MIKE SALK'S TRAVELOGUE

Mike’s Travelogue: Fly the Gold Standard to the Golden Gates

Jun 30, 2023, 4:04 PM | Updated: Aug 29, 2023, 2:49 pm

San Francisco Alaska Airlines...

The best thing about Seattle playing in San(ta Clara) Francisco every year is there is always an excuse to travel to the Bay Area. (Alaska Airlines)

(Alaska Airlines)

SPONSORED – The best thing about Seattle playing in San(ta Clara) Francisco every year is there is always an excuse to travel to the Bay Area. And there really is enough to do there to make it an annual trip. The trick is to vary which part of the area on which to focus your attention. And that starts with which airport to fly into. Fortunately, Alaska flies direct from Seattle straight to the four main airports that service the area, five if you include Sacramento.

For a trip that starts or ends downtown, San Francisco International (SFO) is your obvious choice. From there you can take public transportation straight into the heart of the city. Watch the sea lions at Pier 39, ride the cable cars, walk up and down Lombard Street, see the Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory. But if you’re a music fan, especially of music from the 60’s, there are a few must-see spots.

The center of the 60’s counterculture musical scene was squarely in San Francisco and there are some spots every fan should see. Start with the Fillmore Auditorium. Known simply as “The Fillmore,” this historic music venue has hosted legendary performances by iconic artists, including Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, and many others. It continues to be a popular spot for live concerts and events. And you’ll need to walk around Haight-Ashbury. This neighborhood was where it all took place and it played a significant role in the development of the San Francisco music scene. It was a hub for musicians, artists, and activists, and you can still feel the bohemian spirit as you stroll through the area. While you’re there, get to Amoeba Music and browse the huge collection of records and memorabilia. The Warfield is another historic venue worth checking. It has a long history of hosting influential acts, from punk rock to soul and everything in between. It’s a favorite spot for both established and up-and-coming artists.

If you are focused on wine tasting, you’ll have to fly into Santa Rosa (STS). Named for Peanuts animator Charles Schultz, it is the most convenient way to get to the North Bay. From there, you can easily go to Sonoma where you can taste among the hills and caves or to Napa where the upper crust of the Bay Area get dressed up for a fun day out.

Make sure you return to the city by going though Sausalito and Tiberon. See the houseboats and make sure to get a sundae at Lappert’s. Right next door is a memorabilia shop with hundreds of great sports posters, art, and photographs.

For all that the East Bay has, you’ll want to start by flying into Oakland (OAK). That lets you start in Jack London Square and then get to Berkeley. Telegraph Avenue was another counterculture mecca, but today it’s still a great spot for book stores. Moe’s Books and Pegasus Books will give you the old school feel you are looking for, but think about also trying Dark Carnival Books which specializes in science fiction, fantasy, and mystery books and comics.

There are great town centers in Danville, Walnut Creek, and Lafayette. If you get to Lafayette, you have to grab desserts at SuzyCakes. They have everything, but the cupcakes are divine and allow you to sample a bunch of unusual flavors. Plus, you can take them to go!

You can fly in or out of any of those three airports, but if you are designing your trip around the game, you’ll probably want to make San Jose (SJC) your other choice. It’s only a 15 minute drive from Santa Clara and it allows you to still explore all the fun south of the city. That means the college campus and fun in Palo Alto, all of Silicon Valley, the chill, beachy vibe of Santa Cruz, the golf at Pasatiempo and the resorts at Aptos. Each one could be a travel log of its own! And for golf fans, you could always keep heading south, go big and play Pebble Beach. It will be worth every second (and dollar)!

It really is great having an excuse to travel to the Bay Area every year. You can make it a completely different trip each time. And you know it will always include a rivalry game that is unmatched in Seattle lore.

Stadium: Levi Stadium
Stadium Food: Bulgogi Cheesesteak (Sect 106)
Seattle haunt: Danny Coyle’s (Haight Street)

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Mike’s Travelogue: Fly the Gold Standard to the Golden Gates