I’m Evi & I blog over at Eyeliner & Erasers. Recently, I’ve had my hands full with tackling life as a new mom, but I love to write about beauty, healthy living, professionalism, travel, womanhood, motherhood, and life in general! Yeah, I write about it all, but the reality is that I want to help women realize that life is about positivity and empowerment. We can all do great things and feel great in the process. For more information, check out my about page.
I love Northern California. There I said it. Yes, a Southern Californian girl loves good ol’ Nor Cal. While among Californians there is an unspoken debate over which half is better, I can honestly say that I love all of my home state. I have some major California pride, which is why I am so excited for Chelsie and Dustin to move there—even if it is just for the summer. To celebrate this fortuitous move, here are ten fun and awesome (and slightly unique) things to do in Northern California. To Chelsie, Dustin, and Rosie, I’m sorry that some of these are a couple hours from Chico. 😉
The Ferry Building my favorite place in all of San Francisco. My sis-in-law took us there last time we were in town. It is a gold mine of great food. You should set aside an entire meal and devote it to the Ferry Building. First, grab a sandwich that features Cowgirl Creamery cheese. Last time we were there, I just got a baguette and didn’t regret it. I snacked on that sucker all day; however, I hear Cowgirl Creamery is life changing. Finish off the meal with a Miette cupcake. Trust me. You want the cupcake. No, you haven’t had enough cupcakes, and you haven’t lived till you have tried Miette.
Every summer my family would go to San Francisco when my dad attended an annual conference there. The Exploratorium is still one of my favorite museums (I’ve easily been to fifty different museums—not elaborating). Sure, it is the museum where I discovered my little sister’s reflexes are faster than mine, but it holds a lot of great memories for me. It is interactive, and they feature extraordinary exhibits.
There is nothing unique about this one. Lombard Street is a huge tourist attraction, but definitely something worth seeing if you are in the area. My sis-in-law, a Bay Area local, says that they may be closing it to traffic soon, but you should still be able to visit. It’s gorgeous and a lot of fun, especially if you have your own car and it is still open to traffic.
Seward Street Slides
The Seward Street Slides Park is perfect for your inner child. They are concrete slides and they are fairly large. Bring your own cardboard to slide on, wear pants that are a bit higher up (not the place for your hip huggers), and enjoy the ride. Plus, it is free. You can’t beat that.
Gilmartin’s Swing (AKA Hippie Tree)
Another free activity, this swing has one of the most incredible views of the Bay. I haven’t had the opportunity to go yet, but it is on my bucket list. You get a panoramic view of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge at once. It’s also very peaceful. It is a bit more difficult to find, so bring your smartphone or GPS.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
My husband insisted that I see this aquarium. I am SO glad that he did. This is one of my most favorite places in the world. The exhibits are incredible. I still think about the absolutely stunning jellyfish there. If I could sleep in the jellyfish exhibit every night, I absolutely would.
South Bay (Sunnyvale)
Mahalo Bowl Food Truck
Known for the Acai bowls, the Mahalo Bowl Food Truck is very popular. It has 4.5 stars on Yelp, which we all know is a pretty awesome accomplishment. Customers rave that the bowls are authentic and similar to the bowls you’ll find in Hawaii and Brazil. Just thinking about it makes me want to travel from Idaho to California.
This is my second stereotypical tourist attraction. The reason why this is a stereotypical attraction is because Mystery Spot is that awesome. It’s just a fun place to go. Mystery Spot is a “gravitation anomaly.” It’s debated that it is an optical illusion, but nevertheless, it’s a great photo op and located in gorgeously green Santa Cruz. Bring food. Reserve your spot online beforehand. This place sells out often.
Swanton Berry Farm (near Santa Cruz, but in Davenport)
You can make an entire day out of visiting this area. You can hike in Big Basin and then it is roughly a fifteen minute drive to Swanton Berry Farm, where you can eat your packed lunch at their picnic tables and enjoy fresh berries, jam, pies, etc. at the farm. If you’re willing to drive a bit further (25 minutes) and go into Santa Cruz, Betty’s Burgers is a fan favorite and there are a lot of other great places to eat at.
Elephant seals are awesome. They’re big, squishy, loud, and ever so slightly terrifying. Still, they’re cute and fun to observe. This time of year (February to March) is the prime time to see the elephant seals in Big Sur. The babies are weaning and prepping to venture out on their own, so they are more active and playful. Even if it is February or March, it is fun to see the seals in all of their lazy glory.
There you have it! I know Dustin (Chelsie’s awesome hubby) is a Northern Californian, so I’m sure he could add to this list. However, I am curious: what are some other places that you have been in Northern California and feel like need to be on this list? Comment below or on social media!