I've added a new link under "Sophie's Favorites" that takes you directly to some pictures of the visitors we've had over the recent years, along with some helpful hints for future trips. Thanks to all our visitors over the years we've built up a fairly extensive itinerary of local sights to see. Here are just a few, we're delighted to recommend advanced tours to repeat visitors.
Nearby, there's antiquing and shopping in Petaluma and Point Reyes Station, visiting Napa or Sonoma Valley wineries, canoeing on the Russian River, and a host of San Francisco sights to explore like the Marin Headlands' view of the Golden Gate; the Exploratorium and Palace of Fine Arts; Golden Gate Park's Tea Garden (go early to avoid crowds and enjoy the quiet); Yerba Buena's Museum of Modern Art, Metreon and the best restaurant in the world, Hawthorne Lane; the Castro; Twin Peaks' view of the city; Haight Ashbury; Ghirardelli Square and Alcatraz (make reservations in advance, they sell out year-round) and North Beach's delis, bars and restaurants. Further east is the Berkeley campus and some of the nicest Craftsman-style homes in the area, shopping on Fourth Street and further out the Jelly Belly factory.
Some great day trips from our area include Monterey/17-Mile-Drive/Carmel, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. Each is about 3-4 hours drive from our house and pretty unique. If you're staying overnight near Yosemite we recommend the town of Sonora, about 45 minutes outside the gate. If you're planning to visit Monterey's excellent aquarium (highly recommended) make sure to reserve tickets online in advance (the will-call window allows you to skirt the long lines and enter the side door.)
For dining, San Rafael has some of the best Thai food in the Bay Area, as well as our favorite Indian restaurant (Lotus) and pizza (Amici's). Petaluma of all places has our favorite Italian (Cafe Giostra), Japanese (Hiro's), and breakfast (Hallie's). Sadly, Petaluma's Girl & the Fig has closed so we have to drive the extra miles to Sonoma. On weekends Petaluma Market's outdoor barbeque serves up the best tri-tip sandwiches around. As you can probably tell from the photos, we also love taking people to Krispy Kreme on weekend mornings, but the Bovine Bakery in Point Reyes Station is definitely a step up from there.