First question is… what the hell is a “Toucal”?? Well, it’s a new word I just made up to describe someone who isn’t exactly a run of the mill tourist, but isn’t a certified local either. This person could either have lived in a place before and is fairly familiar with it but hasn’t been back in awhile to visit, or they could have just visited so many times that they have out grown all of the standard tourist traps. Either way, you get the gist of what a Toucal is, right?
So Let’s discuss what a Toucal should do in San Francisco that goes beyond the standard tourist attractions. This is the predicament I found myself in the last time I was in the Bay Area. since I’ve had the chance to do some of the most popular sights…. Chinatown… Japanese Tea Garden and Golden Gate Park, Ferry Building.. etc. (Read some more about them on my blog!) So, what else can I do in the actual city of San Francisco? After I put my thinking cap on, I came up with a few ideas.
Palace of Fine Arts
Now, for starters, This place (as seen above) is gorgeous. I know many people visit this place since it is one of the most photographed wedding locations in the country. However, I myself have not been here in YEARS. It used to be the home of the Exploritorium, before the Exploritorium moved to the Embarcadero. The Palace of Fine Arts is built around an artificial lagoon which helps add to the picture perfect quality. It’s a destination where you can stop by for a quick 20 minutes of photo taking or stay in a nearby grass field for a few hours and relax. Best part about this attraction is that it is FREE! It’s just such a beautiful area that doesn’t always make it to the top of the typical San Francisco bucket list.
Boat Ride in the San Francisco Bay
I have looked out over the San Francisco Bay more times than I can count and I have been on a ferry going to Alcatraz or to Sausalito a handful of times but I have never really experienced a true boat ride in the bay. Near Fisherman’s Wharf you can catch a boat ride for $15 a person. The ride lasts about an hour and takes you past Alcatraz and actually UNDER the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge. You can sit in the small inside portion or you can get soaked and stand on the outside. I highly recommend you stand outside and let the salt water wash over you, because that is part of the fun and the difference between a ferry ride and a real boat ride. The $15 is totally worth the cost of the fun involved and the photo opportunities you can take that you are unable to achieve from land or ferry.
Located south of Golden Gate Park, on the western side of the city, you can find the Mosaic Stairs at the intersection of Morga St. and 16th St. Now, it is just as it sounds. A public set of stairs that has been covered in mosaic tiles to create a truly beautiful work of art. I love this location because there aren’t too many people around which gave me the opportunity to take as many pictures as I would like. It’s also a prime location to get a mini workout in because climbing the stairs a few times can really get the blood pumping. Bonus factor about this sight is that at the top of the stairs, just a few feet away is a short trail that leads to Grand View Park where you get a spectacular view of the surrounding area. To be fair, it isn’t as panoramic as Twin Peaks, but chances are you won’t have to fight the crowd and it can just be you and your thoughts at Grand View.
This is the one thing that never gets old! FOOD. San Francisco has a plethora of delicious snacks and bites waiting for people to find and devour. No matter how many times I seem to travel to San Francisco, I never completely hit all the marks on my “Must Eat” list. My most recent food of choice was at Sotto Mare which is a location that has been on my list for years but I only just tried. See what I mean? There is always a new food adventure. San Francisco will always have excellent food choices for locals, tourist and toucals to try so this will always be on my list.
So tell me, what are some of your favorite things to do in San Francisco? Anything to add to the list for a San Francisco Toucal like myself? Let me know! I’m sure I will find myself in the area again soon.