If you’re not feeing the redwoods and are more in the mood for desert, there’s no better place to go than Joshua Tree National Park. It might be a full eight and a half hour drive south of San Francisco — or an hour and a half by plane — but believe us when we say that the hikes, bouldering, and night views are worth it. Here’s what to do in and around this arid oasis.
Just north of Bodega Bay lies windblown Red Hill, where a clear day bestows 360-degree views of the Pacific as well as the mouth of the Russian River. Pack some goodies and head up Highway 1 for a hike and a picnic. Don't fret if the fog rolls in—the moss-shrouded trees and hazy vista will be just as magical.
To walk through the Japanese-styled wooden doors on the Northern inlet of Oakland’s Lake Merritt is to enter another world. The landscape is checkered with trees that are bent and wired to mimic what one might see in nature—that is, if everything in nature were just a few feet tall. This, the volunteer-run Bonsai Garden Lake Merrit (BGLM), is among the Bay Area’s few remaining places to celebrate the treasured ancient art form of Japanese bonsai.
Over the past few years, a slew of developments along San Francisco’s grandest thoroughfare has led to the recent minting of a shiny new Mid-Market neighborhood. The seven-block stretch of Market Street, between Van Ness and 5th Street, is relishing renewed vitality, with the openings of killer markets, restaurants, bars, culture and more. Here's your Mid-Market to-do list.
We all remember how much fun we had exploring the neighborhood on bikes as kids. What's stopping you from enjoying the same thrill around the Bay Area now? Even if you haven't been to a SoulCycle class—let alone hopped on an actual bike—in months, you'll find a ride on this list that is just your speed.
Sandwiched between the Marina and Pacific Heights, Cow Hollow is a stroll down shopping lane for yoga pant-wearing ladies with strollers and small dogs. The main drag, Union Street between Divisadero and Laguna, is great for a walk, with plenty of restaurants, bars, coffee and juice shops to stop and refuel.
Known for its bounty of tasty restaurants and coffee shops, the Mission is a delicious blend of hippies and hipsters, taquerias and luncheonettes, and 99-cent stores and ceramic workshops. The neighborhood is a cultural mishmash worth exploring if you're into artisan coffee, boutique pastries, art galleries, dive bars, and lazing in the park.