Rainy Day Date Ideas

Rainy Day Date Ideas

For the first time in years, we’re California is finally experiencing a winter with rain. Lots of it. There’s no shortage over here. 

Quick pros and cons list for you: Pros include that we aren’t really experiencing a drought anymore and that our reservoirs are getting pretty full, while Cons include flash floods, reservoirs spilling over, power outages, and bad driving. Oh, and it feels like there’s nothing to do. 

But feelings aren’t facts (haha!) and there is actually plenty to do when it’s raining. We just don’t feel like we want to do anything when it’s raining. But that feeling gets old and cabin fever can set in pretty quickly. There’s only so much Netflix someone can watch. Maybe you’re tolerance is higher than mine, but I would rather not spend every weekend binge watching a new show.

 Here’s a list to refer to when you can’t think of anything. This list is for everyone everywhere, but I’m also going to list local suggestions for those in the Bay Area. 

Go Bowling – If you’re in the Bay Area, head out to San Francisco’s Mission Bowling Club or Oakland’s Plank. 

Appreciate art and history at Museums & Art Galleries – Oakland Museum of California, Pace Gallery, and SFMOMA are popular spots. 

Look at fish, sea critters, and more at an Aquarium – The only thing cuter than watching otter videos on Youtube is watching otters IRL. Aquarium by the Bay and Monterey Bay Aquarium are your Bay Area options! 

Shoot some pool at your local Pool Hall – Slate in San Francisco also has skee ball sooooo 

Get active and go Rock Climbing – Planet Granite has locations across the Bay Area, but there are also other small gyms around so do some research before you head out. Also, if you’re a beginner, you might have to take a training class so keep that in mind.  

Buy a book you’ve been eyeing from a local bookstore or visit the Library –  I love the feeling of picking up a book that I’ve been thinking about buying and finally making the purchase. Pay a little more to support your local bookstore (or else Amazon will eventually be your only option) or pay nothing and pick up some books at the library. My favorites include Green Apple Books in San Francisco and Books, Inc. across the bay area. 

Wine Tasting / Brewery Tours – Depending on the winery and brewery, they may offer tours during the rain, so you’ll have to do a little research. Some brewery options: Anchor Brewing in San Francisco, 21st Amendment in San Francisco, Gordon Biersch in San Jose, Lagunitas in Petaluma. 

Play some games at an arcade – Coin-Op Game Room in San Francisco, Dave & Busters, and Brewcade in San Francisco are some good options. 

Check out live performances like concerts, plays, or comedy shows – This one is easier said than done for sure, but many restaurants and bars have live music at night. Grab some drinks at a local dive. Savanna Jazz in San Francisco, Berkeley Playhouse in Berkeley, and Tommy T’s in Pleasanton are a few options for you. 

Go to the Movies – This isn’t very creative but the movies are always an option. Consider going to a matinee if tickets are expensive. To switch things up, go to a historic theater, or one that serves alcohol and or has dinner service. Sundance Kabuki and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema are popular in SF. 

Belt out your favorite song at Karaoke – You could do this in a group or just as a couple but head to a karaoke place and just sing. 

Relax at the spa – Go to a nice spa in the area and get massages and facials or whatever you want. Watercourse Way Bath Room Spa in Palo Alto and Serenity Spa in Atherton have great reviews. 

Have an adventure at an Escape Room – What’s an escape room you ask? “Real-life room escape games are a type of physical adventure game in which people are locked in a room with other participants and have to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles, find clues, and escape the room within a set time limit. ” – Quora. There are quite a few in SF and in the South Bay

Play Indoor Mini Golf – Urban Putt in SF and Subpar in Oakland are good options. 

Play with some animals at a Cat Cafe – These aren’t located everywhere but there is KitTea in SF and Cat Town in Oakland. You may have to make reservations in advance. 

Shop for some vinyls – Check out a good record store and buy favorite albums on vinyl. 

Get some tickets to a game – Basketball and Hockey take place indoors. Look for last minute deals on SeatGeek and StubHub. 

Want to stay in instead? 

Home-cooked Meal / Bake something – Why step out in the rain if you really don’t have to? Make some comfort food at home or bake something! 

Plan a trip – Think of a place local or a new destination where you would want to go! 

Learn a new language – Open up Duolingo on your phones and start learning! Then start speaking to each other in that language. 

Listen to records/music – ’nuff said

Board Games – Some aren’t as fun with only two people but that doesn’t mean you can’t play! 

