Eco Friendly Weekend: San Francisco

San FranciscoTraveling to the Bay Area may conjure up mental pictures of an urban landscape full of steep hills, cable car rides, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Seeing all the sights in San Francisco, a Northern California treasure, is high priority on many travelers’ list. Now more than ever, there are sustainable approaches to taking in all the Bay Area has to offer, without putting an excess amount of harm on the environment. Only have one weekend to do so? With unique neighborhoods, trendy restaurants and shopping, San Francisco proves itself to be a city lover’s environmental playground. 

The Orchard Hotel, a sustainable boutique hotel, is located in the heart of San Francisco. Surrounded by the shopping district of Union Square, visitors staying at the Orchard Hotel are never far from retail stores and sales. The prime location of the hotel is just one of its attractive features, while other positives include being LEED certified. The Orchard Hotel has this prestigious certification because of its continuous work to provide a healthy and sustainable environment for guests to stay. It is the second hotel in California to be presented with this specific distinction. Everything from the materials of the building and interior decor to the maintenance of the establishment is done with green products and solutions. The low impact of the hotel on the environment assures visitors that their stay in San Francisco is doing minimal harm to the city. Tourists staying at the Orchard Hotel can sleep well at night knowing that not only are they being taken care of, but San Francisco is as well. 

San Francisco’s most iconic monument is easily the Golden Gate Bridge. For those who are adventurous and not afraid of heights, a walk across the 1.7 mile bridge will bring panoramic views of the Bay Area. Great photo opportunities are present throughout the walk, and the activity continues to remain a green solution to traveling across the bridge. 

To experience its beauty to the full extent, any visitor can spend some a leisurely part of the day at the Golden Gate Park. With an expansive 1,017 acres of green grass and scenic overlooks, the park is a great public space that anyone can go enjoy. Located in the western portion of San Francisco, it occupies three miles along the waterfront. Over 13 million people visit the Golden Gate Park each year, which makes it one of the city’s most popular destinations. The park hosts an array of cultural and horticultural experiences for both children and adults. Visitors are able to immerse themselves in eco friendly walks and tours of that explains the nature and history of the park. The Golden Gate Park is also the sight of the San Francisco Botanical Garden and Japanese Tea Garden. Both beautiful areas with nature all around, visitors can truly experience a part of the environment while still in the midst of a fast paced city.

Anyone with an organic appetite can appreciate the Upper Haight Farmer’s Market. Visitors who happen to be in the Golden Gate Park on Wednesdays can enjoy the seasonal foods of the farmer’s market. Operating in the afternoons from 4-8 PM, the Upper Haight Farmer’s Market brings locally sourced organic food to consumers right in the middle of San Francisco’s popular park. Munching on some snacks or creating a picnic in the park is one of the most eco friendly options, right under the Golden Gate Bridge. 

San Francisco is a nature lover’s optimal destination for eating with an eco friendly mindset. Bar Jules is a great option for anyone who wants to maintain a green diet while visiting the Bay Area. The dining establishment serves lunch, dinner, and brunch on the weekends. The chefs at the restaurant believe in providing customers with only the freshest, organic foods. The ingredients are bought from local farmer’s markets, which is good for the local economy and gives back to the community. Meat and fish used in the dishes are all sustainable items. 

Another dining option is conveniently located back at the Orchard Hotel. The hotel’s own restaurant, Daffodil, maintains an environmentally conscious style of cooking while set within the green hotel. Chefs at the restaurant strictly use seasonal ingredients from local markets, which adheres to the restaurant’s theme of sustainable food. Daffodil restaurant strives to bring affordable, green plates to its diners. 

For those who want to see a host of farmer’s markets all in one area, the Ferry Building Marketplace is a spot not to miss. 80 farmers from local areas bring their produce to sell at the large market place. Foodies and anyone who simply has an appetite for fresh eats can wander through the expansive Ferry Building, snacking on all sorts of organic goodies. The Ferry Building Marketplace is a favorite destination for visitors and locals alike.

Any tourist will know that exploring an area by foot is one of the best ways to truly experience the natural pulse of the city. For anyone with the willpower to take on San Francisco’s infamous hills, walking around the unique neighborhoods on the city can highlight the way daily residents live. Walking up and down the often times steep inclinations of San Francisco streets is just part of the travel experience. Visiting Lombard Street, the famous crooked street in the city, shows just how distinct the city’s geography is. Walking through the neighborhoods on San Francisco can be good exercise for anyone, which allows visitors to take full advantage of the cable car when they become tired. The cable car system has become a National Historic Landmark, with over 7 million people riding them each year. Cable car rides are available throughout the city, and are easily accessible. No matter how long or short a trip to San Francisco is, the urban area provides visitors diverse environmentally friendly ways to experience all the city has to offer in true green style.

Photo credit: nps.gov/nero/nhlphoto/1stPlaceSanFranciscoCableCars.jpg

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