List 44: Attend the SF Chinese New Year Parade/ Hike Mt. Sutro (#4 and #20)

IMG_2626 Some of the items on my yearly lists come from pretty random sources:

Hike Mt. Sutro #20

In the case of Mt. Sutro, I saw an Instagram photo by a photographer I follow, that instantly had me making a note about it in my planner (even in this big world of technology driven apps and calendars  I will still choose paper over everything else). When I finally went back and checked out the trails and photos online for Mt. Sutro I was sold. It’s like a little forest oasis in the middle of San Francisco. And on some days it looks magical even. The photo I saw on Instagram and what I read on this site had me hoping for a foggy day for this hike but leave it to me to pick a wonderfully sunny day to visit San Francisco (just kidding…who doesn’t love a clear beautiful day in SF). We had some difficulty finding a spot to park initially. If you are looking to hike this park and try to follow Google’s map directions,  it will take you to the heart of the park and there is no parking there. And most of the parking around the park is for UCSF students. The website I linked to has better options for finding parking than the way we did it. We lucked out with a spot right off of Parnassus Ave, just steps away from the park. We cut through the back of the school, up quite a few wooden stairs, winding around different school buildings until we located a trail. The trails themselves are very easy to navigate. After some of the hikes we’ve been doing lately this trail was almost too easy. We did the whole park in just about an hour and a half (3.45 miles).IMG_2611

IMG_2608If you find yourself in the city and want an easy, short hike this definitely fits the bill. This is a good one if you want to take your kids on a hike too. I can see this being a reprieve, of sorts, from the city life. When traffic and people are just too much, you can just take a quick break and hike these trails. Even though it’s right in the middle of the city the trails are quiet and it’s hard to believe there is a whole big city surrounding it.

**We had some time between the hike and the start of the parade so I looked up what  other “must see” place was close by and the Painted Ladies popped up. All the times I’ve been to San Francisco I still hadn’t made it over to see these iconic houses. So on our way to Chinatown we made a quick stop to check them out. Beautiful weather in San Francisco means there are tons of people out and on this day the park was packed with people. One area of the park was so busy you couldn’t walk on that portion of the grass. I’ve never seen anything like it. Nate and I talked about how this was not something you would see in our area. Monterey, for all it’s beauty, is lacking any kind of an interesting social scene that other, bigger cities and towns seem to have. It was cool to finally see these houses in person and I’m happy I can cross that off my list of things to do in San Francisco.

Attend the Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco #4


My (year of the) dragon guy next to a cool dragon

I added this to my list when I turned on the news one evening in 2014. The 2014 parade had happened that day and the news was showing video of the it and I thought it looked like it would be really fun. What I learned from this activity was that I hate parades. I think its funny that I just realized this though, having been in numerous parades back in my marching band days. And I can remember liking them as a child but maybe I was just easily excited by things as a child. 90% of this parade was b o r i n g. I loved the different costumes and the excitement of being in a crowd and all the fireworks and poppers being set off. I loved the long, colorful dragons they carry along the parade.  I loved being in the middle of all that chaos and being near all the other people enjoying the parade. The boring part, the politicians and other folks driving by in cars or walking by is what I discovered is not really my thing. having never been to Chinatown before we wandered around for a bit before the parade started. I was looking for a little trinket to pick up inChinatown and we tracked down the fortune cookie factory for Nate. They make them right in front of you and when you buy a bag they also give you a handful of the unfolded ones, right off the “press”. Warm and buttery and so crisp (I didn’t actually eat any of these but that’s how these smelled). Nate was in cookie heaven! We left a little early from the parade so we would hopefully (ha!) beat the traffic and we learned later that we missed the big, really long dragon that makes an appearance towards the end of the parade.Kind of  a letdown to find that out. Despite that disappointment we both felt it was a fun day.IMG_2652The thing about San Francisco is that even if you spend a day sightseeing there is still SO much more to do up there. I’ve lived here almost 22 years and I still haven’t seen half of what this city has to offer. Looking forward to some more SF adventures this year. There are at least 3 or 4 on my #45list!




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