Mike’s Travelogue: They call it the Bay Area for a reason

Jun 14, 2022, 4:14 PM | Updated: Jul 14, 2022, 4:44 pm
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You can't pass up a trip to San Francisco, especially when you get to watch your favorite football team.

SPONSORED POST – So, you want to see Seattle play in San Francisco? Makes sense. Who wouldn’t want to go to one of the country’s best tourism destinations to see their favorite team play their arch rivals. But what’s this? The stadium isn’t in San Francisco?

Nope. It’s almost an hour south of the city in Santa Clara.

So with that in mind, let’s focus this trip on the outskirts of the city. I mean, they call it the Bay Area for a reason. There’s plenty to do without spending a hour staring at the sea lions, eating bread bowls at Fisherman’s Wharf, walking up (or driving down) Lombard Street, or spending a late night at Panda Karaoke in a private room singing with your travel buddies.

Let’s start north, in an area famous for its wine. It’s hard to beat the wine in Napa and Sonoma. And you can even fly direct from Seattle to Santa Rosa to avoid the city crowds. The airport itself is worth the trip – a throwback for sure. There are some great hotels in the area (The Lodge at Sonoma Resort has a great pool) and plenty of wineries. I love a small spot in the Sonoma hills called Mounts (it has a killer view), but make sure to call and make a reservation before you go. Same with Williams Selyem in Healdsburg.

Obviously, you should never taste on an empty stomach. Think about lunch or dinner at Oso Sonoma (cool ambience) or the HopMonk Tavern (more of a lively experience). There are plenty of beautiful hikes in the area, and some fun small towns to discover like Healdsburg, Sebastapol and Petaluma. Or head all the way west and see the water from Bodega Bay.

Closer to the city are the little villages of Tiburon and Sausalito. The latter makes for an especially fun afternoon checking out the houseboats (it rivals what you’d see on Lake Union) and then walking through the village for food, drinks and shopping. The Sport and History Gallery is a unique experience – they have tons of photographs and prints for sale of every celebrity, city, ballpark and historical figure. And they have a Lappert’s Ice Cream there which is WELL worth a stop.

There is no shortage of fun stuff in the East Bay. Explore Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley and stop at Pegasus Bookstore. Make sure to grab some grub at Cheeseboard Pizza – they only make one flavor per day but you know they have perfected it! Explore Oakland’s waterfront and Jack London Square plus the kids might like the Oakland Zoo or Fairy Land. Try tasting wine (and playing golf) at Wente Vinyards in Livermore. Or dinner in Danville at Cocina Hermanas (awesome patio).

If you are lucky to get some good weather, head south for a half day in Half Moon Bay. You’ll travel through the beachy community of Pacifica (which is usually socked in with fog) and down the coast. Once there, you can walk the public beach by the Ritz Carlton or play either of the two beautiful golf courses. The fried seafood at Sam’s Chowder House is exceptional (even the east coast lobster rolls) but try to get a seat outside for the view.

You can also explore Santa Cruz, Palo Alto and the rest of Silicon Valley – all those tech millionaires need good places to eat!

If you have time for a longer trip, it’s hard to beat Monterrey and Carmel. The coastal views are sublime, the houses along 17-Mile Drive are awe-inspiring. And if you are so inclined, there’s a little golf course in the area you may have heard of. Pebble Beach isn’t cheap, but it’s legendary. If you want the views without the pricetag, Pacific Grove is nearby and you can play 18 without the pomp and circumstance.

After all that, you’ll be ready to cheer for the team in enemy territory. Find your way to Santa Clara, throw on your #12 shirt, and get ready to embarrass your rival on their home field (again)!

Stadium: Levi Stadium
Stadium Food: Churwaffle by Burgess Brothers
Seattle haunt: Danny Coyle’s (Haight Street)

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