06 August 2009

A New Perspective on a Familiar Place

[Clearly I haven't blogged in a while... Summer's been full of fun and adventure! I'll be back at MIT in a little less than a month, so the fun and adventure will be coming to an end and will turn to fun, adventure and p-sets. As such, I'll be blogging more. I promise.]

I'd been to San Francisco before. Twice: once to visit Stanford back in the days of college decisions, and once to spend Christmas in a (slightly) warmer climate. As a result, I'd seen the Golden Gate Bridge, Haight-Ashbury, the Exploratorium and Fisherman's wharf a couple of times. Basically, both typical family vacations.

My friend Natalie wants to be a filmmaker (that doesn't really do much justice to what she wants to do... but I tried) and is looking at transferring to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and when she suggested we head down there for a visit, I couldn't have been more excited. A trip to a great city with one of my best friends in the summer? Definitely a win.

Rather than bore you with my usual "And then we did this, and then this, and then..." I'll just tell you about some of the awesome places we went. Also, our trip was July 6-12, so clearly some of the information here could have changed since. I also may have forgotten details since...

The Hotel
Four out of five of the nights of the trip were spent at the Gaylord Suites hotel in the Union Square area of San Francisco (the first night was spent at the Econolodge in Ashland, OR on our way south). The hotel was in a perfect location for walking around downtown, and was within walking distance of the SoMa district. There were several parking garages within a couple of blocks, and a lot of restaurants. There was also a Walgreen's drug store nearby, which came in handy. The only complaint I had about location was that it was literally a block away from the Tenderloin district. The Tenderloin... not the best place ever. It seemed okay-ish during the day (though we definitely didn't pass through there unless we were in a car), but at night it was incredibly noisy. The room was really nice - all ikea furniture, clean, and even had a flat-screen TV. For the location and amenities, the price was more than reasonable (check Expedia for reservations!) and I'd definitely stay there again.
The Food
One of my favorite things to do is find good restaurants to eat at. To be perfectly honest, I want to go back to San Francisco just to eat at all the restaurants that looked amazing. Unfortunately, I forget a lot of the places that we ate at... The one place that sticks out the most in my mind, however, is the Crepe House. We ate at the Gough Street location, but I'm sure the other locations are just as good. I had the chicken pesto crepe, and it was amazing. The crepe was perfect, the potatoes that came with it were perfect, and they have Orangina. Perfect. The only other place I remember having exceptional food was the restaurant/cafe in the Museum of Modern Art - definitely a great place to eat after a trip through the museum.

I can also safely say that most of the Starbucks we went to were flawless in service and quality... Except they rarely spelled my name correctly. (Really?! Every time it was spelled wrong, it was some weird spelling of Kelsey. Seriously. Just go with the most common spelling - it's not that hard.) What would a trip be to San Francisco without copious amounts of coffee?

The Places
We went to some pretty amazing places while in the Bay area. Probably because I'm a huge nerd, the Exploratorium was one of my favorites. Granted, the Exploratorium is my favorite science museum after OMSI. Anyway. It was awesome. Also awesome: the Museum of Modern Art. They had a Robert Frank exhibit and a joint exhibit featuring works by Ansel Adams and Georgia O'Keeffe. Being the photography nerd that I am, I was running around (well, almost... we didn't have much time before the museum closed) in love with a million different photographs. Definitely worth it. Prior to this trip, San Francisco was the furthest south I had ever been in California. That changed after our trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. While I was practically hyperventilating over contact sheets at MoMA, Natalie was dying with sheer joy at the aquarium. But understandably. It was an awesome aquarium. The exhibits were fantastic, and they filmed part of the fourth Star Trek movie there (yeah, we were excited about that). The sea horse exhibit was amazing, and the best part of the sea otter exhibit was the video screens featuring John Cleese.

Okay, so I'm just going to post a few pictures. Lame, I know, but they're probably better than the tales of us walking all over downtown San Francisco looking for coffee, food, and the Academy of Art.

The Palace of Fine Arts outside of the Exploratorium

Part of the Exploratorium (a.k.a. nerd heaven)

Part of the Yerba Buena gardens, and a view of the SoMA district. MoMA is the building with the weird disk on top.

1 comment:

Joanna said...

When I went to SF with my Girl Scout troop we stayed in a hostel in the middle of the tenderloin. It actually wasn't that bad, even at night.