A caffeine fix, a break from the go-go-go lifestyle of backpacking, a ringside look at the local culture – there are so many reasons we love stopping into neighborhood cafés wherever our travels take us. And here in Northern California, there are endless ways to make a run-of-the-mill refueling stop into a one-of-a-kind experience: from no-frills cups of Joe at corner mainstays, to sweet concoctions in exotic neighborhoods, to artful pours of espresso at high-class hideaways, here a few of our favorites spots for coffee and culture.
It's mid-October, but it still feels like summer in Sacramento. This shouldn't, perhaps, be too much of a surprise: about 80% of days around California's state capital are sunny, often in defiance of the season. But I've come here today to do something specifically, traditionally, quintessentially autumnal, and so it's taking me a while to wrap my head around the heat: who dresses for a day of apple-picking, pie-tasting, cider sipping, and pumpkin patching wearing shorts and a T-shirt and SPF 50?
Northern California's beautiful in any light, but it's hard to beat the glow of a great big silvery moon for ambience. This August, the moon will reach the closest point in its orbit of the Earth, giving us the eye-popping spectacle of an extra-large "super moon." Not in our lovely neck of the woods on August 10th this year?
Sometimes, a hostel is just a hostel. But when it comes to HI-USA's Northern California properties, sometimes a hostel is a trip back in time. From Marin to Montara, San Francisco to Sacramento, our hostels' walls have stories to tell.
Whether you're a history buff or a political junkie, a sun-worshipper or a locavore foodie, we've got a surprise destination that's perfect for you: Sacramento. Sure, California's State Capital may not get as much attention in the guide books as its more glamorous cousins to the north and south. But Sacramento's been quietly making a name for itself for well over a century: this is one the oldest cities in the state (with the architecture to prove it), the seat of California's government, and a magnet for chefs, farmers, artists, and musicians.
If you came to San Francisco this summer dreaming of a California heat wave, you might be a little confused. Sure, SF's proud of its quirky weather patterns, which tend to bring sunshine in the fall and winter and chilly fog in the summer. But there's nothing wrong with looking a bit further afield when you need a little Vitamin D.