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Golden Gate Bridge

When people think of San Francisco the first thing that’s conjured to the mind is the Golden Gate bridge, but there is so much more to this fantastic city. I was blessed enough to spend one month with family and friends in this magnificent city and truly marvel in all of its splendor.

  • Modern Art Museum: The exhibit that they had on display at the time seemed to revolve around the end of the world/wars. They had some very creative pieces and really made you think about what is considered art. One piece was colored lines draw directly onto the white wall…. Luckily they normally have free days but as the museum is currently under construction, you might want to check out some of the public art pieces.

    Gallivanting Val (mother) and Aunt in front of exhibit located right in front of Asian Art Museum
  • Asian Art Museum: At the time that I visited (in August of 2010) they had the Shanghai Exhibit, it was an extra charge to see those pieces, but was totally worth it. Just checked their website to create the link and they had a yoga exhibit, makes me really want to head to San Fran and visit the museum. They even allow you to participate, how cool is that?! Don’t forget to take your student ID card if you have one, they provide discounts.
  • De Young Museum: Another fantastic museum, yeah I know that I said earlier I wasn’t much of a museum person, but when I saw that they had a traveling Europe exhibit and this was the first and only time it was traveling to the US, I had to go. We saw Monet, Picasso, and many other amazing and influential classical paintings. I even still have a Monet print hanging up that I purchase there. I wasn’t too impressed with their permanent collection, but the special exhibits are absolutely worth going to, especially on the first Tuesday of every month, when the museum is free.

    Rain Forest Dome at the Academy of Science
  • Academy of Science: We stood in a line for about one to two hours on a beautiful Sunday morning, looking back I think the line added to the experience, you know that the attraction is going to be great when all of San Francisco lines up to attend. The line stretched out the admission doors, down the block around the corner, all told, it probably totaled at least half a mile. Once in those admission doors you have free rain of the entire place. There is a four story tropical rain forest, planetarium, aquarium, and a host of other interesting exhibits. What’s even more interesting is that the entire building is very eco-friendly. They have a living roof that you can go up and see, it looks like the rolling hills that surround San Francisco. Select Sundays are free.
  • On a day that my mother and I went on a full blown excursion of San Francisco, we took the Amtrak from Menlo Park (where we were renting an apartment for the month) into the city.
    • We weren’t really sure what the day would bring, but we decided to head in the direction of Pier 39. Once there we got some lunch at Boudin Bakery Cafe where we both got a bowl of clam chowder in a bread bowl. As you sat and ate, you could watch the bakery section move freshly made bread on a bucket wire system that sailed above you. They bread into different shapes; my favorite was the turtle.
    • We then continued to walk towards the Golden Gate bridge. Suddenly bicyclist started cropping up all over the place, you could tell they weren’t regular bicyclists, they were rented bikes. Alrighty, so how do we get one of those? Following the water front we found a bike shop! Renting one of those bikes we headed off to the Golden Gate. You can ride across the bridge and down into Saucilito. One of the best things we did on that excursion. Taking the ferry back from Saucilito, you can land back at pier 39 and drop off you bikes. One the ferry ride, you get motor by Alcatraz Prison and get a beautiful view of the city from the water.
    • A quick peek of China town for some dinner and off to the Amtrak station.
  • Alcatraz Prison: as a child we went to the Prison and received a walking audio tour. You can see famous cells and get a great history of the island. It was one of the most memorable trips to San Francisco as a child. I would endorse this tour for anyone that likes history and/or has kids.
  • Environs:
    • Santa Cruz Boardwalk: Admission can be pretty cheap during some promotional periods, we went when it was ten dollars off admission with a empty coca-cola can, with the pier logo on it. The best ride was the white roller coast, not jerky, took some funny pictures of us on the ride (we didn’t pay for the photo, just took a picture of TV screen…), the second best was probably the Fireball (got my Aunt to go on this one, and she doesn’t like roller coasters).
    • Great America Theme Park: decent theme park, only had one good roller coast the Flight Deck, it was smooth, not jerky (essential for a mother that has a bad leg, she want’s to enjoy the fun too), fast lines, and you don’t feel like you are going to fall out of the restraints. For smaller kids they have plenty of great fair rides, I even enjoyed them as a break from the Flight Deck.

      Red woods, California
    • Red Woods: With a fascination of trees (love to draw them), driving through northern California to Portland, OR (ten hour drive) we had to pull off to the side of the road and take some pictures. The Red Woods are a great place to stretch your legs and get some fresh air in your lungs during a long drive.