Calm Guide: San Francisco

June 20 2016

The Bay Area has long been a mecca for those seeking the relaxing alternative lifestyle of San Francisco’s counterculture. The city gained a reputation in the last century, as been a place of free love and elicit substances, but San Francisco has long existed outside the lines of traditional society. Nestled on the edge of a peninsula in scenic Northern California, San Francisco benefits from the confluence of Japanese, Chinese, Mexican and American cultures – a melting pot beneath a layer of fog. We took a look at some our favorite out of the way spots to indulge in a bit of that San Francisco chill.

Chabot Space & Science Center

Long / Lat : 42°04’28.8″N 87°41’03.5″W
Founded : 1953
Travel time from SF: 00:39
Level of Activity: 2.2

Looking up at the night sky, at all the stars and planets and galaxies, inspires a feeling of solace that knows no rival. Perhaps it’s because we gain the perspective that we are part of something much larger than ourselves, maybe it’s the connection we feel with nature and our surroundings. Whatever it is, it’s ill.

As Bay Area dwellers we sacrifice the night sky view for the best jobs, cool summers and high levels of happiness. Sometimes you gotta prioritize, you know?

In comes the Chabot Space & Science Center. Founded as an observatory in 1883, today Chabot is a quick 30-minute drive from the city’s financial district. Once there, you’ll be able to use the three largest publicly-accessible telescopes on the west coast. “Here,” boasts the center’s website, “visitors of all ages can experience for themselves the wonders of the cosmos as they gaze through the telescopes at distant stars and planets.”

Best part? It’s a pretty good deal. General admission includes two digital dome planetarium shows, access to interactive exhibits, the observatory complex (i.e., the enormous telescopes), the discovery lab and parking.

Actually, we take that back. The best part is remembering what it’s like to look up, take in the vastness of the universe and breathe.

 

Communal Baths at Kabuki

Long / Lat : 42°04’28.8″N 87°41’03.5″W
Founded : 1953
Travel time from SF: 00:39
Level of Activity: 2.2

Known in Japan as Sentō, these communal bath houses trace their origins back to the Nara period of the 8th century. Originally understood as utilitarian structures, bath houses now play a crucial role in the Japanese idea of skinship, or the bonding through close physical contact.

In the West, communal baths are largely used in conjunction with relaxation treatments, such as massages or facials. Upon entering the communal baths at Kabuki, you’re asked to turn off and stow your cell phone. It is hailed by the spa itself as a “peaceful, quiet time for people to reconnect with their spirits,” and that it is. Conventionally, one starts with a trip to the dry sauna or steam room, then reinvigorates in a cold, 55-degree pool. Lastly is the soak in the hot, 104-degree pool.

Soaking in hot water improves circulation, lowers blood pressure and helps sore and tightened muscles to relax. Soaking in silence amongst people also helps a person become at peace with their oneness.

The décor at Kabuki further deepens the feeling of calm. With low light, dark brown hues and high ceilings, the Communal Baths at Kabuki are an ideal setting to take some needed “me time”

 

Mount Tamalpais State Park

Long / Lat : 42°04’28.8″N 87°41’03.5″W
Founded : 1953
Travel time from SF: 00:39
Level of Activity: 2.2

Locally known as Mount Tam, Mount Tamalpais is the highest peak in the Marin Hills. The park itself is mostly comprised of redwood and oak forests, and is home to over 60 miles of hiking trails.

Willow Camp and Steep Ravine is a challenging 8.5 mile hike that “descends scenic coastal bluffs to Stinson Beach, then returns by way of a climb through a redwood-filled canyon,” according to Redwood Hikes.

The vistas afforded by Mount Tam itself are breathtaking. The feeling of looking over a vast landscape, after having achieved the goal of actually getting there is one of the most calming, reflective experiences one can have.

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