I’m no ordinary tax & bankruptcy attorney: I like doing off-beat things, especially in the Bay Area (which is kind of an off-beat capital), where I’m spending more time these days. After all, my Head Paralegal is a tuxedo cat named Sebastian. With his own Instagram account. And a bio on my “Team” page. Quirky, no? Which isn’t to say that I don’t like a lot of the well-known, much-visited standards –  restaurants like Chez Panisse, museums like the San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts, neighborhoods like Fisherman’s Wharf, and attractions like Alcatraz. I do. But I also love mixing it up and seeing and learning about things far outside of my daily routine. How lucky Sebastian and I are to live in a state with so much variety!

So, here’s Sebastian and my lesser-known, or under-appreciated, favorite things to do in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Sutro Baths, San Francisco

The ruins of the Sutro Baths, on northwest corner of the city, are beautifully situated and fascinating. In addition to seeing the baths, I love the walk around this park and the stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge it affords.

16th Avenue Tiled Stairs

Not far from the Sutra Baths are the remarkable tiled stairs at 16th Avenue (pictured above), nestled in a charming neighborhood. The stairs are worth climbing, both to look at the crazy variety of tiles that cover them and also for the spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean from the top of the stairs. Nearby, in Golden Gate Park, are two windmills, which are worth a quick stop if you’ve got the time. Fascinating.

Haas-Lilienthal House

San Francisco is chock full of stunning Victorian architecture, so seeing how an affluent Victorian family lived at the turn of the century is a treat. The Haas-Lilienthal house is still furnished as it was when the family lived here.

Oakland Museum of California History

Anyone who knows me know what a huge California history buff I am. I may have grown up in New York, but I chose to be a Californian. The Oakland Museum of California history has the best overview of this state’s history that I’ve seen. I absolutely love it. 

Tilden Park/Inspiration Point in Berkeley

The Bay Area is full of magnificent and well-known parks: Golden Gate, Stinson Beach, Mount Tam, Muir Woods — all of which are glorious and should be visited. But if you haven’t been to Tilden Park in Berkeley, then you’re missing out. I especially love the trail at Inspiration Point and swimming at Lake Anza. The park was a favorite haunt of mine when I was in grad school at Berkeley and remains one to this day.

Bull Valley Roadhouse in Port Costa

This quirky restaurant, housed in an 19th century salon/hotel, seems not to have changed much from the days when it fed and watered the men working on the massive grain ferries of the Central Pacific Railroad in this port town on the Carquinez Strait near Crockett and Benicia. The Roadhouse has great music and wickedly tasty and inventive cocktails. Definitely worth the drive. 

Rosie the Riveter Museum at Point Richmond

This small museum sits in the heart of what was America’s ship-building capital during WWII . If you haven’t been, you’re missing a “riveting” overview of one neighborhood’s contribution to the American war effort in the 1940s. There’s a great Colombia outlet a few blocks away, too.

If you’re wandering around the Bay Area and have a bit of time, check to see if I’m in my Oakland office at Jack London Square, and stop by to say hello.

July 21, 2023

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