Travel Ladybugs: 5 Things To Do In The Bay Area (apart from San Francisco)
by Michelle Chan
This article is part of a new Her Culture column series called "Travel Ladybugs," which gives insider tips about locations around the world, including little-known restaurants, historical sites, beautiful landscapes, and more.
You’ve often heard of the city by the Bay––with its two seasons (it’s literally crappy/chilly weather all year round) and confusing neighborhoods that seem to interchange from street to street, San Francisco makes a great destination for unique adventures and almost hipster-like experiences.
But what you may not have heard are the surrounding suburban cities that encompass the beauty of the Bay Area. As a local and proud resident, I can confidently list some non-touristy activities that will help you navigate this region like a local.
Enjoy the mouth-watering food experiences at Off the Grid.
Seriously, this is the first thing you should do. With a variety of food and beverage vendors, Off the Grid travels around the Bay Area to introduce diverse cuisines and innovative dishes. The S’mores cupcake from Cupkates are TO DIE FOR. Cuisines range from vegan to Mediterranean and even fusion dishes (you’ll find a lot of these vendors). Find some vendors near you and you’re all set to enjoy an evening of vibrant food and culture!
Hike up Mission Peak.
Reach the end of the 3-mile hike and you’ll discover a breathtaking view overlooking the gorgeous Silicon Valley. And don’t forget to take a picture with the infamous totem pole while you’re at it.
Get a bite to eat at Copenhagen Bakery & Cafe.
Ever wanted to hit up a local coffeeshop with just the right amount of quirkiness? Head over to Copenhagen Bakery & Cafe in Burlingame and you’ll find an assortment of pastries and dishes that fits just about any mood (My personal favorite is the Princess Cake; trust me, it’s amazing). The atmosphere is right in between those cosy, unheard-of cafes you imagine in typical young adult novels and Peet’s Coffee. Local tip: bring your friends with you for a nice brunch and Sunday stroll through downtown Burlingame.
Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito.
The first time I ever did this was when I was 11 years old. I’ll admit; this was pretty dangerous for a child who hadn’t biked in three years and had seemingly gathered up the courage to speed through the busy streets of San Francisco and down the winding roads leading up to Sausalito. But I survived and it was honestly a transformational experience. Spend a day biking through this route and you’ll observe the wonderful views across the International Orange bridge and explore the intricate touristy spots of the picturesque city.
Lastly, order an animal-style burger at In-N-Out.
You can skip the previous places above, but you really can’t skip this one. Yes, it might be another burger restaurant chain to you, but it’s a whole lot more to us locals. It captures the essence of being a Californian, with its perfectly sweet shakes and burger with the not-so-secret animal-style sauce.