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Secret Guides Things To Do

125 Ways To Celebrate Your Birthday In The Bay Area

By Jamie Ferrell

125 Ways To Celebrate Your Birthday In The Bay Area

Happy birthday to you!

Your birthday only comes around once a year, so you have to make it count! Whether you’re planning a celebration for yourself or someone else, it can be difficult thinking of something new and unique to try. Here’s a list of food spots, drink spots, and fun activities to check out the next time your big day shows up on the calendar. Whether you want a low-key picnic with a sunset view, or a high tea under a canopy of flowers, these ideas are sure to get the ball rolling!

Birthday meals:

1-10. Make a reservation at one of these awesome outdoor brunch spots

Some would argue that brunch is the most important meal of the day. Be sure to get your recommended daily allowance of crispy bacon, fluffy pancakes, mimosas, and egg scrambles at these 10 spectacular brunch spots around the city.

  • Palette Tea House
  • Fable
  • Magic Flute Ristorante
  • Rose’s Cafe
  • Kitchen Story
  • Sweet Maple
  • Derm
  • Eats
  • Lokma
  • Plain Jane

11-12. These 2 Bay Area restaurants serve high tea under a canopy of flowers

K Cafe

Enjoy high tea under a canopy of pink roses, gold chandeliers, and twisting vines in this show-stopping San Jose gem. Whether you’re an Instagram fiend trying to get the perfect shot, or you just want to treat yourself to an unforgettable café experience, you have got to put K Café Patisserie & Tea House on your list.

Son and Garden

Sometimes a restaurant doesn’t only deliver on its food, but rather an entire experience. That’s the case with Son & Garden, a lovely restaurant with locations in Menlo Park and San Francisco. Here, you’ll get to enjoy a traditional American brunch crossed with Asian ingredients under a stunning canopy of flowers!

13-20. Have a fancy meal at one of these affordable Michelin-starred restaurants

If you’re looking to treat yourself to a Michelin-starred meal, we’ve put together a list of the most affordable restaurants in San Francisco that have made it into the coveted Michelin Guide. That’s not to say they’re super cheap, to be fair, but you can get a full 3-course meal at some of these spots for under $45. For the best experience, remember to reserve a table in advance!

  • Al’s Place
  • Rich Table
  • Kin Khao
  • Mister Jiu’s 
  • State Bird Provisions
  • Lord Stanley
  • Spruce
  • SPQR

21-30. Enjoy an intimate evening at one of these 10 romantic restaurants with outdoor patios

The perfect romantic date spot can take a variety of forms, but a night of upscale dining al fresco is a classic go-to. These 10 restaurants have magical outdoor patios to enjoy a variety of delicious food options, creative cocktails, and much more.

  • Fable (Californian)
  • Coqueta (Spanish)
  • La Mar Cebicheria Peruana (Peruvian)
  • Charmaine’s (Cocktail bar)
  • Foreign Cinema (Californian/Mediterranean)
  • Waterbar (Seafood)
  • Zazie (French)
  • 25 Lusk (American)
  • El Techo (Latin American Street Food)
  • Dirty Habit (New American)

Birthday drinks:

31-36. Enjoy drinks with a view at these beautiful rooftop bars

Everyone knows that rooftops in San Francisco are few and far between, but we managed to round up some stellar spots to try out when you’re looking to grab dinner or drinks with a view. Whether you prefer a swanky environment with craft cocktails, or a laid-back terrace to enjoy a cold beer, we’re sure you’ll find something on this list that caters to your sensibility. All of these bars offer excellent food menus in addition to the drinks.

  • Rooftop at VIA
  • Charmaine’s
  • El Techo
  • Dirty Habit
  • Rooftop 25
  • 620 Jones

37. Pay a visit to the historic Tonga Room tiki bar

The beloved Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar is one of the longest continually running tiki bars in the states. It’s basically everything a tiki bar should be; an explosion of deliciously kitsch tropical décor with all the themed, lethal cocktails and Polynesian-fusion dishes you could hope for. Be warned: you can’t make reservations, so be prepared for first-come, first serve dining and bar service. The Island Groove band plays music from 6:45pm to 10:45pm, during which time a $15 cover charge is applied for each guest.

38-47. Find your new favorite bottle at one of these superb wine bars in the city

An excellent glass of wine can turn a bad day into a good day, or a good day into a better day! We’re lucky to live right near wine country, meaning that Bay Area wine bars have their pick of some of the best wineries in the world.  Whether you’re looking for a classy ambience with a highly curated selection, or a laid-back environment where you can find a perfect bottle to take home, we’ve got you covered! Here are 10 wine bars you’ve got to visit, listed in no particular order.

  • Press Club
  • High Treason
  • 20 Spot
  • Birba
  • Ruby Wines
  • VinoRosso
  • Mission Bay Wine & Cheese
  • William Cross
  • Scopo Divino
  • Arlequin Wine Merchant

48-56. Host a lively crowd at one of these bustling beer gardens

The Bay Area is home to some of the best craft beer in the country, meaning that it’s cultivated an entire generation of beer lovers and aficionados. When it comes to breweries, we’re hard to beat, but SF’s beer gardens are also excellent places to kick back and try out a flight or sip on your favorite pils and watch the game.

