Explore the Bay Area

The 2015 conference will keep us all quite busy, but this terrific list of things to do in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and environs may inspire you to extend your trip. We are indebted to staff members of the Contemporary Jewish Museum, who compiled it.

San Francisco

Hike Mount Davidson and have a picnic at the top and enjoy the view (highest natural point in SF)

Spend an afternoon walking at Fort Funston (it’s a dog beach so it can be very entertaining or watch the hand gliders)

Have breakfast at Louis Diner and walk around Sutro baths after look for Sam the Otter who has made a home there 

Walk around Clement Street and visit Green Apple Books  

Grab breakfast at Good Luck Dim Sum

Have lunch at the Plant Café at Pier 3 and sit outside on the bay Order the grapefruit salad

The Castro Theater to see “The Mighty Wurlitzer!” being played before a movie

The Film Noir Festival at the Castro Theater (a perfect excuse to see The Mighty Wurlitzer!)

Window shop the Mission, be sure to go to carte Blanche Gallery and see whatever photography show

Paxton’s Gate to look around and buy a plant or some oddity (jaw bone of a raccoon or something gruesome like that…really!)

Have a drink at Bar Tartine, and then vegetarian sushi at Chaya on Valencia

Visit Flora Grubb Gardens in Bayview- sit outside in the sun and get a latte from Ritual Coffee Roasters and sit in the garden

Balmy Alley (Mission District) - the best place to see the most concentrated collection of murals in the city.  People have allowed muralists to use their garage doors as their canvas

See the Andy Goldsworthy sculpture Spire in the presidio and grab a drink and appetizer at Presido Social club

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’s Easter Parade. BTW, they are campy but do TONS of fundraising for a variety of organizations

Get dinner and drinks at Cafe Claude on Claude Lane and sit outside

Brunch at Outlerands on Judah Street and then walk on ocean beach after Buy an extra loaf of fresh bread to take home with you

Sit at the bar at Zuni on Market Street and get a lemon drop

Get a burrito and beer at Taqueria Cancun The one on Mission Street (If you like nachos this is the place to get them.Will feed two adults!)

Wander around the arboretum/botanical gardens in Golden Gate Park and then get some sushi at Ebisu Sushi- in the Sunset on 9th Avenue

Go to Zazie- for brunch in Cole Valley and sit out back on the deck 

Bring a book or the Sunday paper and go to Craftsman and Wolves on Valencia Street for coffee and pastries

Spend a day at the Japan town mall on Post Street Be sure to go to the Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya and browse their art and design section;  have noodles for dinner; then see a movie at the Sundance Theater

Have a romantic dinner at Rose Pistola in North Beach Wander around after and get gelato for dessert

Go check out the wave organ in the Marina near the St Francis Yacht Club

Grab dinner and margaritas at Nopalito on Oak Street

Join the JCC and do the Jewish triathlon several times a week- jacuzzi, sauna, steam room

Grocery shop at Rainbow Co-op

Cocktails at Bourbon and Branch

Walk around Fort Point under the Golden Gate

Anything in the Presidio, actually (really fun to bike ride in there)

Watch the Bay Lights from Embarcadero

An Irish Coffee from Vesuvio, Specs, or Tosca (they all claim it)

Walk through Civic Center, past City Hall into Noe Valley and then get some German food at Suppenküche

Read a book in North Beach with a cappuccino at Washington Square Park

Take the N out to Golden Gate Park and wander (while touristy, Japanese Tea Garden is lovely)

Go to 18th and Dolores and get BiRite Ice Cream, or go to BiRite and get a picnic for Dolores Park sunny afternoon


Get Cheeseboard Pizza

Thai Buddhist Temple Mongkolratanarma Buffet on Sundays Buy some tickets, get in line for whatever looks good to you, sit at a picnic table with strangers and have a fun conversation



OakTown Spice Shop on Grand Avenue

Tofu House on Telegraph

Grand Lake Farmers Market

The Grand Lake movie theater, the Mighty Wurlitzer organ is played before shows on Friday and Saturday nights

The Alley…sing along with pianist Rod Dibble, an Oakland legend!

Wood Tavern on College Ave, Market Hall, for that matter anything (shopping and food) on College Avenue in the Rockridge/Ellwood area

Claremont Hotel in Berkeley (sit on the deck, great views) or just down the hill from the Claremont, Rick and Ann’s

Fourth Street in Berkeley…great restaurants and shopping

The Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt

The East Bay Regional Parks…Tilden is really spectacular

Gondola ride on Lake Merritt

Berkeley Rose Garden

Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale

Paramount Theater in Oakland  A beautiful old restored theatre (the  $5 movies they show there once a month will do as an excuse if you need one)


A visit to the Marin Headlands, and the Headlands Center for the Arts

See the Bay from the Lawrence Hall of Science---then go ride the Miniature Railroad in Tilden Park

Explore Alameda…and the Alameda Flea Market-first Sunday of each month

Millie’s Kitchen, Lafayette…breakfast all day

Drive down the coast on highway one and stop at Montara beach for a quick walk  Then drive south to Princeton by the sea and get lunch and beer at barabara’s fish trap and sit on the beach After drive further south to half moon bay beach and watch the surfers

The annual Kinetic Sculpture race takes place in Humbolt County It’s a 3 day 42 mile Kinetic all-terrain human-powered art sculpture race that are engineered to race over road, water, mud and sand  The slogan: Adults having fun so kids will want to grow up AND it’s right by the Redwood National Forest where you can camp!

Drive north to Healdsburg for the day and walk around the downtown square Have dinner at Scopa  They make their own olive oil and bread and fly their cheese in from Italy

Great wines from all over…except California…Oddlots on San Pablo Avenue in Albany (really!)

Hike around Lake Chabot and take a picnic

Drive to Sea Ranch and rent a tiny wood cottage for the weekend Go in the springtime and watch baby seals on the beach

Drive north to Bodega Bay for the day, walk on Salmon Creek State Beach  Stop at the Wildflour Bakery in Freestone

Drive to Occidental and have dinner at Distro des Compains (join Occidental’s annual march of local silly folks and friends Occidental's legendary Fools Day Parade begins at 1 pm)

Go to the Alameda flea market, first Sunday of the month Get there super early, like 7 AM and take a big car in case you see a piece of furniture you cannot live without Get lunch at Bakesale Betty’s after 

Spend a day wine-tasting in the North Bay including:  Dutton Ranch/Sebastopol Vineyards, Iron Horse, Gary Farrell Wines, J Vineyards, Bella wine

Muir woods--a little slice of old California before we cut down all the trees

Filolo--beautiful old gardens down the peninsula in Woodside, CA

Pt Lobos--explore the beautiful coastline of California and walk in the footsteps of Edward Weston

Robinson Jeffers Pacific Grove-- charming, low key place on the coast where the monarch butterflies gather (near Monterey and Carmel--which are worth a visit, too)

The small towns of the gold country in the Sierra foothills (Columbia, Sonora)

Yosemite in the winter

Walnut Creek shopping center--get a real feel for suburban CA.  The same goes for Santana Row in San Jose (where I think some of the Silicon Valley peeps buy their Prada)

In Sausalito there is a three-dimensional hydraulic model of San Francisco Bay and Delta areas capable of simulating tides and currents. The Model is over 1.5 acres in size


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