Living in a big city means constant fun and excitement, but the flip side can mean noise, crowds and overwhelm—especially during the holidays. You may not have the time, money, or inclination to get out of town, but we’ve put together a list of our favorite peaceful places in the city to help you feel like you’ve gotten a little R&R—without leaving the 415 area code.
With its stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge as a backdrop, Baker Beach is a gorgeous, windswept stretch of sand in the Presidio off Pershing Drive. It can get a little chilly out there, especially at this time of year, but bundle up and take the kids on a beach walk to look for shells and rocks—chances are you’ll have the place virtually to yourselves.
Japanese Tea Garden
With the tranquil ponds, delicate bonsai trees and curving bridges and pathways that kids love, the Japanese Tea Garden was originally built as part of a world’s fair that took place in San Francisco in 1894. Since then, it’s become a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle, a place to admire the koi ponds and grab a peaceful cup of green tea in the central pagoda.
The Land’s End Trail
Starting at The Palace of the Legion of Honor, this scenic trail along the edge of California winds past three shipwrecks, and offers excellent views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands. Birds, squirrels and even sea lions and dolphins can be seen in this area, making this peaceful walk a great place for a game of “I Spy” with the kids.
Yerba Buena Gardens
If you’re shopping downtown and need some peace and quiet pronto, steal away to the Yerba Buena Gardens. This unassuming green patch of land along bustling Mission Street is a surprisingly peaceful oasis. The sprawling lawn and the tinkling waterfalls at the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial are a soothing reminder to breathe deep, slow down and be grateful for the beautiful city we live in this holiday season. And click here for a list of more of our favorite public quiet spaces in the Financial District, where SOMA residents and holiday shoppers can find some much needed peace and quiet.
What are some of your favorite places to “get away from it all” in San Francisco? Please let us know in the comments.
Photo Credit: © Steven Moore Photography