As the weather warms during the fall months, San Franciscans head outdoors to bike, in-line skate, jog or paddle-boat in the park. Taking a leisurely walk through the Conservatory of Flowers or the tulip gardens can be a relaxing treat, best concluded with a cup of tea and cookies in the Japanese Tea Gardens.
Farmers’ markets operate all year round in San Francisco, but the fall season is the best time to sample the colorful jams and jellies made from California fruits. Tuesdays and Saturdays are the days for the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market, but the merchants in the Embarcadero building offer tasty fare daily. Other neighborhood markets happen on a weekly schedule, but there’s always an open market somewhere in the city, any day of the week.
Chinatown is always bustling with street vendors, curio shops and aromatic restaurants, but a visit during a fall vacation in San Francisco is an especially fine treat. A September weekend comes alive with drummers, performers and dragon dancers. The sounds of woks sizzling throughout the restaurants are overshadowed by the hundreds of moon cakes (full moon-shaped pastries filled with bean or lotus-seed paste topped with duck eggs) exchanged this time of year.
Although San Francisco’s beaches aren’t warm enough for a dip, the fall season takes away the fog and chill. The sandy expanse of Ocean Beach is pleasant for a bit of sunbathing and a relaxing stroll. As the evening cool starts to kick in, you can continue to enjoy the ocean views with dinner at the Cliff House.
Fall is a great time to catch seasonal music events that happen throughout the city. In late August, rock out while being ecologically sound at the Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival at Golden Gate Park. Mellow out with the San Francisco Jazz Festival with performances throughout the city.
Although Halloween has become largely a holiday for costumed children to visit houses collecting candy, there is plenty of fun for adults in the city. There are usually concerts at AT&T Ballpark and a parade of divas in the gay Castro district. The celebrations don’t stop on November 1, however: the day after is the Mexican holiday, “Dia de los Muertos”. Come see the annual candlelit procession in the Mission District that ends at the Festival of Altars.
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