Baseball loops for road trip lovers: San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle

Baseball loops for road trip lovers: San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle

Baseball loops for road trip lovers: San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle 284 177 The Ultimate Lineup

More great baseball stadiums are in store as we travel from San Francisco, CA to Seattle, Washington.  Overall, the drive from San Francisco to Seattle is around 800 miles along the Pacific Northwest and takes approximately 13 hours.  There are several beautiful stops along the way but first, let’s spend some time in northern California.

The journey begins at one of the most beautiful, iconic and exciting ballparks in all of baseball, Oracle Park.  The San Francisco Giants have been calling this stadium home since 2000, playing host to multiple World Series games. Oracle Park is clearly one of the most scenic baseball parks in the United States for its placement along the San Francisco Bay. Most attendees are afforded prime views of the glittering water from their seats all the while being able to enjoy one of America’s greatest pastimes.  The stadium holds tours year-round, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the field, dugout, the press box, luxury suites and more. Make sure to catch a glimpse of the World Series trophies and rings, which are on display on the Promenade Level behind home plate.  And be sure to see The Portwalk. The Portwalk is a pedestrian path that runs along the waterfront that allows spectators to peep a game at field level for up to three innings or longer for free.  If you can take public transportation instead of driving, as parking is limited.

While there is no shortage of things to do in the San Francisco area, there are many off the beaten path activities to enjoy.

Cable Cars

Chances are, you’ve seen a television show, movie, postcard or some type of San Francisco memorabilia emblazoned with the city’s iconic cable car or trolley. So, of course, to fully experience San Francisco’s charm, you should hop on board. San Francisco’s cable car system is the last of its kind in the United States, given the title of a National Historic Landmark in 1964.  You can catch the cable cars from a few spots around town, including the famous Powell-Hyde Line at Powell and Market streets, which passes the twisty Lombard Street and the equally popular Russian Hill neighborhood. There are three lines in total. The lines travel through the following neighborhoods: North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, Nob Hill, Chinatown and the Embarcadero.

Muir Woods National Monument

What better exemplifies California’s landscape than sky-high redwood trees? That’s what you’ll find at Muir Woods, the beautiful and expansive national monument just 16 miles north of San Francisco. The largest redwood tree in Muir Woods measures about 258 feet tall. To give you a better visual, imagine 45 six-foot-tall individuals stacked on top of each other. And if that wasn’t enough to impress, the average age of redwoods in Muir Woods is 600 to 800 years, and that’s not even some of the oldest in the park at the moment.  Reserve your parking spot in advance. You can reserve it online, and you’ll want to do so ahead of time since there is no cell phone service in the park.

Mission District

The Mission District has attracted San Francisco’s young bohemian crowd in the past decade, but its history is rooted in Hispanic heritage. After all, its namesake is the city’s oldest building, Mission Dolores. This is the place that introduced the burrito to the wider world, so be sure to check out Latinx-owned businesses like La Taqueria, Taqueria La Cumbre and El Farolito for some tasty eats loved by both locals and travelers alike. The Mission is also a great neighborhood for getting away from the heavily visited tourist attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Wharf, plus it’s a popular stop on many of the city’s best walking tours.  While the Mission District is one of San Francisco’s more popular neighborhoods, it can be unsafe at night, so take precautions and never walk the neighborhood alone in the evening.

Golden Gate Park

If California had a Central Park equivalent, Golden Gate Park would undoubtedly be it.  The park offers so much to see and do, it could take an entire day to experience all that it has to offer. Trails, picturesque picnic spaces, playgrounds, sports courts, gardens, museums and more can be found within its evergreen borders. With so many options available, it’s best to map out what you want to do ahead of time, though some attractions warrant a visit, regardless of traveler taste.

The Japanese Tea Garden is located in Golden Gate Park.  Originally created as a “Japanese Village” for an international exposition in 1894, it is the oldest continuously maintained public Japanese garden outside of Japan.   The 5-acre site features classic elements of a Japanese garden, including an arched drum bridge, pagodas, stone lanterns, stepping stone paths, native Japanese plants, serene koi ponds, a five-story pagoda and a Zen garden. The garden is also home to a 9,000-pound Lantern of Peace, a gift given to the United States by Japan after World War II and meant to symbolize friendship between the two countries.

Another big standout in the park is the California Academy of Sciences, a unique attraction that features an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum and the Osher Rainforest, a 90-foot-tall dome-shaped facility that houses 1,600 live animals. Animal lovers will want to pay a visit to the park’s bison paddock located near Spreckels Lake.

Our time in northern California ends with a visit to the Oakland Coliseum to see the Athletics.  The Oakland Coliseum is a multi-purpose stadium in Oakland, California, United States, and the home ballpark of the Oakland Athletics.  It is part of the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Complex, with the adjacent Oakland Arena. The stadium has hosted many sports events and concerts over the years.