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  • SPARK Social SF
  • Zeitgeist
  • Southern Pacific Brewing
  • Finnegans Wake
  • Harmonic Brewing Thrive City
  • Anchor Brewing Public Taps
  • Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
  • Old Devil Moon
  • Black Hammer Brewing

57-61. Take a trip back in time at these Prohibition-inspired speakeasies

When Prohibition went into practice during the 1920s, San Francisco was one city that played by its own rules. Speakeasies were relatively easy to find back then, often serving up spirits brought in from Canada. That era of American history ended nearly 90 years ago, but there are a handful of local bars that mimic the secretive, back-door façade of those 1920s-era speakeasies.

  • Marianne’s
  • The Linden Room
  • The Remedie Room
  • Smuggler’s Cove
  • Cold Drinks Bar

Birthday plans:

62-67. Go exploring at one of these fascinating local tide pools

If you’re a California native lucky enough to live on the coast, then you know that tide pooling is an awesome way to enjoy the beach! We’ve put together a list of great tide pools to visit around the Bay Area, so put on your best waterproof shoes and get ready to explore. Tidepooling is a fun activity for kids and adults alike, but remember: you’re a guest in these critters’ habitat, so try not to disturb whatever you find and always watch your step! Be sure to visit at low tide, and watch out for sneaker waves. Check the tide tables here.

  • Duxbury Reef Reserve in Bolinas
  • Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach
  • Bean Hollow State Beach in San Mateo
  • Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park in Pescadero
  • Natural Bridges in Santa Cruz
  • Davenport Beach in Davenport

68. You can rent out this cozy Oakland movie theater to watch whatever you want

Oakland’s iconic New Parkway Theater might fly under the radar for most San Franciscans, but it makes quite the statement. At the moment, it’s closed due to current COVID-19 restrictions, but you can actually rent out one of their 2 large screening rooms for private viewings. Meaning that you’ll have access to an enormous theater with HD digital projection and surround sound, plenty of cozy seating, and first-class treatment for 3 hours to watch whatever you want! New Parkway Theater’s chef will prepare a 3-4 course meal especially for your party, and you’ll be served “all the drinks you can drink.”

69-83. Enjoy a picnic at these 15 charming spots in San Francisco

San Francisco is home to some of the best parks and gardens in the world, so there’s no shortage of awesome picnic spots for you to enjoy a meal with friends. Whether you want to support a local cafe and get some amazing food to go, or you prefer to pack your own delicious recipe to enjoy out in the sunshine, you’ll love all of these great options. Some are SF staples, and some are a little less well-known.

  • Conservatory of Flowers
  • Old Speedway Meadow
  • Pine Lake Park
  • Salesforce Park
  • Garden of Shakespeare’s Flowers
  • Mission Dolores Park
  • Crissy Field
  • Fort Scott Community Garden
  • Yerba Buena Gardens
  • Bernal Heights Park
  • Kirby Cove Beach
  • Buena Vista Park
  • Stow Lake
  • Palace of Fine Arts

84-94. Take a day trip to one of these 11 spectacular destinations

We love San Francisco for its countless activities to enjoy everywhere you go. But anytime there’s a long weekend or a free day, we’re quite well-located to check out some neighboring California gems. Here are 11 spots to put on your list!
  • Pinnacles National Park
  • Alamere Falls
  • Sonoma wine tour
  • Filoli Estate and gardens
  • Muir Woods
  • Mount Tamalpais
  • Inverness Shipwreck
  • McWay Falls
  • Gerbode Valley
  • Cataract Falls
  • Wilder Ranch

95. You can rent a tipi, fire pit, and more at this massive food truck park in Mission Bay

Parklab Gardens

We love this spot for the great environment and food options, but what’s really caught our eye are the giant tipis available to rent by the hour, complete with comfy couches and TVs! Parklab Gardens and SPARK Social SF are 2 different parks that have joined forces, just across the street from each other.

There’s a variety of spaces you may rent at this enormous park, including lawn areas, fire pits, Adirondack chairs, cabanas, and bungalows. There are also prices for renting larger sections of the park (i.e. 1 bungalow and 2 cabanas), or even the whole park in its entirety.

96-105. Book one of these10 beautiful highly-rated Airbnbs in NorCal

[Image: “Cosmo Beach Riverfront Sanctuary”]

Airbnb puts out wishlists of awesome spots to stay around the world. Their list of Bay Area Getaways has 55 options, but we’ve chosen the 10 most highly-rated stays (ordered from highest to lowest rating) to help you start planning. See the full list here.

106-115. Get a breath of fresh air on one of these 10 stunning local hikes

In the Bay Area, a beautiful view is always right around the corner. Whether you’re looking for a quick stroll in the city or a more strenuous day hike in Marin, you’ll love these incredible hikes for a chance to stretch your legs.

  • Land’s End Trail
  • Presidio Loop Trail
  • Golden Gate Park Loop
  • Mount Davidson Trail Loop
  • Gerbode Valley Loop Trail
  • Point Bonita Lighthouse Trail
  • Cataract Falls
  • Mori Point
  • Mission Peak
  • Mount Diablo

116-125. Catch a Bay Area sunset at one of these essential spots

There’s truly no shortage of excellent places to see a sunset in the Bay, but we wanted to get to the bottom of where locals love to watch the sky light up. That’s why we posted an Instagram poll asking for our followers’ best recommendations! They didn’t disappoint, and here we’ve chosen 10 essential spots to check out a sunset! Grab your best friends, bring a picnic or a bottle of wine, and toast to your birthday before an incredible view.

  • Mori Point
  • Lands End
  • Mount Tamalpais
  • Palace of Fine Arts
  • Twin Peaks
  • Baker Beach
  • Ina Coolbrith Park
  • Fort Funston
  • Muir Beach Overlook
  • Ocean Beach

 

Featured image: @foreigncinemasf via Instagram