Video Games – Not everyone’s cup of tea but it can still be fun. 

That’s what I came up with! What are some rainy day date ideas you have? Please share! 

Weekend Brunch at Sideboard in Danville, CA

Sideboard-brunchBrunch is one of my favorite meals, and I have a feeling a lot of you feel the same way.

Tucked away in a nondescript house on a street corner at the edge of Downtown Danville is a lovely cafe that serves freshly baked pastries, light and healthy appetizers, hearty entrees, gourmet coffee, and flavorful cocktails called Sideboard. Really, the location is so easy to miss, we didn’t see the building the first time we drove by, leading to this exchange:

“Are you sure it’s here?”

“Yes, I’m sure! Google says so, too!”

Some of the decor at Sideboard

Some of the decor at Sideboard

Once you enter the house from a side door, not the front entrance, you immediately find yourself in this homey, comfortable environment. The walls are a deep red from with all types of art on the walls, and almost everything inside is mismatched in a the way you might see at someone’s house. All of tables, chairs and benches were mismatched, all the plates were mismatched, and all the silverware was mismatched, but in a good, likable way.

Some of the artwork at Sideboard

Some of the artwork at Sideboard

The place is packed with families, groups of girls catching up, men and women on brunch dates, students working on papers, elderly men reading the newspaper…basically everyone.

There’s no menu on the wall, so you pick up a paper menu and proceed through the line while making a decision on what to order. The menu here is extensive, and there’s something for almost anyone. You will have plenty of time to decide on what to order, and but if you’re anything like me, you will still second guess your choices once you reach the cash register and you’re placing your orders. There’s so much delicious food to choose from, you really have to make sure you have enough room in your belly to actually eat everything you order!

I was pretty tempted by the mac and cheese, but we ended up getting the Grilled Chicken Breast Salad, the Roasted Pink and Gold Beets Salad, a Four Barrel espresso, a Four Barrel Latte, a slice of coffee cake, and the Vampiro (spicy bloody mary!)

A slice of coffee cake

A slice of coffee cake

Since we were there at a peak time, it took us over 10 minutes to find a place to sit,

We ended up sitting at a large community table inside, which was quite roomy and actually made it really easy to talk in the midst of all the loud and fun conversations happening around us.

As soon as we sat down, our food came out quickly, and we devoured our food. I don’t know how but I was somehow able to fit a heaping salad, soup-sized latte, a slice of coffee cake, and half a bloody mary in my belly. My bloody mary ended up being too spicy for me (as in it was burning my stomach), so I decided to not finish it. I’m a fan of spicy bloody marys but my body just wasn’t ready for this one.

Vampiro - Spicy Bloody Mary

Vampiro – Spicy Bloody Mary

I was kind of amazed at myself for eating so much food for one meal! Oh well, we all have those days where we pig out, right?!

If you’re in the Bay Area and you’re out in the East Bay looking for a place to eat that combines healthy food with good flavor, you need to go to Sideboard!

The Not-As-Touristy Guide to Seattle

The Not-As-Touristy Guide to Seattle Maybe you have just booked yourself a weekend trip to the rainy city of Seattle. Surely you know about the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, but what else is there to do in Seattle?

Plenty. There’s PLENTY to do!

I’ve done the tourist thing in Seattle (check it out here). I’ve been to the top of the Space Needle, I’ve been to the Aquarium, I went on the Harbor cruise. Fun stuff, but there’s just way more to do than that.

When I was researching fun things to do in Seattle, the same touristy things I already did kept popping up. It was a little frustrating, because I know this city has so much to offer.

Seattle has MANY underrated restaurants, bars, bookstores, and boutiques you should really pay attention to.

Parks/Sightseeing

Bainbridge Island – Pretty little island that’s accessible by a 30 minute ferry ride. Hop on the ferry in Downtown Seattle and end up in a cute little town surrounded by trees. There’s also plenty of wine tasting on the island, if that’s up your alley. On the ride there, take in the fresh air and if you’re lucky, steal a view of Mt. Rainier.

Alki Beach – This little beach is nice in the summer but it’s a lovely area to check out even when the weather is less than perfect. Walk along the beach and see views of downtown across the water. Check out little restaurants along the waterfront, too. Cactus is really nice! There’s a Top Pot Doughnuts here, too.

Golden Gardens

Golden Gardens

Golden Gardens – Another pretty little place. There’s a slightly rocky beach but very scenic views. Get close to the water with no one around. Play some beach volleyball.

