Having spent 8 years living in the Bay Area I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I spent very little time actually exploring the City by the Bay. You know that old saying… You don’t know what you have until its gone.
The good news is: Its not too late! I still have plenty of great reasons to visit the Bay Area, and to make up for some of that
lost wasted time. In fact I recently spent the weekend visiting friends (those great reasons I mentioned), and got a chance to spend a rare girls day out in the city!
Shopping, eating and art were all on the day’s agenda! With an early start we managed to fit it all in including an impromptu visit to one of San Francisco’s most iconic attractions, the Coit Tower, a first for both of us. It was a great day!
Heath Factory and Showroom
Our first stop was the newest Heath showroom & Tile Factory, which is located in the Northeast Mission District. The store is beautiful as is every. single. item. inside. The showroom sells everything from the beautiful tiles they’re known for to one of a kind art pieces, pottery and housewares of all kinds.
As it happens my home has Heath tile in the kitchen and bathrooms, so a visit to their showroom was high on my list. There were so many wonderful items, but I restrained myself and only came home with one piece. A gorgeous ceramic serving platter, which I may or may not put food on.
Beyond housewares the little news shop located within the showroom had a wonderful selection of fun snack, drinks, and my favorite: travel books!
I’ve been following this San Francisco artist for a while now, but only discovered him after I moved away, so I was excited to see a few of his pieces in person.
These fabulous lips in the North Beach neighborhood have been on my list! They’re located on the side of Bodega.
Fnnch has pieces all over San Francisco including these adorable bears in the Mission District, and another set of lips which were located on Haight Street.
On the way to our next destination we made a wrong turn and ended up at the Coit Tower, which is located on the top of Telegraph Hill. Neither of us had ever been before, and there was parking available, so why not? I highly recommend!
This 210 foot monument was built in 1933 with monies bequeathed by Lillie Hitchcock Coit to beautify the city she loved. Frescoes were painted in the interior of the newly built structure by local artists funded through the United States Government’s Public Works of Art Project. This Plaque is placed by the Recreation and Park Commission October 8, 1983 to mark Coit Tower’s 50th Anniversary and its designation as an historic landmark.
Coit Tower is 210 feet tall, but if you add in the height of Telegraph Hill you’ll find yourself 494 above sea level!
If you visit on a clear day (we had some haze) you’ll be treated to fabulous city and Bay views, which include both the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge as well as the Transamerica building, and Alcatraz.
Tickets for the elevator are $8 and can be purchased in the gift shop. The windows go all the way around the platform and allow for photos in every direction. You might also be interested to know that there are multiple restroom facilities on site.
Famous for being the birthplace of the hippie counterculture movement Haight Ashbury hasn’t exactly changed much over the years. As you stroll though this neighborhood you can expect to find funky shops, restaurants, art galleries, and plenty of people watching. A favorite neighborhood of mine this is one place I’ve visited multiple times over the years.
After we walked up and down Haight Street we stopped to grab a late lunch at Cha cha cha a Caribbean Cuban tapas restaurant with delicious but large portions. I’ve never seen this place empty, so be prepared to wait for a table.
We left the kids at home, but if you’re traveling with yours you’ll definitely want to check out the Koret Playground and carousel located at the west end of Haight Street.
Dandelion Chocolate Factory – Coming soon
The new Dandelion factory located at the corner of 16th and Harrison wasn’t up and running yet, so no photos, but it looks like it’s going to be fabulous, so I’m mentioning it here in the hopes that I’ll get back there, and if not, then maybe you will! Look for the combination factory, shop, and restaurant to open soon! In the meantime they do have another SF location at 740 Valencia St (at 18th.)
Street Art… Of Course!
We saw a number of fun street art pieces throughout the city. Here are a few of my favorites:
All three of these colorful pieces were located just next to, or near the Heath Showroom. The above photo is by artist Jonathan Matas and was on Bryant Street at 19th Street. The bear with tennis shoes is part of a much larger mural by Sirron Norris.
We drove by these fun pieces at the corner of Alabama Street and Bernice.
2017 was the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. This piece by Apexer is located just off Haight Street on Masonic.
You’ll find this incredibly detailed Nychos piece just next to Aviator Nation on Haight Street.
I’m not sure who created these final pieces. We found them in an alley just off Haight not far from Cha Cha Cha.
Stay tuned for more San Francisco adventures…
You might also be interested in our other San Francisco Adventure: Mission San Francisco
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