Long Weekend in San Francisco [The Fun]

Did I mention that I went to San Francisco in November? Cause I did.  And it was awesome.  Back in late August, headquarters at Architecture for Humanity requested that I be at Design Like You Give a Damn: Live! to join in on the discussion with other chapter leaders.  The first two years of DLYGAD were held in New York, this year they decided to move it across the country to be in their home city.  With little arm twisting, I was set to go and I brought along two more New York directors.  I will tell you more about DLYGAD fun later.  First I will share all the extra fun.

My friend from MSU, Robin, relocated just south of San Francisco in Santa Cruz after graduation, so I went out early and spent the weekend hanging out with her before the conference began on Monday.  Rachel was flying in right behind me on Saturday morning so Robin picked us both up and we headed straight for the Golden Gate Bridge. And then we went hunting for lunch in Little Russia and we found the Red Tavern where Rachel told us the best stuff to order and it was amazing. AMAZING.

On and around the Golden Gate Bridge  and some fantastic Russian lunch!

On and around the Golden Gate Bridge and some fantastic Russian lunch!

After that we picked up Mishelle on a random corner the bus dropped her off at on the edge of Golden Gate Park.  Inside the park we found our way to the deYoung Museum with 5 minutes to spare to get ourselves up the tower and back down, (it closes at 4:30!).  Bonus point to the museum for keeping the observatory tower free and having a huge lobby space, and sculpture garden that are also free for you to wander through.  Love the design of the museum too, places like that make me so happy. Across the street from the deYoung Museum is the California Academy of Sciences.  We walked around it on our way to the museum and no one believed me about its green roof with giant skylights.  Even though we didn’t go inside, we could see them from the observatory and I will definitely make a point to go back if I am in San Francisco again, it looked like a pretty awesome place to nerd out.

de Young Museum- views from the top and the sculpture garden

de Young Museum- views from the top and the sculpture garden

After that we headed to check in to our adorable hotel, the Baldwin Hotel in Union Square. This put us within walking distance of the conference, which was right next to the Ferry Building.  After picking up some hot drinks we wandered in to Chinatown and found ourselves some drinks to start the night.  After a couple drinks we went in search of dinner before settling at an Italian place.  After that, time was catching up with us east coasters and we needed to sleep, so we said good night and  I headed back with Robin to Santa Cruz.

The next morning Robin and I headed to the waterfront for brunch.  Brunch with avocados. And ocean views. And people already on the beach at 9AM on a Sunday playing volleyball. After a walk down the beach we headed back to San Francisco on the Pacific Coast Highway.  It was gorgeous and I even saw a field of brussel sprouts that I maybe got too excited about.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz & the Pacific Coast Highway, these pictures do not do justice to the views

Back in San Francisco we planned our potential bike route around the city.  Mishelle and Rachel had found a place to rent bikes by the hour or day for a good price and they had mapped routes that promised to miss all but a couple hills.  This was true.  But after a nice ride along the water front on The Embarcadero, (forgetting that Rachel’s  tire got stuck in a trolley track causing her bike to tip over and chain to fall off), and climbing one of the two hills in our route, we were going slower than anticipated and Mishelle needed to drop off the bike and meet some friends.  We parted ways at the Palace of Fine Arts and Mishelle headed off on what would be a disaster.  While she was looking up at one of the highest hills in San Francisco separating her from her friends, (after minor debate, she called them, they rescued her and all was well and I am never allowed to make plans again), Rachel and I checked out the Palace.  It was originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition and remains today (with some rebuilding and modifications along the way). It was magnificent. After that, we headed up the hill as well, except, we went around it a bit so it wasn’t quite as bad as what Mishelle was looking at.  It was also through Presidio Park and had an amazing view from the top.

SF bikesOnce the bikes were returned, Rachel and I wondered around the Haight neighborhood while figuring out were we were meeting Mishelle and her friends. We came across this sweet shop called Buyer’s Best Friend, that had foods and goods made all over the US.  Very Brooklyn feeling and all the samples were a perfect pre-dinner snack. Once we knew where we were going we tried to get a cab.  That took some time because we had to learn that you had to call one to pick you up. Very annoying.  We ended up at a Japanese restaurant in Japantown and spit a bunch of tasty dishes I can’t even remember.  Mishelle’s friends then drove us all over the city, over the hill where trucks and limos get stuck, to the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge, and to Mission Pie.  So good. SO GOOD! You must go there if you are in San Francisco.

SF SundayThe next day was the first day of DLYGAD and it started early.  So after our pie, we headed to back to the hotel to prepare the for next days events.  Stay tuned for the details on the conference, it was inspiring, whirlwind fast, and amazing as always.