Ballard Locks – I thought this place was pretty cool. To get boats into the sound, they have to raise the water levels, or else it’s too shallow. This is where they do it. They also have another side where they lower the water levels. That’s the best I can describe it, and I’m probably describing it wrong…so you should definitely take a look for yourself! In the summer, you can see schools of salmon swimming through as well. Definitely worth checking out.

Fremont Troll – Yes, this is the ugly troll that everyone takes a photo in front of. If you’re in the area, why not?

Boutiques

Trove Vintage Boutique – Features vintage-inspired clothes that are brand new for purchase, real vintage clothes in great condition, and a wedding boutique at the back of the store. A must-see for any woman who loves vintage clothing (no men’s clothes, unfortunately).

Meadow – One of those stores where you expect everything to be expensive, but you’re pleasantly surprised. Filled with tons of cute, girly things.

Bookstores

I love browsing through bookstores. Especially used bookstores. You really never know what kind of treasures you might find. And authors are often invited for book signings and discussions.

Elliot Bay Book Company – So many books. Lovely environment. Fun to browse. Cafe in the back. Some books on sale.

Eagle Harbor Books – This store is actually located on Bainbridge Island, which is a ferry ride away from downtown Seattle, but it’s so worth mentioning. They have two stores–one with new books and another with used. While the new books are set up in a cute and cozy store, it’s the used books I found very interesting. I picked up so many fiction books from favorite authors at great prices that I just couldn’t find at local bookstores here. If you’re an avid reader, this place is worth a shot.

Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe – Basically a very nerdy (in a good way!) bookstore. Geeky, and very unique.

Food

Top Pot Doughnuts – Absolutely delish. I had a bavarian donut and it just made me so very happy. Anything is good here. Multiple locations. 

Molly Moon – They say the Salted Caramel ice cream is what you should try from here…but let’s be real, everything is good. Multiple locations. 

Rooibos Tea Latte

Rooibos Tea Latte

Cederberg Tea House – This South African cafe has South African snacks, teas, and coffee. Plus they have a ton of packaged food from South Africa that’s really fun to look at. I highly recommend getting the Rooibos Tea Latte. And the sausage rolls are really good. Located in Queen Anne. 

Pie Bar – Stuff your face with a variety of sweet and savory pies. One location in Capitol Hill, one in Ballard. 

Serious Pie – This one is pizza. Really good pizza. And biscuits if you’re there in the mornings. Multiple locations.

Eltana Wood-fired Bagels – If you’re feeling bougie, treat yourself to a wood-fired bagel. Mutliple locations. 

Paseo – Delicious caribbean sandwiches. This has been featured on Food Network shows!!

Theo Chocolate Factory – Don’t know if I would classify this as food, but there’s delicious chocolate involved and a fun factory tour. It’s family friendly but fun for anyone and everyone who loves chocolate.

Portage Bay – BRUNCH. You must go here for brunch. Multiple locations. 

Toulouse Petit – Cajun/Creole food. Everyone raves about it. Don’t miss out!

Drinks

There are bars left and right here. But what Seattle has that I haven’t seen in other cities are cider bars. They have a ton. Definitely take a look at the cider houses and breweries.

Capitol Cider – They also have board games and shuffleboard!

Schilling Cider House – ’nuff said.

Fremont Brewing – Awesome, popular brewery.

But, don’t skip these classic tourist attractions:
Chihuly

Chihuly

Chihuly Garden and Glass – Beautiful glass art. Photos don’t do it justice. It’s something you just have to see in person. Beautiful day or night, but most people come here during the day. They had a really nice glassblowing demonstration outside that was fun to watch. I was awestruck at how much work it took to make a glass vase.

Space Needle – C’mon! It’s the Space Needle. Beautiful views of the city from the top. Located in the Seattle Center right next to Chihuly.

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market – A foodie paradise. A few favorites include Piroshky Piroshky, Le Panier, Beecher’s, and Pike Place Chowder. Yes, the original Starbucks is located here, but…they serve you the same Starbucks coffee you get anywhere else. Which is why you should go to the Reserve instead. Other cool things to get from here–seafood, flowers, jewelry, specialty foods.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room – Located not too far from downtown in Capitol Hill. This is where they roast coffee and make specialty drinks you can’t find anywhere else. Taste different coffees that are brewed with special methods while listening to coffee beans funnel through pipes. It’s a pretty cool experience. Plus, they have friendly servers who take your order and bring you coffee. Whaaaat!

That’s my list for now! What would you add to the list?