Monday, June 1, 2015

SF Ferry Building

I was having a conversation with a friend a while back, and we were marveling at how sometimes the simplest trips can be the most rewarding. Case in point, our recent trip to the SF Ferry Building was just that...simple, easy and enjoyable for everyone. We started the day off by exploring the Ferry Building and enjoying samples from the amazing selection of vendors, followed by lunch with views of the Bay and capped off with a nice walk along the waterfront. Sounds pretty nice, right?

The quickest way to get to the Embarcadero from the East Bay is to hop on BART, which is always a huge hit with the kids. They love watching from the window as everything flies by below the tracks. It almost makes me wish I could bring them on my morning commute! Kids 4 and under are free, and youth tickets are heavily discounted, making it an even better option! On the walk from the BART station to the Ferry Building, you will pass through Justin Herman plaza. There are plenty of shops and restaurants along with some fun art installations that the kids can climb on and the Vaillancourt Fountain that has a series of stepping posts that allow you to walk behind the water fall. The massive concrete fountain is regarded by some as one of the ugliest landmarks in San Francisco, but regardless of it's aesthetic value, it's a fun place to explore when the water is running.

I had to capture a picture of the kids climbing in this art piece because I did the EXACT same thing almost 30 years ago :)
After you pass through the plaza you will find yourself at the Ferry Building! I am way behind the times here, because the last time I had been to the Ferry Building, it was just that...a ferry building. There were no shops, and nothing of interest. In 2003, an extensive 4 year renovation was completed, restoring the life back to the building and making it home to a really beautiful selection of local artisans and food purveyors. The caliber of the shops in the marketplace is really exceptional, and a great representation of what the Bay Area has to offer.

A signature technique, ensuring that every drop of ice cream is consumed.
In addition to the beautiful architecture inside the building, the views from behind the building are also a treat for the eyes. We had great views of the incoming ferry boats along with Treasure Island, the Bay Bridge and the East Bay hills in the distance. We had a light lunch of sandwiches we picked up at Acme Bread Co. and ice cream from Humphry Slocombe. While you really can't go wrong with your food selection, Cowgirl Sidekick($) and The Slanted Door($$$) are also great options.

After exploring the Ferry Building, the city is really at your fingertips as far as what you choose to do next. We took a walk along the waterfront (heading towards the Bay Bridge), before cutting up Folsom to the Yerba Buena Gardens.

Yerba Buena Gardens

What are your favorite "simple trips" in the Bay Area?

Details: The Embarcadero BART station is about a 20 minute train ride from Berkeley. Another fun option would be to take the Ferry from Marin or one of the East Bay terminals. The Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market takes place every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. It can draw some large crowds on Saturday's, so if you are travelling with young kids, it might be easier to maneuver  when the market is not in session.

Cost: Check BART for ticket prices. Sandwiches at Acme: $6/each, Ice Cream: $4

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