Getting married at SF City Hall is always a magical experience, but it’s also a bit like walking through a labyrinth with the goal being to come out on the other side as newlyweds. The whole process of getting the license, checking in and then waiting with two other couples for your turn with the marriage officiant can be confusing at best and overwhelming at worst. Now if you decide to have your wedding between Thanksgiving week and the first week of January, here’s a few things you should know to help you have an effortless experience.
The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project
The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project is located between 16th and Moraga in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood.A secret, hidden staircase showcases 163 bird, fish, shell and animal mosaic tile panels that run up the risers. The tiles form to create a gorgeous, blue seas to sun yellows to a twinkling star mosaics.
The tiles were lovingly handmade by over 220 neighbors in community workshops to pay homage to loved ones, unite neighbors and to beautify Golden Gate Heights.
The gardens on the sides of the stairway are a mix of native California plants in support of a butterfly restoration effort. The Hidden Staircase is perfect for a quick and quirky site-seeing trip during your honeymoon in San Francisco, not to mention it’s a great place to get your selfie stick out and wow your friends back home with your photos!
The Wave Organ
Built in 1986 in collaboration with the Exploratorium, artist Peter Richards created a wind pipe organ that “plays” music by the sea. Sitting on a jetty that forms in the San Francisco Bay, the organ is made of carved granite and marble from a demolished cemetery and 25 PVC and concrete pipes.The sound of the sea playing the organ happens when ocean waves hit the ends of the pipe. Different sounds are heard as the water moves in and out of the pipes.
Sound is created by the impact of waves against the pipe ends and the subsequent movement of the water in and out of the pipes. Visit this peaceful place and listen to the tides while snuggling up with your sweetie and breathing in the fresh sea air. Best music is heard during high tide.
The Labyrinth at Lands End – “Peace, love and enlightenment.”*
Pack a romantic champagne picnic brunch for two and hike on over to Land’s End Labyrinth at Eagle’s Point, a gorgeous shoreline trail and park that is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.Created by local artist Eduardo Aguilera, it is a stone outline of rocks in the classic labyrinth style. You have to see it to believe it! Getting “lost” in the labyrinth could definitely be a bonding experience.
The Lands End Lookout, is a Visitor Center that houses a cafe and gift shop. It is located at 680 Point Lobos Avenue, San Francisco. Restrooms are available. Open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
No one is exactly sure when the wild caught and then freed cherry-headed Conures from South America moved into the winding Filbert steps of Telegraph Hill. It is believed the flock began in 1990, it and continued to grow to over 200. Surrounded by gorgeous gardens planted by the residents, the birds nest high in the trees.The stairs of Telegraph Hill are best accessed at the top from Filbert and Kearny, or from Telegraph Hill Boulevard. The parrots can also be seen flying through out the city and they love to gather at the Ferry Building area to the east side of the Presidio.
Another area to view the birds is Upper Fort Mason, near the Golden Gate National Recreation Area headquarters. Please do not feed the birds, it’s illegal.
I was lucky enough to see the flock once at the top Twin Peaks, and they were breathtaking.
San Francisco’s Cable Car Museum
Fascinated by the famous San Francisco cable cars? Head down to the Museum located at 1201 Mason Street, the city’s cable car system.See the cables constantly turn by a giant spinning sheave to move the cars. They are continuously moving the huge loops of cable running under Hyde, Mason, California and Powell streets.
View the historic Exhibits show the history of both cable and streetcar systems in the city, along with full sized cars and model cars.
And after that, make sure you take the time to actually line up and take a ride. My favorite journey starts at the Cable Car stop across the street from the Westin St. Francis Hotel at Union Square. (Only tourists who aren’t in the know line up on Market St, and it’s not as safe of a location) This car will take you to the Buena Vista Café opened in1916, home of the world’s best Irish Coffee. Their address is 2765 Hyde St, San Francisco, Ca. 94109, and you hop on the Powell and Hyde Cable car whose route terminates just at their front door. SO romantic! From there you walk a few blocks to Ghirardelli Square, home of the famous Chocolate. All in all, this could be a perfect couple’s day.
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park is over 1,000 romantic acres with more than 13 million visitors each year. Master gardener John McLaren and park engineer William Hammond Hall created a gorgeous lush park, filled with various types of native California plants.The Golden Gate Park is home to many native gardens, playgrounds, hiking trails and monuments. The Park has several public entertainment spaces, cultural venues, and a wide array events and activities. I just checked online, and one of my favorite attractions is coming back for a third year.
It’s simply called Flower Piano, and you will not believe your eyes. Twelve grand pianos are strategically placed in picturesque, quirky and dramatic locations. They are literally strewn all over the 55 acre Botanical Garden, located at 1199 9th Ave, San Francisco, Ca. 94122 if you are typing it into your GPS. There is a small fee to enter; I paid $8 last year. This was a bargain for what you get. There are featured performances by thirty local artists, and in between the public can just walk up to these pianos, sit down and play! So if your mom made you take piano lessons, this is a great time to serenade your new spouse in a truly magical setting. Definitely bring a picnic and check the park website for rules on what you can and can’t bring in, or can call them at 1-415-661-1316. Don’t worry about bringing dessert though; the frozen custard truck was on premise, and also not to be missed.
The Park is open from 5:00 am to 12:00 am. Be sure to pick up a map at the Park – you don’t want to miss any of the action!
San Francisco 2017 is going to host a year-long celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love.
Take a magical two-hour psychedelic bus trip through San Francisco 1960’s style.Blow bubbles, listen to groovy tunes and watch the painted bus turn into a moving theater full of moving images and theatrics.
Magic Bus Meeting Place: Union Square, 208 Geary Street side of the Square, across from Macy’s in San Francisco. Check out their video.
PEZ Museum and lots more!
With over 1,000 PEZ containers and characters, the Pez Museum offers something for everyone. The now infamous PEZ have been in production since 1950 in Burlingame.The PEZ Museum also offers these Toy Museums:
- The Classic Toy Museum – visit the most popluar toys of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Original toys on display include: Mr. Potato Head, Erector Sets, Slinkys, Frisbee, View-Masters, Play-Doh and Easy Bake Oven. Just imagine the fun you could have, feeding each other Pez flavors all week….not exactly nine and a half weeks, but still playful and fun.
- The Banned Toy Museum – These toys have been removed from the shelve for being dangerous or politically incorrect: the Atomic Energy Laboratory, Lawn Darts and the “potty mouth” talking Po doll. I haven’t been to this one personally, but I think I’ll plan a trip.
- LEGO Mini figures – with over 1200 mini-figures, this exhibit was added in 2015.
- Ray Gun Museum – celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Ray Gun. Bring your x-ray specs!
Yoda Statue and Star Wars Artifacts
A 26″ life-sized Yoda bronze statue guards the entrance to Lucasfilms Headquarters. Visitors are allowed in to the lobby to see Darth Vader and Star Wars artifacts.Yoda is located at the southeast corner of the Letterman Digital Arts Center, which is located at One Letterman Dr. Bldg B, San Francisco, Ca. 94129.
Lyon Street Steps
Lyon Street runs north and south along the east side of the Presidio. The portion between Broadway St and Vallejo St is the Lyon Street StepsHailed as one of the best places in the world the Lyon Street Steps is must-see on your honeymoon in San Francisco.
At the top of the Steps you can see San Francisco Bay, the Presidio forest and Pacific Heights mansions. And then you can get out your seflie stick again, and take that kissing shot of the two of you!
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