If you’ve spent your first decade in the Bay Area, there are a handful of things you must do before you blow out those ten candles in order to be considered a true NorCal kid. We’ve rounded them up for you, from eating Indian food to playing ancient arcade games at the Wharf. How many have you already checked off?
Photo: Woodleywonderworks via Flickr
2. Jump on your bike. Don’t bother with the lycra, just stabilize with training wheels (if necessary) and put your foot down.
3. Go to the Cable Car Museum and look in the heart and belly of this feat of San Franciscan engineering.
6. Set off for a gold panning adventure within a few hours of the Bay Area. If you can’t make it to Gold Country you can still step back in time and see nuggets the size of gobstoppers on display in Berkeley and San Francisco.
7. Dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean.
10. Hear the sound of a Wave Organ.
13. Catch some live music.
photo credit: Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band
14. See the Golden Fire Hydrant, credited with saving the Mission District from the fire that followed the 1906 earthquake. Then head over to fabulous Mission Dolores playground, grab a bite and take a look at the famous murals in this vibrant neighborhood.
15. Play 100-year old arcade games at the Musée Mécanique. Don’t forget your quarters!
16. Climb aboard the historic ships at San Francisco’s Hyde Street Pier.
18. Do a fun run. A great way to explore a new ‘hood.
19. Stack stones at Crissy Field.
21. Spend the night at a museum. Unroll your sleeping bag for the ultimate slumber party!
23. Visit Mrs Grossman’s sticker factory in Petaluma.
Photo: Yinghai via Flickr
26. Get out to a ballgame.
27. Walk or bike across the Golden Gate Bridge.
30. Eat sourdough bread, then see how it’s made.
32. Visit the San Francisco zoo and get up close and personal with some furry friends!
33. See the fog roll in. If you want to feel it too, the Exploratorium has a Fog Bridge installation mocking it up for those who need yet more summer gloom.
34. Watch an outdoor movie. Stretch bedtime and settle in under the stars for family film nights with your favorite movie characters.
photo credit: Pizzaiolo
36. Fly a Kite.
37. Visit a Lighthouse. Point Bonita is within a few miles of San Francisco. Further afield is Point Pinos in Pacific Grove, or Point Santa Cruz – home to the first ever surf museum. Or go one better and stay the night at one of the oldest nightlights on the west coast, Pigeon Post near Pescadero.
38. Watch elephant seals at Ano Nuevo State Park.
Photo: Chabot Science Center
40. Watch for whales.
41. Watch the Blue Angels’ dare-devil maneuvers in the skies above the bay during Fleet Week celebrations. A Bay Area tradition for 34 years.
43. See the monarch butterflies when they overwinter in Pacific Grove. October to February, the kings and queens of the butterfly world arrive by the thousands. If that’s too far to go, check out these other Bay Area butterfly sanctuaries.
44. Take a spin on a carousel.
46. Build a sandcastle. Go one better and enter a castle building competition.
47. Eat sushi, saag or carne asada—prove your kiddie foodie cred at one of the Bay’s great international restaurants.
48. Take a road trip.
49. Visit 826 Valencia for pirate gear and story telling.
50. Go behind bars at Alcatraz.
Can you add to the list? Let us know what you’ve tried, tested, tasted or traversed in the comments below.
Photos are the author’s unless otherwise credited.