Seven Surprises I Discovered on My Last Trip to the San Francisco Bay Area

Aer Lingus plane landing at San Francisco Airport
The San Francisco Bay Area never ceases to surprise me. I used to live in the glorious "City by the Bay" for a total of eight years. Even though I moved away to Dublin (Dublin, Ireland not Dublin in the East Bay :-)) seven years ago, I'm lucky that I get to come back and visit San Francisco a few times a year.  Even though I visit the Bay Area frequently, I still remain surprised at everything that SF and the surrounding area has to offer. Read on for seven surprises that I discovered on my last trip to San Francisco in January.

You Can Go Birding at the San Francisco Airport

Flock of birds on the San Francisco Bay
On this particular trip, my husband and I took different flights scheduled to land about two hours apart. I arrived first and set-up camp at Bayfront Park in Millbrae to wait for his plane and do a bit of birdwatching. Who knew that you could go birdwatching at the San Francisco airport!

East Bay Children's Birthday Parties Can Be Fun for Adults Too

Video games at High Scores arcade in Alameda, California
My nephew turned 8 years old when we visited and we had the honor of tagging along to his birthday party in Alameda. Turns out that children's birthday parties involving Old School video games and ice cream are even awesome for adults. We enjoyed video game classics like Rampage and Paperboy at High Scores Arcade and ice cream at Tucker's classic ice cream shop in the East Bay.

Ice cream cone from Tuckers Ice Cream shop in Alameda

You Can Achieve Coffee Bliss in Redwood City

Cappuccino from Bliss Coffee in Redwood City, California
We generally find that the coffee is better in Dublin than it is in the Bay Area. We were surprised to find that humble Redwood City on the peninsula has serious cred when it comes to coffee. We enjoyed a perfectly crafted cuppa at Bliss Coffee

You Can Get Great Views By Climbing the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps in San Francisco

16th Avenue Tiled Steps in San Francisco
In the city itself, we even discovered an attraction we'd never been to before with the help of Google Maps. The 16th Ave tiled steps are worth the climb for panoramic vistas over San Francisco from the Bay all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
View of Twin Peaks from the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps in San Francisco
Pacific ocean and Outer Richmond viewed from the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps in San Francisco
View of downtown San Francisco and North Beach from the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps in San Francisco

There is a Margarita Named After Me in Mountain View

Dr. J on the margarita menu at Fiesta del Mar Too
Back in the South Bay, I discovered that there is a margarita named after me at Fiesta del Mar Too in downtown Mountain View. That's the ultimate honor given how much I love a good margie.

Birds of Prey on the Bay Aren't Easily Spooked 

Hawk on the San Francisco Bay in Mountain View, California
Whenever I visit the San Francisco Bay Area, I always make time for a walk along the bay near Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View. On this trip, I was walking on the trail when I suddenly felt eyes on me. Looking over into the grass at the side of the trail, I was shocked to see a beautiful hawk looking me over. I must have stood there for ten minutes taking pictures and never once did the hawk get skittish and fly away. What an amazing surprise!
Hawk on the San Francisco Bay in Mountain View, California

The San Francisco Bay Area Can Be As Green As Ireland When It Rains

Shoreline Amphitheatre viewed beyond green grass in Mountain View, California
California generally and the Bay Area in particular have been in a drought situation for some time. All that changed this winter with some proper rainfall. I soon learned that the San Francisco Bay Area can be as green as Ireland when a bit of rain falls.
East Bay hills with cloud cover viewed across the San Francisco Bay
I love when you can visit a place again and again and still discover new surprises. I'm excited to find out what my next trip to the San Francisco Bay Area has in store for me. I'm writing this post as I'm about to board a flight from London to San Francisco :-)

What has surprised you the most about San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area? Why not leave a comment below!

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San Francisco Bay Area Surprises including birds of prey, the 16th avenue tiled steps, birding at the airport, and green fields in Mountain View

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Seven Surprises I Discovered on My Last Trip to the San Francisco Bay Area
Seven Surprises I Discovered on My Last Trip to the San Francisco Bay Area
Discover new things to see and do in the San Francisco Bay Area. A photo-rich post by travel blogger, Jennifer (aka Dr. J) from Sidewalk Safari.
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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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