The blog for inspired travel with children

Monday, August 27, 2012

San Francisco: Dolores Park and the Mission District

During a recent trip to San Francisco, we spent an afternoon in the awfully hip Mission District - lots of great little shops and places to eat, and, despite a great deal of gentrification, still some older places too. My husband was very pleased to see that the burrito joint he frequented during a teenage visit back in the 1980s was still going strong.

We arrived via the 16th Street BART station and walked straight to Bi-Rite Grocery for sandwiches and other picnicky stuff.  Bi-Rite is fashionable and crowded and hectic but is a good source for nice-quality lunch stuff.

For something sweet, I was determined to check out Tartine Bakery, which is just down the street from Bi-Rite. Despite the line (which looked scary-long but moved quickly), I knew this was the right decision as soon as I saw the place - good god, it smelled amazing! I bought some enormous chocolate chip cookies and some petite orange-currant ones (both proved to be delectable). Everything looked amazing.

Then we made out way to Dolores Park.  The park occupies several square blocks and features grassy slopes, scattered palm trees, and a brand-new totally-fun playground. My husband overheard one visitor remark "We came all this way to hang out at the park??" But with children, that's often just what we do. The trick is finding an amazing park like this one, with stunning views, delightful architecture all around, great food spread out on a blanket, and a well-designed play area. We were in heaven!

After getting our fill of playing and lounging and eating, we headed back into the neighborhood and paid a visit to Paxton Gate on Valencia Street. This store is fascinating for child and adult alike with its fanciful collection of taxidermy, pinned insects, fossils, stones, and related exquisite objects.  It is definitely exploring!

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