Hi there! It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post—but if you’re following me on Instagram & Facebook (which you should do now if you haven’t already!), you already know that I took a gorgeous trip around Northern California. I’m so excited to share my photos and stories with all of you over the next few posts!
My husband and I flew to San Francisco, where we stayed with one of my favorite people in the world—a friend who I’ve been lucky to know since the ninth grade. Our friendship is one of those rare connections that picks up exactly where it left off the last time we were together, no matter how much has changed in our lives in the mean time. She fell in love with San Francisco and moved there after college, and I was so happy to get to experience the city that she calls home through her eyes.
Alex and I also got to celebrate our third anniversary while we were in California, which was the perfect way to cap off another big year in our lives together. The two of us have never been so relaxed as we were in CA—our Apple watches even stopped reminding us to breathe! Experiencing the gorgeous scenery, the vibrant city, and the amazing food (in addition to getting to spend some quality time with some of my favorite humans) made for a perfect vacation.
So without further ado, here’s the first installment of my favorite discoveries from our trip: Haight-Ashbury and the Mission District, two fantastic San Francisco neighborhoods.
Exploring Downtown San Francisco
Haight-Ashbury (named for the intersection of Haight & Ashbury Streets) was the epicenter of hippie culture in the 1960s—a culture that it’s maintained to this day. Haight-Ashbury was home to the first-ever head shop, Ray & Jay Thelin’s Psychedelic Shop; in addition to the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and other renowned psychedelic bands. I liked Haight-Ashbury’s quirky, bohemian vibe, fun shops, and Victorian homes; but there is a distinct grittiness underlying the neighborhood that you should expect to encounter when you visit.
Drink: Cantata Coffee Company (I got lavender bubble tea with almond milk here—so fancy!)
The Mission District gets its name from the Mission San Francisco de Asis: the oldest standing building in the city, built in the late 18th century. The Mission District is characterized by its strong Central American culture; but Valencia Street in particular was known for its LGBTQ and punk scene in the 1970s and ’80s, featuring bands like The Avengers and the Dead Kennedys. It’s home to several renowned taquerías where you can try a Mission burrito, a style that originated here. Some areas of the Mission District are safer than others; to find the best shops and restaurants in one go, visit Valencia Street, the neighborhood’s trendy center of commerce.
Visit: Valencia Street
Shop: Paxton Gate
Drink: Katea (we tried the strawberry mojito & brown sugar ginger tea latte–delicious!)
I have so much more to show all of you over the next few weeks. (Check out Exploring California, Part 2: The Presidio, Sunset District & Sea Cliff now; Part 3: Russian Hill, North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf & Chinatown; and Part 4: Muir Woods, Vista Point & More Day Trips Near San Francisco!) I’d love to hear which parts of San Francisco you love the most or can’t wait to explore–leave me a comment and let me know!
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