Whiffs of city’s natural glory, best place to people-watch

Faves and raves by Brenda Riolo (Click on the picture to see Brenda's faves)


Age: Still counting

Years in The City: 20

Neighborhood: Outer Richmond

Occupation: Health care analyst and wannabe writer

Self-Description: Pearl-wearing downtown cube-farm inhabitant by day, explorer of consciousness and writer by night and on weekends


Walking Along Baker Beach

WHERE: Bowley Street at Gibson Road

WHAT: Half-mile-long public beach on the northwest edge of San Francisco

INFO: www.parksconservancy.org/visit/park-sites/baker-beach.html

I love walking along Baker Beach in the early morning. You can see the mouth of the Bay, the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge in the morning light. Sometimes there are even dolphins and seals swimming offshore.


Rose Garden in Golden Gate Park

WHERE: Between Park Presidio Boulevard and John F. Kennedy Drive

WHAT: A place to literally stop and smell the roses

INFO: www.golden-gate-park.com/rose-garden.html

When the roses are in bloom during our foggy summer, the Rose Garden is an oasis of color, beauty and calmness. When I smell a rose, I feel like I am stealing the flower’s soul and the sense memory becomes a permanent part of my soul.


Tower at the de Young Museum

WHERE: John F. Kennedy at Hagiwara Tea Garden drives

WHAT: 144-foot tower with panoramic views of S.F.

INFO: (415) 750-3600 or deyoung.famsf.org

On a clear day, you can see the neighborhoods surrounding the museum and downtown and the East Bay and Marin as well. Great place to bring out-of-town guests for the view and to see great art exhibits as well.


California Academy of Sciences

WHERE: John F. Kennedy at Hagiwara Tea Garden drives, in Golden Gate Park

WHAT: A wonderful place to hang out and de-stress on the weekends

INFO: (415) 379-8000 or www.calacademy.org

The membership is worth it to skip the lines and visit every weekend. The aquarium, the Amazon rainforest filled with butterflies, the cafe and those crazy penguins — every visit is a pleasure and adventure. Thursday nights are great for enjoying the exhibits with a drink and no kids in sight.


Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

WHERE: 760 Howard St., between Third and Fourth streets

Free musical, theater and dance concerts

INFO: (415) 543-1718 or www.ybgf.org

The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival offers free musical, theater and dance concerts from May through October. It’s a great way to spend a sunny summer Saturday. The lively music makes people dance and everyone has a great time. And it’s San Francisco, so dancing by yourself is highly encouraged.


Whole Foods Market

WHERE: 1765 California St. at Franklin Street

WHAT: A plethora of natural and organic products

INFO: (415) 674-0500 or www.wholefoodsmarket.com

They label where the produce is grown, so buying organic and locally grown is easy. I can find everything I need, so shopping is easier and fun with a great musical soundtrack. Plus I am always running into people I know, which makes me forget I live in a big city.


Westfield San Francisco Centre

WHERE: 865 Market St. at Fifth Street

WHAT: A diverse cross section of humanity

INFO: (415) 512-6776 or www.westfield.com

A great place to sit and people-watch. Hang out in the food court and discreetly observe your fellow shoppers at play. The Straits restaurant is also a fun place to hang at night in a window seat with a glass of wine and some yummy appetizers.



WHERE: 550 Wisconsin St. at 19th Street

WHAT: Transcendental Ayurvedic classes and treatments

INFO: (415) 206-9920 or www.omspring.org

Suteja is a gifted healer and teacher, and a one-stop shop for all that ails your body, mind, heart and soul. If you’ve seen everyone and still suffer, give her a call. Her classes are great because she explains complex, esoteric theories so you can actually understand them.

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