SF Bay Area: Soaking up the Sun and Fun

We had some change of plans and didn’t “need” to be in NorCal as we originally thought. But we had tickets booked, so we “made the best of it” and spent a week in the Bay Area! We love it here so this easily worked out for the best!

Itinerary: 2 nights in South San Francisco (we got in late the first night), 2 nights in Sunnyvale, 3 nights in Santa Cruz

We planned to be in SF this week because we were going to apply for a long term residency visa to live in Spain, and the consulate we would need to visit was in San Francisco. After we booked the tickets though, we decided that the visa wasn’t worth the hassle or the money, so we bailed on the appointment, but we weren’t bailing on the non-refundable tickets to one of our favorite places. Hence, a week in NorCal!

We skipped the city this time around in favor of lower prices. We were not disappointed!

Loungin with muffins, milk and a movie.

Travel Lessons put into practice that worked really well: We arrived late on a Wednesday night after a long travel day from Boston and thankfully, we had an airport hotel booked that was close by. Win. For hotels, our normal go-to hotels were super expensive so we went with a discount hotel (America’s Best Value Inn) with high reviews. We booked two nights so we wouldn’t get in late and then immediately have to check out. We didn’t book the rental car from the airport and instead booked one close to our hotel that I could walk/run to. We also booked it for the next day so we didn’t have to spend precious late night time waiting for a rental car. Our discount hotel didn’t offer an airport shuttle so we spent $20 for a taxi from the airport. It was fast and easy. So easy. Easier than an Uber. We were in late from the flight, but within 40 minutes of landing in SF, we were checked into our hotel. Win! I picked up the rental car the next morning for half the price of picking it up at the airport, and we were on our way.

We loved South San Francisco. We visited two great parks with awesome playgrounds. There were so many Spanish-speaking people here and we loved the vibe of this influence all around us. Parents were involved on the playground, Paavo joined in with other kids, and we all soaked in the sun! NorCal time off to a good start!

Paavo’s latest skill – hanging!

We then booked a couple nights at a Sheraton in Sunnyvale. This is normally a business hotel so they do big weekend discounts. We love our SPG nights and this was no exception. They had a pool and hot tub for me and Paavo and we felt like luxury from the moment we arrived. Very nice. Plus, it gets us just a step closer to another year of Gold status (more points, more perks, and more free nights in the future!)

We found more good parks here, with the Baylands Park being the go to. We ran and played here 3 times in two days. The weather was fantastic and again, we were just soaking it all in.



Thinking about the future: we could totally live in California again. We love the Bay Area so we could easily come back here again. We have San Diego and SoCal in mind simply because we haven’t lived there before and because it may be a tad more affordable, but bottom line is that we feel at home here and we love the sun and warmer weather.

We cashed in two more times with our Glazer Kids Museum membership, hitting up CuriOdyssey at Coyote Point and again in Santa Cruz at the Museum of Natural History. Both were good wins for Paavo-friendly activities. We also hit up the Seymour Marine Discovery Center in Santa Cruz. More good times here. In fact, this entire week was filled with museums, parks, playgrounds, libraries, and generally kid friendly times. Lots of fun and sun here!

Enjoying the sun and sand in Santa Cruz

We ate well. We also had the hard realization that we’re spending more money than we earn and eating out so much is part of this. We made the decision after a yummy meal at Merit Vegetarian Restaurant in Sunnyvale to cut back and do more grocery store meals. We can’t cook beans and rice everyday given our hotel life, but we can do things cheaper. So for the time being, we’re cutting back on the restaurants. 🙁   We still eat well though!

Running was awesome. I find myself very motivated to run when it’s nice out! I had great runs along the Bay trail when in S. SF and in Sunnyvale, and then on the trails at Rancho San Antonio and Nisene Marks Parks, and the bike path in Santa Cruz. It’s so nice to run in the sun. Keep remembering this Matt – you’re more motivated to do nearly everything when you’re in the sun!!!

Plenty of running paths like these near our hotels – bonus!

We purposefully kept to ourselves this week. Apologies to any family or friends in the Bay Area that we didn’t reach out to. After busy times in Boston and in North Carolina, we needed a rest week so we could get caught up on work and sleep, and just to generally be more routine and chill. This time period was a good recharge. It was also a good reminder that Cali could definitely be in our future. Great for kids, great for running, great for food, and great for living! Sign us up!

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