The Bay Area’s Beautiful Outdoors
While most of the Bay Area is now priced to match the riches of Silicon Valley, there is careful consideration to keep green areas open to everyone. Thankfully.
Golden Gate Park is the second most visited park in the U.S. (Central Park is #1), and within its 1,017 acres you’ll find more than just a grassy area. For those looking to up their plant game, the Park houses the Conservatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Garden, and the SF Botanical Gardens.
The de Young Fine Arts Museum is technically not a new place, since it’s been around since 1895. However, renovations in 2005–designed by Herzog & de Meuron (some of the world’s finest)–delivered a fresh take on bringing the outside in. The revamp gave de Young a chance to stand tall in the art world today.
Museum number two at Golden Gate Park: The California Academy of Sciences. We hear the California greenery is a perfect fit for their Planetarium’s show “Incoming!” Our favorite member of the USS Enterprise, George Takei, narrates the beautiful show.
The Great Outdoors
If you’re simply looking to be outside and enjoy the landscape, there are plenty of other options. Manmade Stow Lake can be a place for a romantic boat paddling sesh. The Conservatory of Flowers is simply heavenly. Hippie Hill is a friendly, drum circle-happy, Frisbee-playing area that the cops don’t bother visiting.
Fun fact: this was the site of the Human Be-In in 1967, which kicked off the famous Summer of Love that introduced psychedelic culture. If you’re seeking a phenomenal view, hike to the top of Strawberry Hill to overlook the beautiful Mt. Tamalpais and Golden Gate Bridge. This is a great spot for a picnic!
Hotel Drisco is uphill and almost tucked away from the tourist areas, but close enough if you wish to access them. It’s nothing ostentatious, but you probably wouldn’t want to have that sort of experience when staying in a quiet residential area. Our favorite thing about this spot is just how uncomplicated it is. It’s intimate, comfortable, and quaint. Book a room with city views and make it a real romantic stay, if you so please. Getting into the right mindset to explore Golden Gate Park is just what you’ll do here.
The Argonaut - Nobel House
The Argonaut Hotel is a high-end boutique hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf, the city’s most tourist-frequented area, because of its great views of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Infused with nautical details, this restored brick warehouse is within walking distance of all the attractions in the waterfront neighborhood. San Fran is pretty small and getting around is easy, so you should have no problems exploring the great park with the Argonaut as your starting point.
If panoramic San Francisco sights are what you’re looking for, this is the spot to book. Here, guests can enjoy incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Transamerica Pyramid, and even Alcatraz. Accommodations aren’t too shabby, either. Loews Regency nails the classy, charming, luxuriously modern vibe. This would also be a good place to stay if you’re coming with parents or a mature group.
We think of an experience at the Kimpton Buchanan as one that resembles stepping into a West Elm catalog. Located in Japantown, this spot is just steps away from the Fillmore District, and one of the closest hotels to the park. It’s so inviting that you’ll probably want to spend time here; Kimpton hotels are always very well thought-out. We dig this place a lot…and think we’ll just stay a while. Bonus: killer ramen around the corner at Waraku and Yamadaya.