Offering new enjoyment and improved amenities to fans, the A’s introduced Championship Plaza, located on the plaza between the Coliseum and the Arena on the west side of the ballpark. Championship Plaza is part of the in-game experience and features gourmet food trucks, beer stands, music, games and a large video screen, making it the perfect place to gather before and during games.  Named to honor the A’s franchise nine World Series championships, the area includes pennants. Each individual pennant honors a championship, five in total from Philadelphia and four won in Oakland.

There are many interesting places to see on the drive from Oakland to Seattle. Here are some of them:

Columbia River Gorge: A 4,000-feet deep canyon that demarcates Washington from Oregon and offers one of the most spectacular natural landscapes in the country.

Forest Learning Center in Seaquest State Park: A must-visit for anyone on a Seattle to Portland road trip.

Alpha Omega, Silver Oak, Nickel and Nickel, Chateau Montelena, Heitz, Merryvale and Shraumsberg grounds: These are some of the most recommended wineries along the way.

With our drive behind us our last stop on this baseball loop is Seattle.  Seattle’s laid-back attitude and diverse neighborhoods more than make up for its consistently cloudy weather. Plus, it’s home to some of the country’s best coffee!  Surrounded by water (and resting between Puget Sound and Lake Washington), the city’s favorite outdoor pursuits include kayaking, hiking, camping and whale watching. In addition, the nearby Olympic Mountains and the giant Mount Rainier are visible from many spots in the city.

Some of the best baseball fans in the country can be found in T-Mobile Park, cheering on their Seattle Mariners.  T-Mobile Park is a retractable roof stadium in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, near the western terminus of Interstate 90.  The first game at the stadium was played on July 15, 1999.

If you’re not up for strenuous outdoor activities, Seattle still offers plenty to do and see. Art lovers will appreciate the glass-blown pieces at Chihuly Garden and Glass.  Maritime enthusiasts can explore the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and watch the ships putter by. Several of Seattle’s best boat tours offer an inside look at how the locks operate.  The city also boasts dozens of craft breweries and food markets, making it one of the Best Foodie Destinations in the USA.

Other attractions include:

Museum of Flight

Seattle is one of the most important cities in the world of aviation and home to several facilities belonging to the Boeing Company, one of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers. You can find out more about the city’s unique and fascinating history in aviation at one of its best museums, the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field. The museum is especially enticing for families with young children who can climb in and around various aircraft. Also recommended is the Red Barn, Boeing’s original airplane factory, which features exhibitions chronicling the history of flight. The nearby T.A. Wilson Great Gallery also holds vintage aircraft, offering travelers a unique look into Seattle’s prolific technological history. Meanwhile, the exhibit “Stranger than Fiction” delves into aerospace medicine. One of the most popular attractions is the SAM 970, which served as Air Force One for presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, as well as other vice presidents and VIPs until its retirement in June 1996.

Discovery Park

If you’re looking to get outdoors without getting out of the city, this is the place. Sprawling across more than 500 acres in northern Seattle, Discovery Park is the city’s largest green space. You’ll find hiking trails, meadows, beaches and sand dunes abound. One must-see is the West Point Lighthouse – one of 18 active lighthouses in Washington State – which can be reached by following the North Beach Trail, while the South Beach Trail leads to a spectacular view of Mount Rainier and the city skyline.

Woodinville Wine Country

Wine lovers in search of a memorable glass of vino should head about 20 miles northeast of Seattle to explore Woodinville Wine Country. This area within the Sammamish River Valley is home to more than 130 wineries, as well as breweries, shops, hotels and restaurants. There are four districts that comprise Woodinville’s area.  The Downtown District, generally regarded as a convenient spot to begin or end a trip to Woodinville – offers numerous options for eating and drinking. The Hollywood District, named for its Hollywood Schoolhouse, features an array of wineries large and small, as well as both casual and fine dining. The Warehouse District claims to have more boutique wineries per square foot than any other wine region in the world – and the nearby Artisan Hill and Junction neighborhoods are home to additional winemakers. Meanwhile, the West Valley District, which sits on the west side of the Sammamish River, has a comparatively small number of wineries. However, it also boasts distilleries and numerous restaurants.

Woodinville is accessible via Interstate 405, State Route 520 and State Route 522. The districts themselves are both walkable and bike-friendly. Numerous passes are available for purchase, ranging in price from around $30 to $80. They cover tastings at multiple wineries, some in specific districts and some region-wide. Lodging options within Woodinville include well-known chain hotels, luxury boutique hotels and unique bed-and-breakfasts. For more information, visit the Woodinville Wine Country website.

Another great baseball loop.  Put it in the books!