Fun stuff to do on a Sunday night in the San Francisco Bay Area
June 26, 2014 7:15 PM   Subscribe

I'll soon be flying to the Bay Area in order to attend a memorial service. My schedule is pretty structured for that weekend, but I'll have about five hours of free time (by myself) on a Sunday night. What's the best way to spend those hours?

The memorial service is in Berkeley and will end around 8:00 PM. I want to return to my motel by 1:00 AM at the latest. I'll have a rental car, so anything within a reasonable driving distance of Berkeley is fair game. And I'm not averse to walking.

I'd like to go to a restaurant that has some good vegan options, and I'd like to see whatever sights are likely to be open on a Sunday night. I'm not much of a partier, though it might be fun to have a drink in some fancy place with a nice view or something. Also, I'd like to dip my feet into the ocean (or Bay?) somewhere that's not too dark / dangerous at night.

Thanks for any suggestions.
posted by alex1965 to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This vegetarian Japanese restaurant in Berkeley has some good vegan options, this is a great veg diner, and across the street is a fancier option that I believe usually has vegan dishes as well. Have any specific food requests? There are plenty of other choices...
posted by three_red_balloons at 7:30 PM on June 26, 2014

Oh, forgot to say, if you want to go to the ocean, there shouldn't be too much traffic then, but it would still be probably about a 40 minute drive to get over to Ocean Beach (each way, so that might take up most of your night)...I'm not sure I'd really recommend any of the Berkeley parks by the Bay at night.

I love a little park called Indian Rock Park that has a great view of the Bay Area, up in the Berkeley Hills, which would give you a nice taste of what the old neighborhoods are like here. It's perfect at sunset.
posted by three_red_balloons at 7:35 PM on June 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Gather is a great restaurant that with quite a few vegan options. About ten minutes away from Gather on Oxford Street, there's Cinnaholic, a bakery that sells vegan cinnamon buns. I also really like Cafe Gratitude a lot, especially their cooked specialties and desserts.

Chez Panisse is a Berkeley institution, though they don't really cater to vegans. The restaurant only offers an unalterable tasting menu that changes daily, but there is a more casual cafe upstairs where you may be able to manage a vegan dinner by ordering a la carte. But I'd probably call ahead to make sure that the vegetable courses on the daily menu are vegan-friendly. It's a very lovely space though, and a good place to decompress at the end of the day.
posted by peripathetic at 7:58 PM on June 26, 2014

Cinnaholic will have been closed for an hour by the time the memorial service ends.

(It's worth noting that the Bay Area is not an especially late-night-friendly place in general.)
posted by wintersweet at 8:12 PM on June 26, 2014

Yes to Cha Ya and Gather, as listed in the first comment. Saturn Cafe is open late. All have great vegan options. I am not a Cafe Gratitude fan, but I do like Herbivore.
posted by gingerbeer at 8:19 PM on June 26, 2014

I love a little park called Indian Rock Park that has a great view of the Bay Area, up in the Berkeley Hills, which would give you a nice taste of what the old neighborhoods are like here. It's perfect at sunset.

Also lovely at sunset: the Berkley Rose Garden
posted by Room 641-A at 8:49 PM on June 26, 2014

For beach access late at night, Ocean Beach is best. It's a safer neighborhood than your other options, plentiful parking, and there's a 24-hour grocery store just across the way. The other beach access points are either super unsafe at night (Aquatic Park) or hard to access (Baker Beach) or locked up (China Beach.) I couldn't speak to Chrissy Field but it would be my 2nd choice based on what I know.

Be warned that it will be windy, foggy, and cold (the water is going to be hovering around 50F) and that Ocean Beach gets very dark due to long stretches between streetlights. And stay out of the park at night if you're on foot and alone. Other than that, have a good time! It's a different city at night.
posted by blnkfrnk at 10:02 PM on June 26, 2014

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