The Avenues, which consist of the Richmond and Sunset neighborhoods, first appear as rows of pastel-colored homes, lining scenic Highway 1 and 280 as they dissolve into 19th Street. But the scenery doesn’t end there. In fact, it is only just beginning. Travel north and you’ll pass Chinese markets, Thai, and French restaurants, beatific green areas, shopping malls and plazas.
Gorgeous Edwardian homes flaunt their bay windows and hardwood floors inside meticulously manicured gardens and lawns, just a moment’s walk from Golden Gate Park.
The park itself needs little introduction, with its playgrounds, jogging paths, arboretum, botanical gardens, museums, and Japanese Tea Garden. The newly renovated Academy of Sciences is a great place to bring the family for a day where you can see an amazing three story rain forest exhibit, an aquarium, a T-Rex skeleton, and even live penguins. The IMAX theater rests in the center of the Academy, and wows audiences daily with eye-popping movies. Or if your tastes are more sophisticated, you may enjoy the de Young Museum which has also recently received its own renovations. There, you can walk through history along corridors of paintings dating back a thousand years, or enjoy lunch in the sculpture garden out back. Across from that, lies the amphitheater which is popular for musical events and an annual bluegrass festival. The Conservatory of Flowers is one of the oldest structures in the park and has survived disasters for over a century, boasting a tremendous wealth of tropical plants, flowers, and giant lily pads.
The Sunset district lies to the south of the park and was once nothing but sand dunes. Now it is a vibrant, colorful neighborhood that offers a magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean. Fog rolls in during the summers, giving a respite from the heat, as families visit the San Francisco Zoo just a block from the beach. The Sunset also provides some of the more affordable houses in San Francisco, and is a great place for people who want to live in The City without feeling like they “live in a city.” The Haight lies just to the east, where eccentric antique stores neighbor against used CD shops and colorful cafes, providing one of the most unique shopping experiences in the Bay Area.
Whether you are looking for a view of the ocean, or a walk in the park, there is something for just about everyone among the Avenues.
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