SAN FRANCISCO, April 5, 2012 – Spring is certainly in the air. The rains have cleared, the skies are blue, the grass is green and the fragrant flowers are in bloom. That means it’s April in San Francisco. April is a wonderful time to be in San Francisco. It is before the fog rolls in, ruining our summer, and after the rains of winter. The temperature is a perfect 60 degrees by day and in the 40-50s by night.
Easter seems to kick off the spring season. You don’t need to be religious to appreciate what the Bay Area has to offer for this springtime holiday. From brunch and street parties to wine and spring skiing, this can be your Springtime In San Francisco Guide.
San Franciscans love brunch. As a result, there are seemingly endless choices for nearly every palate. Here is a short list of a few favorites. At most of these restaurants reservations are required, so be sure to call in advance. Insider tip: if you don’t mind celebrating Easter a day early, the crowds will be far fewer on Saturday (for those restaurants that are open for brunch on Saturdays).
- TwentyFive Lusk: SOMA, San Francisco, 11am-2pm brunch on Sundays
- Town Hall: SOMA, San Francisco, 10:30am-2:30pm brunch offered on Saturdays and Sundays (has outdoor seating)
- Foreign Cinema: Mission, San Francisco, 11am-3pm brunch on Saturdays and Sundays (has outdoor seating, definitely need reservations)
- Ella’s: Laurel Village, San Francisco, 8:30am-3pm brunch on Saturdays and Sundays (note, they do not take reservations for brunch, get there early)
- Baker Street Bistro: Cow Hollow, San Francisco, 9am-2:30pm brunch on Saturdays and Sundays (has outdoor seating)
- Zazie: Cole Valley, San Francisco, 9am-3pm brunch on Saturdays and Sundays (has outdoor seating)
- Kate’s Kitchen: Lower Haight, San Francisco, breakfast served all day (cash only and the food is a steal!)
- Harvey’s: Castro, San Francisco, brunch served everyday until 3pm (careful of their alcoholic drinks, they’ll sneak up on you)
SPRING & EASTER CELEBRATIONS
- Union Street Spring Celebration & Easter Parade: Union Street, Gough to Fillmore, San Francisco
- San Francisco Spring Eggstravaganza: Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park, 11am-3pm, various events from egg hunts to carnival rides and arts and crafts
- California Academy of Sciences Nightlife: April 5, 12 and 26, you can “Spring into Spring” with a night filled with drinks, music and activities (these are 21+ events)
- Friday Nights at the DeYoung: every Friday night from March 30-November 23, enjoy a mix of live music, dance, film, discussions, art, exhibitions tours and activities. These are not-to-be-missed free events
STOP & SMELL THE FLOWERS
- Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden in Golden Gate Park: the tulips are in full bloom and magnificent, a perfect match for the Dutch Windmills overlooking the garden
- Conservatory of Flowers: Golden Gate Park, one of the oldest buildings in Golden Gate Park, get transported back in time in this magical botanical haven
- San Francisco Botanical Garden: Golden Gate Park, the scene of a bold variety of colors, scents and shapes in 55 acres of land taking the form of plants, trees, flowers and nature
- Garden of Shakespeare’s Flowers: Golden Gate Park, the garden’s theme is after the plants and flowers mentioned within the works of William Shakespeare
WINE TASTING – April is Earth Month in California
- Passport to Dry Creek Valley 2-day event, April 28-29, 50 wineries are participating throughout Dry Creek Valley, each is a unique destination, offering food pairings and entertainment
- Earth Day wine celebrations are everywhere. Here are a few that look particularly interesting: Benziger (April 21) and Rodney Strong (April 21).
- Concannon Vineyard Gatekeeper’s Spring Release 2-day open house event, April 14-15 & Born to Rhone Memorial Day weekend 2-day event
- Thomas Coyne Winery Spring Open House, May 26, 27, 28
- Livermore Valley Wine Auction held at Wente Vineyards, May 5
- Robert Sinskey, an absolutely delightful Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. They also offer a delectable farm-to-table food pairing experience, complete with picturesque views (be sure to book the food pairing in advance). Head there May 5-6 for their RSV First Weekend event for the official release of the 2011 Pinot Blanc.
- HALL Cabernet Cookoff, April 28, benefiting Napa Valley charities, features food, wine, music and local chefs
- Organic Wine Trail of the Santa Cruz Mountains: Earth Day Celebration, April 21. This event is perfect for those wine lovers that want to learn more about sustainable and organic wine practices, as well as taste the wines in the Santa Cruz Mountain region.
GET OUT OF TOWN
Everyone loves a weekend excursion, and spring and Easter are two fabulous reasons to get out of town and enjoy what Northern California has to offer.
- Lake Tahoe: Having grown up in Chicago, I’m not one for enjoying the cold, one of the reasons I moved to California. But Lake Tahoe in spring is the best of both worlds. The good parts of winter, without the extreme cold. Great skiing as well as accommodations with high-end restaurants, relaxing spas and shopping can be found at Squaw Valley.
Not being a skier myself, I look for a place where I can get a massage, do a little shopping, and enjoy a nice glass of wine while taking in the breathtaking Tahoe scenery atop a mountain. At Squaw, take the gondola ride up to the High Camp for some of the best views in Tahoe. Additional Tahoe faves for skiing include Kirkwood, Northstar, SugarBowl and Heavenly Valley (note: Heavenly is the larger of these choices and will offer more in terms of activities beyond skiing, as it overlooks South Lake Tahoe).
- San Jose: This gem of a city often gets overlooked, especially when thinking about getting away for the weekend. San Jose is rich with history, culture, cuisine, relaxation and entertainment. While you are there, check out Ballet San Jose. They are about to kick off their “Program of Premieres” season. Insider tip: check out Hotel Valencia, Santana Row’s Easter package getaway and the Fairmont San Jose’s Easter 2012 calendar (of particular interest is their bottomless glass champagne brunch)
Holidays are wonderful because they are a gentle reminder to appreciate all that you have and others that are in need. Whether it is the environment, your community, animals or people, here are some wonderful ways to help others this spring:
- COMMUNITY/ENVIRONMENT: Strawberry Hill Volunteer Work Day at Stow Lake, Golden Gate Park, April 14. Take time to volunteer with the SF Parks Alliance and Rec. and Park Dept. to help restore the butterfly habitat at Strawberry Hill (call 415.621.3260 ext. 101 if interested).
- PEOPLE: Glide, Glide feeds 3,000 people a day. You can help by donating your time or money. Glide will also host Easter celebrations at 7, 9 and 11am, as well as an Easter Egg Hunt in Yerba Buena Gardens from 10am-1pm.
- ANIMALS: SF SPCA, help improve the lives of pets by either providing a home, volunteering, or donating to support the cause. Volunteer programs range from young kids to junior volunteers to high school and the larger community and corporate sponsors. There is something with which people at every age can help.
Not sure how you can help? Visit the Bay Area Volunteer Information Center, the Volunteer Center, or Volunteer Match to find something for which you have a passion. There are plenty of upcoming Easter and Earth Day activities to get you started.
Columnist Sherrie Perkovich offers an insider’s perspective of the very best San Francisco has to offer. Join her weekly to experience the best the City by the Bay has to offer - from parties to parks and everything in between.
Sherrie is a San Francisco local that fancies herself an extroverted fine dining, wine drinking, know-it-all. If it’s happening in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sherrie is in on it. Follow her column, for the widest range of Out and About San Francisco treats.
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