How lucky am I? It is indescribable how truly blessed I feel to have had the opportunity to live on this side of the country for 3 years. I have been able to really discover who I am, my truth, learn and grow through that process. I knew when I was applying for Grad school that I wanted an adventure! I wanted to get away! I didn’t know how much I would learn from living so far from home, from being left to my own devices.
When I started my Masters of Music at the Conservatory and started studying with Jane, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I have been stripped down, completely exposed and vulnerable to myself. My book was wide open for me to read. Similar to yoga in a way, you have to simply be present, you have to be completely organic. You have to get out of your own way and experience the spontaneous arising of the artistic experience that is music and the human body and the breath of life as instrument. The past three years out here in San Francisco have grounded me so firmly in reality that time has almost slowed down. In the past year alone, I have tried my best to be completely open to the learning experience that is life, as I hope to continue to do back in New York.
So here we go! For anyone visiting San Francisco, new to the bay area, or just looking for something to do, here are a couple of my favorite things to do in San Francisco. These are the places I take people when they come to visit and I am playing tour guide, and all the places people should make sure they hit on their rounds about the city! (NOTE! All Photos by Stephanie Naru)
My Top 25 Things to do in San Francisco:
(1) Walk the Golden Gate Bridge. Just do it. Especially if it is a clear day. The view is amazing, and it is cool to just say you did it.
(2) Stop at Crissy Field to take pictures with the bridge. It really is one of the best views you are going to get!
(3) Palace of the Fine Arts. I have never seen an actual performance here but pack a lunch and sit and have a picnic. It is a beautiful landmark and can be quite peaceful.
(4) Ghiradelli Square. Go in the evening when the lights around the trees are lit. Its beautiful and there are some cute shops worth wandering into. I don’t suggest the ice cream, only cause there are so many better places in San Francisco, but if you go into the store you get a free square of chocolate =)
(5) The Sea Lions at Fisherman’s Wharf. The absolute ONLY reason to go to the Wharf, but I love those guys
(6) Lombard Street. Drive down the most crooked street in the world, a one block section of Lombard street with eight hairpin turns. Really it is quite fun!
(6) Ferry Building. This is my number one place to go in San Francisco. I am a lover of markets like this. I love getting a coffee and a snack and sitting outside watching the ferries pull in with the Bay Bridge in the background.
(7) Grace Cathedral. they have free yoga on Tuesday nights with live music and it is really quite exceptional.
(8) Fairmont Hotel. Go for brunch, walk through the ritzy lobby, or grab a drink at the Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar where it literally rains inside.
(9) Palace Hotel Garden Court. High Tea under the glass ceiling. Since we were talking about Ritzy!!!
(10) Alamo Square. It has been under a bit of reconstruction lately, but this is the park with the Painted Ladies which are not only the houses in the opening credits of Full House (yes only the opening credits, not the house they lived in! Get it right people!) but a great representation of the colorful, decorative houses all around San Francisco.
(11) Clarion Alley Mural Project. Definitely a representation of all the murals you will find around SF, but this alley is just lines with them one after another. It is a really expression of the people, and they are always changing!
(12) Dolores Park. Seriously, if you go on a warm day, you are shoulder to shoulder with everyone there… and it is amazing. Drum Circles, a guy going around selling coconuts, hacking the tops off with a machete (and he will pour a little rum in there for extra), people walking around selling edibles… everyone is happy, and it is supposed to be the warmest spot in San Francisco because of the micro climates.
(13) Go have a margarita at El Techo in the mission. Yes, you should get Mexican food in the mission too, but El Techo’s roof top bar is pretty cool.
(14) Gracias Madres. Still my favorite vegan food in SF to date! Don’t tell your non-vegan friends, the will never know!
(15) Haight Ashbury. The neighborhood known to be the origin of hippie counterculture. This is where the Summer of Love was happening! It still has those vibes and is pretty darn awesome. Stop in Amoeba Records and huge vintage shop!
(14) Golden Gate Park. San Francisco’s central park. If you are a runner, you will like it here.
(15) Ocean Beach. Grab a bunch of friends and go have a bonfire and make s’mores. This became a tradition at the conservatory, and I was all about it!
(16 & 17) Explore the Sutro Baths and walk the Labyrinth at Lands End.
(18 & 19) Ascend some of the famous stairs of San Francisco. That’s right, you heard me… Like the Lyon Steps, or the Moraga Street/ 16th Street Tiled Steps. If you are a fitness nut, this is for you, or if you are looking for some interval training, well, there you go.
(20 & 21) Walk down Lover’s Lane and Andy Golddworthy’s Wood Line. You will reminisce about Lombard Street while you are zig zagging through this little path, focusing on the place where life starts… the Earth. The path will eventually fade back into the earth as time passes and nature continues to grow, which is what makes this place so special.
(22) Off the Grid. These food truck events are really so cool and fun, usually with live music. I suggest the one at the Presidio or Fort Mason.
(23) Twin Peaks. There is no other place like it. I suggest going n the evening when the whole city is lit up. I could sit there for hours and just stare at the city going by.
(24) Alcatraz. Do the audio tour. Its pretty awesome!
(25) Sausalito. It is just a Ferry ride away and ever so beautiful!