• Mare

The Wayfaring Painter: soaking up art (& the fog!) in San Francisco

San Francisco is a city of contradictions, and I'm not just talking about the weather! Everywhere you turn, nature is pressing up against the city. It's sort of surreal to have a booming tech metropolis right on the water, with so much marine life in the bay. Muir Woods, a unique mini-ecosystem full of lush coastal redwoods is just outside of the city. I prefer the wild over the urban, so spending time in the tall trees and ferns of Muir Woods was my favorite part of the trip. Other high points:

• Crawling all over the historic Fort Point, underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, & spotting a pod of whales.

• Spending the day sketching inside of the SFMOMA and getting close to Matisse, Magritte, and Kahlo paintings! • Nabbing an incredible hotel with a corner room looking right down on the cable car line. Those bell dings are so chipper and friendly, I never grew tired of them!

• Taking in the ocean air (& the coffee!) at the Cliff House and Sutro Bath ruins.

• Seeing the Diego Rivero mural in the San Francisco Art Institute.

• SO MUCH DELICIOUS FOOD. Pizza (Golden Boy and Tony's Pizza Napoletana), fish tacos & al pastor (Tropisueño), seafood (Hog Island Oyster Co), Mexican/Korean fusion (Tacorea), and one too many Irish coffees! I ate breakfast at the historic Sear's Restaurant so many times they had my order memorized by the end of the trip!

• The Musée Mécanique full of 20th century penny arcade games. They may be antiques, but they're kept in great condition so you can actually play all of the old games!

• The sailor handicraft, murals, and historic photos at the Maritime Museum, and watching the nearby swimmers & seals in the Aquatic Park.

• The gardens of Lombard Street. Forget the winding road, it's all about the bougainvillea! I saw the greatest morning glory vine of my life and I was mesmerized.

• The glowing fresco murals in Coit Tower, and the story behind the 26 local artists who created them.

• The Trolley Car Museum. Pure heaven for a history nerd like me!

• Listening to the fog horns and watching the Bay Bridge sparkle at twilight.