On our third day in San Francisco, we winged it a bit more. I love food, and Baby J loves to run around and play, so since this is a city full of green grass, fresh air, and is also a foodie’s delight, we spent the day alternating between eating and playing. Then playing and eating. Not too bad for a vacation, am I right?
I’d made a loose list of things we could do, and wanted to do, around the city, and we sort of picked what made sense as we went along. So we started the day by heading to the Mission district, which I’d heard had some funky street art and good food, plus a park with a great view. We wandered for awhile and spotted some cool murals on the street. I’d hoped to find a great bakery to indulge a pastry craving, but no luck, so we went ahead to the Mission Dolores Park.
There was construction in the front, and then a big green field but there were a ton of off leash dogs running around so we tried to stick to the play area. It was just teeming with kids though, and mostly school aged ones (the age where they’re too young to look out for littler kids but old enough that they run fast and whip around the play structures). We still had a good time and Baby J was able to run around, but the view was obscured by clouds, so we didn’t really get the good, far out look at the city line we were hoping for. The Mission district itself was really fun to walk around and check out though.
Our next stop was the ferry marketplace building. We lucked out with a close spot on the street and headed over to take a look at the farmer’s market that sets up on Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. We weren’t sure if we wanted food from the stalls so we took a browse around outside, and then inside where there were all kinds of neat food stops. I saw everything from organic vegan donuts to salted pig parts (the name of the shop!). Baby J passed out in his stroller while in typical us fashion, we wandered around the wharf looking for the Hog Island Oyster restaurant, walking and walking and making a full circle to find it back where we started, near the marketplace. We decided to hop into line and have a nice, long lunch, just adults.
Tyler got a dozen local oysters (which he loves) plus some pork sliders, and I decided to try the freshly caught half-crab along with a salad. I love crab and always forget until it arrives to the table that I don’t *really* know how to properly crack it open. I figured though, that as long as I was getting the meat into my mouth, the awkward flying shell bits and greasy fingers didn’t really matter. Right? Everything was fantastic, including the bread (we got extra). Great smells, and the rustle and clatter of silverware, plus a view of the bay bridge added up to the perfect ambiance.
Once Baby J woke up, we let him chase the seagulls on the docks for a bit, observing a few of the massive birds picking leftovers off a discarded plate at an outdoor cafe, before getting some ice cream for dessert. Baby J had a hard time waiting in the line, but it was worth the cups of weirdly unique ice cream – all freshly made with local ingredients – I sampled the Salt and Pepper ice cream and it was so good I thought about getting a scoop. I stuck to a safer choice though, the divine Milk Chocolate Passionfruit, while Tyler chose one called Elvis, The Fat Years. Baby J helped himself to spoonfuls of our ice cream, watching the boats off the bay, and giving a self-satisfied nod after a good scoop made it into his mouth.
Then we drove to the Golden Gate Park again and this time headed right for the playground – probably the best playground we’ve been to this month. There was a carousel, and we were there just in time to snag tickets for the last ride of the day. All three of us went on together, and after putting J on a horse, he indicated clearly that he’d rather ride on a chicken. So, off we clucked as the music rang out.
The park itself was great. There were tons of kids but this time a lot of the older ones were preoccupied with sliding down these massively long metal slides while sitting on cardboard. This left a lot of the easy play equipment for the littler kids, and there were a lot of things to do. Holes to peep through, stone creatures to climb on, sand to play with, and a little spinning cup that made him howl with laughter as he got dizzy with spinning.
I liked going to the park. It felt like a low-key, non-touristy thing to do. There were other families there, kids climbing precariously to the top of a weblike structure, moms sitting in comfy pants talking about their kids sleeping habits, pausing to dole out a snack or call out a warning, and J decided his new favourite way to go down the slides was on his tummy (feet first still, thankfully). We stayed til we were played out and tired, and as we walked up the path towards the park exit, J spotted a homeless man on a bench. “Hi, Ho!” he called out (since Christmas, anyone he sees with a white beard is ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’). The guy called back, “Enjoy the journey!” That we are.
Then we headed home for a steaming hot feast of dumplings, green beans, and noodles from our nearby neighbourhood Dumpling King. A wonderful day of eating and playing!