Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Trip #5 - San Francisco's Golden Gate Park

One of my kids' favorite SF trips is to the Golden Gate Park. Here is my first trip idea for the Golden Gate park: Stow Lake.

Stop 1 - Moraga Steps
We normally drive into the City using 19th Avenue. A recommended first stop is the Moraga Steps if the weather is clear, off of 19th Ave.

Just make a right turn onto Moraga from 19th and drive up to the bottom of the steps. You can park anywhere. Be prepared for quite a lot of steps! The reward at the top is the view. Make sure to bring some windbreakers as the wind is always strong up at the top.

Don't stop at the top of the mosaic steps, continue on to the top of the hill!

Stop 2 - Stow Lake
After the Moraga steps, get back to 19th Avenue and drive to the park. Immediately after crossing Lincoln Way, make a right turn onto MLK drive. Make the first left turn towards Stow Lake and park anywhere on the right side of the road. It is free parking, without time limits. I normally drive until I see some benches on the right side and park there. If you get close to the boat rental, there you might get lucky and find parking but usually that is a crowded are. See the map of the lake below.

I recommend walking around the lake to get to the bridge on the northern side of the lake. There cross the bridge to get to the island. Once on the island, walk to the Pagoda (it is that little blue circle on the map, on the right hand side) and the waterfall. By the waterfall there are steps leading you to the top of the island. The kids love these places but be prepared to be able reward them with some snack at the top!!!

There are a lot of birds to see in the area, bring binoculars to get a better look at them!

Stop 3 - Irving Street

After a good walk, everyone is normally ready for some food. We normally drive back towards 19th Avenue on MLK drive and park on MLK drive after we cross19th Ave. From here we can walk to Irving Street (see map below).

My favorite restaurant on Irving (and maybe even in entire SF) is Marnee Thai (unfortunately they have not offered me any compensation for all the publicity I have been doing for them). The kids love the place, too as their fried rice and pad thai are both delicious, non spicy and plentiful. Even the less adventurous people I took there agreed that this is a good place. Check them out here: http://www.marneethaisf.com/

A few doors from Marnee is a great little dim-sum take out place that is simple, cheap and good. Here is their location on Google Maps: Happy Bakery The kids love the desserts and I normally buy our dinner here to take home (after all day in the City, who wants to cook, right?). Frank loves their pork buns, which I have not tried but others love it, too. I am more the shrimp dim-sum type.

After lunch it is fun to walk around and go into some of the stores. My kids love the housewares store on the corner of 23rd. Here is a link to it: Irving Housewares. They have a lot of little, cheap trinkets. We have bought there a huge selection of cute kids' spoons and plates. I always have to restrain myself from buying some more sushi trays.

The way home
Normally after all this we just have enough energy to drive home but if someone wants to still do something more just take the long way home, use Highway 1.


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