One Year Anniversary and San Franniversary
February 24, 2013 6:15 PM   Subscribe

What to do for a one year anniversary with my SO that is also a San Franniversary? Bonus points for photographer expertise and relaxing suggestions.

Me and my SO's one year anniversary is next Saturday, yay!!! Except we have planned nothing, boo!! We're mid-twenties tech-ish professionals in San Francisco who love music. This also happens to be the one year anniversary of me moving to San Francisco (he's been here 1.5 yrs) so it'd be cool to do something involving the city, but we've sort of done all the basic Golden Gate Park / Boat + Wine tours in the Bay / TCHO visit / Twin Peaks / etc. stuff.

Snowflakey things:

1. I was hoping to do get some professional photos taken in Dolores Park/The Mission/Lower Haight, but don't want it to be all mushy romantic looking (e.g. engagement photos), more lifestyley?? (Sometime in early March maybe, not necessarily day of). Recommendations WELCOME as I've never hired a photographer and have no idea how, or even what to ask them for.

2. SO's job has been ultra stressful lately, so relaxing ideas preferred.

3. We're not into spending tons of money on fancy restaurants, but interesting / new food experiences aren't out of the question.
posted by mokudekiru to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Some thoughts -

You say you've done GGP tours, but what about the various attractions within the park. Off the top of my head, I love to visit the Academy of Sciences, DeYoung, Japanese Tea Garden, and Botanical Garden. (The Conservancy of Flowers is cool too, but a shorter visit because it's not as extensive as the others listed.) An afternoon spent at one of these attractions + some picnicking/hanging out in the park could be fun (depending on weather, of course!)

Chilling out at Baker Beach + Battery Chamberlain demonstration. This depends on if one or both of you are history/military buffs, boyfriend and I found it to be really fun!

Ferry Building + hike up to Coit Tower. This is also a 'classic,' but a great one (I have done it multiple times and don't get sick of it!) and it's not on your list, so there you go!

Catch a movie at the Kabuki Theater in Japantown - reserve seats at one of the theaters that has extra comfy chairs + cocktails for a super relaxing time. Then there's plenty of fun wandering around to do in Japantown after.

If you guys are into fun desserts, try Candybar. It's a dessert/board games bar with seriously the wackiest (but also delicious!) desserts I've had + champagne cocktails (romantic!). They have some board games there, but you can also bring your own.

And if you haven't been, Mission Chinese - I feel like this is such a quintessential "San Francisco" place (also: DELICIOUS). Go early so you don't have to wait in line.
posted by rainbowbrite at 6:29 PM on February 24, 2013

Way touristy but I've heard great things about the night tour of Alcatraz, it's supposed to be creepy and atmospheric in a totally different way than the regular one.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:31 PM on February 24, 2013

Oh, also: this is more of a Bay Area-in-general thing than specific to San Francisco, but some of the most relaxing/awesome/fun days I've spent are going up to Napa and doing wine tasting. If this appeals, let me know and I can add some winery recommendations.
posted by rainbowbrite at 6:38 PM on February 24, 2013

If you like cocktails, head to Bourbon and Branch or one of their other cocktail bars. A reservation guarantees you your own table, it's dark and romantic, and the drinks are excellent.
posted by pombe at 6:47 PM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

There is an awesome Japanese bathhouse (called Kabuki) at the Japan centre shopping area. We met in Japan, and one of our favorite things to do when we visit SF is to go for great Japanese food, get snacks at the Japanese supermarket (movie theatre nearby), go to the bath house, Daiso (Japanese dollar store) and wander up Fillmore Street, etc.

The Alcatraz tour is, in fact, excellent.

I also like going up to Green Gulch for their community lunches - really yum food, beautiful garden, beautiful drive up etc... I've always just rocked up for lunch, and not gone to the meditation sessions or anything (though those are supposedly good too).
posted by jrobin276 at 7:08 PM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Tracy Wong was our wedding photographer, and she was awesome and is Bay Area based. Full-disclosure, she was a college friend, but that wasn't why we hired her. Her portfolio has a lot of lovey-dovey stuff in it, since, y'know, she shoots a lot of weddings and such, but I'm pretty sure that if you told her you wanted some great-looking shots of you guys just looking like normal people in the wild, she'll deliver in her professional, super-nice, and very approachable way.
posted by Diagonalize at 8:18 PM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Archimedes Banya in Bayview is my favorite place to relax. It's a Russian-style bathhouse, and as a bonus, the food in their cafe is way better than you'd expect from a place like that (try the borscht! Really!).

As for hiring a photographer, you want someone you feel comfortable working with. If you feel at all awkward, that will show in your photos. Generally photographers have an online portfolio you can look through, then if you like their work, call and describe what you're looking for exactly as you did in the post. You can ask the photographer to meet beforehand to discuss locations and style if you'd like. Expect to pay about $400-$500 for what you described from an experienced photographer, though you'll find people willing to do this for as low as $250, and very successful photographers may charge much, much more.

Memail me if you'd like specific recommendations - I have several good friends in SF who are professional photographers whose work I also thing is pretty great.
posted by psycheslamp at 9:33 AM on February 25, 2013

Response by poster: Just got back from Banya, it was AMAZING. So many kinds of saunas AND THEY HIT YOU WITH LEAVES!!! Plus you have to leave your phone locked in your locker, so it was very relaxing to be unplugged all afternoon. The food was great too.

Moving forward with a photo shoot with Tracy, so thanks Diagonalize and psycheslamp you nailed it!
posted by mokudekiru at 8:02 PM on March 2, 2013

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