli House








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