If You're Going To San Francisco... Here Are 9 Must-See Places, According To Cheryl Yeoh
The Bay Bridge may play second fiddle to the Golden Gate, but isn’t any less spectacular – especially in the nighttime. When Jason (my husband) and I moved to San Fran, our condo had a direct view of the bridge; it was both a beautiful and inspiring sight. Fun fact: You can dedicate a light on Bay Bridge and it’s theirs forever! Jason dedicated light #1130 to me, to mark our marriage registration date – November, 30, 2016. I returned the favour on Valentines this year, plus I also ended up being the advisor to Illuminate.org, the non-profit that’s behind the lights.
The delightful Moraga Stairs that starts at Moraga St and 16th Ave climbing up to 15th Ave has 163 mosaic steps altogether, donated by 220 neighbours. Hand-made animal, bird, and fish tiles are embedded on the vertical risers of each step. The beautiful and unexpected artistic surprise within an ordinary neighbourhood makes me realise that it takes many facets and contributions from various people to create a masterpiece. You eventually climb up to the view at Grandview Park, where you’re treated to some of the most fabulous 360-degree views in the City including the Pacific Ocean, Golden Gate Park and more.
This is where the Palace of the Fine Arts is, and is also where I go to rock climb, at Planet Granite. Plus, it’s one of the best places to see the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge. Half the time, the Golden Gate Bridge is shrouded in the famous Bay Area fog, which makes it mysterious. But we always trust that beneath the grey and white fog, a golden beauty lies, steady and strong. The fog might be depressing and an obstacle for a lot of people, but for me, visually, I’m drawn to what I can’t see. It reminds me of how deep I trust and have faith for something I believe in.
Sushi lovers take heed! Apart from the scenic views, Sausalito (across from San Francisco) has one of the best sushi spots – Sushi Ran. When we dined there for Jason’s birthday last year, we met this couple who were celebrating their anniversary there for 15 years in a row, and they always sit at this one corner at the bar. We sat next to them and chatted with them, inspired by how they were still so in love with each other. We took it as a good omen that we will be just like them in 15 years.
These dual concrete slides hidden in a park in Eureka Valley were originally designed by a 14-year-old kid, over 30 years ago. A friend brought me here, but I’ve always been terrified of the falling sensation you get from slides. After a lot of persuasion, I mustered up the courage and took a piece of cardboard and went down the slide! It was so scary, as it was very steep and I almost flew out on the way down. Since then, my motto became: ‘Do one thing everyday that scares you,’ and I’ve done a lot more things after that, that always scare me.
Often compared to Central Park in New York, the Golden Gate park is actually 20 per cent larger, and is one of the most parks in America. The gorgeous natural setting aside, it houses numerous other atractions, from a Japanese tea garden, to a chain of lakes, even including a museum and academy of science, not to mention memorials. The park will also always be a special place for my husband and I as we took our engagement photos here, against some stunning backdrops.
I was brought to Lands End by a musician and artist friend of mine – we stood there for hours, taking footage of the fog rolling in and out, then waiting for the sun to set, when shadows start filling the forest. The Lands End path also reveals a temporal stone labyrinth, which reminds me of the labyrinth project I initiated while studying at Cornell University – which got me inducted into Cornell’s oldest senior honor society, the Sphinx Head Society. This trip reminded me that patience is a great virtue, and to produce great work, we have to be patient and put in the due effort.
Dolores Park is central hippie town in the Mission District of San Francisco, where I used to live. Every weekend, hordes of people would come to have a picnic in this open lawn – bringing children, dogs, musical instruments, food, frisbees, and everything under the sun. It’s very inspiring and uplifting for me, to be surrounded by free spirited people at the park, who are unbridled by rules and norms, who always believe that anything and everything is possible.
Big Sur along Highway 1 is a must-visit location, just a few hours south of San Francisco. The drive on Highway 1 from San Fran to LA is one of the more scenic, if not most beautiful coastlines in the US. The grandeur and beauty reminds me of how incredible our Creator is. I’ve done weekend trips down in Big Sur with my buddies a couple of times now and each time, it never ceases to amaze me. I’ve also always gotten my most creative inspirations from my hikes around the area.