Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure

Discover the day tripper in you

Do you know there are thousands of free views in the city of San Francisco, and driving a car isn’t the best way to take advantage of the region’s stunning natural beauty? Discover the day tripper in you, and follow us from Sonoma County to San Francisco.

With Sonoma County’s SMART train on the brink of passenger service, a day trip to the city without getting in your car will soon be a reality. Granted this day trip has multiple legs, but isn’t life all about the journey? And who doesn’t like a good set of legs?

Curious to see if a roundtrip venture from Sonoma County to San Francisco could be accomplished in one day without getting in a car, I felt compelled to try. One snag though, the train’s passenger service has been delayed until summer. So, I enlisted an adventurous travel companion and simply drove to the ferry determined not to let logistics get in the way.

Weekend parking is free at the Larkspur Ferry, so we convinced ourselves that perk will make up for the lack of train service. Another benefit Larkspur Ferry offers is the Clipper card – big savings! After jetting across the bay in a quick 35 minute boat ride, we fawn over majestic Coit Tower as the ferry floats into port.

Moments later, we disembarked at San Francisco’s famous Embarcadero ferry building and hit the city of San Francisco on foot with a general idea of our plans but no major commitments. 

The key to navigating the city is to equip yourself with good walking shoes, wear layers and plan the day in little spurts. For this day trip we incorporated intervals of floating, walking, eating, drinking and viewing.

Check out the video to get a more intimate visual on our trip. Enjoy!

We settled on massages at Hotel Vitale Spa located on the Embarcadero – a hop, skip and a jump away. Actually, it’s literally across the street from the ferry building. Even though this hotel caters to tourists, it’s a secret spot for locals who get chilled to the bone with the city’s moist cold weather.

The concierge at Hotel Vitale mentioned a bottomless champagne brunch at La Fusion located on the quaint European alley, Belden Place. An option one can’t refuse. This alley is a treasure trove of quint awning covered restaurants with cozy outdoor heaters.

Next we hopped the trolley for a mere $2 and jetted down to Museum of Modern Art on 3rd Street. MOMA is celebrating their one year multi-million dollar renovation at the end of April with a fancy soiree.

As much as we loved the rooftop massages and outdoor rose petal hot baths at the Vitale Spa, the piece de resistance on this day trip was the Conservatory of Flowers.

Located a few miles west of downtown, the Conservatory of Flowers links Haight-Ashbury and Golden Gate Park. With public transportation as our new BFF we rolled with the flow and stepped off the Muni into another world.

At the pinnacle of Golden Gate Park’s panhandle sits the Conservatory of Flowers. It’s the perfect place to warm up & snuggle on a cold foggy day. Inside, the atmosphere is surprisingly tropical – a sheer contrast to the cool gray city’s urban mecca.

Inspiration is everywhere, so get moving! The world is waiting.

~ Courtney Paige

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