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One Day in Reno

If you are looking for something unusual and different, head to Reno.

After a very scenic drive over the Sierra Nevada mountain range we came upon Nevada’s second largest city. The former mining outpost of Reno is known as “The Biggest Little City in The World”. While a lot of people would argue that Reno has seen its best days, I would say the city still has a lot to offer.

We stayed in Reno for one day. Somehow, we felt like we had traveled back in time. In a way it felt like being in a movie set from the sixties. The neon lights of old fashioned casinos and clubs create an ambience that takes you back in time.

Eat Like a Local in Reno

Driving from San Francisco to Reno took us nearly four hours and by the time we got to Reno it was time to get some lunch.

We walked through the town to grab some lunch at Old Granite Street Eatery where we were served by a lovely local who gave us tips on what to see around town. The eatery has a great selection of draft beers and delicious snacks to share. Plus, they had great specials during happy hour!

The Old Granite Street Eatery in Reno
Best Restaurant in Reno

Other great restaurants are located along the river that runs through the town. We had dinner at Liberty, where the menu options ranged from pizza and burgers to pasta and small sharing plates. On weeknights most of the restaurants close early, around 8 and 9 pm so it’s better to head out for early dinner.

Another place that many recommended us was Great Full Gardens. The restaurant is famous for its broad selection of healthy snacks and meals. Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to check it out so we will leave that for next time.

Restaurants along the river in Reno

Things to See in Reno

I definitely recommend heading out at night when the casinos light up. The famous Reno Arch is particularly worth seeing after dark.

Reno Arch at Night

Street Art in Reno

The city also has some cool murals that are worth exploring. Reno is the closest city to Burning Man festival which is organized in Nevada desert every August. Burning Man is definitely one of the world’s quirkiest festival gathering people from all over the globe. You will be able to see some past art creations around downtown Reno.

Explore Reno’s Quirky Downtown

Reno might not be the shopping paradise, but it still has a great selection of funky shops and boutiques to every taste.

Other cool attractions include National Automobile Museum, Nevada Museum of Art, and of course the many casinos.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Reno surprised us with its interesting and somewhat mystic ambience. It is a great place to stop by for a day on your way to Lake Tahoe.

If you made it to Reno, make sure you don’t miss the historical Virginia City which lies just 26 miles from Reno. Virginia City is a true gem and definitely worth the visit!

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San Francisco to Santa Cruz via Highway 1 – The Top 5 Must Things to Do

Santa Cruz makes a perfect day trip from San Francisco. There are few different routes you can take down but the Pacific Coast Highway or more commonly the Highway 1 definitely offers the best sights and scenery along the way.

The distance from San Francisco to Santa Cruz is around 70 miles (112km). The drive down takes roughly two hours along Highway 1 but as there are so many cool places to see along the way, it’s good to reserve at least 3 hours for the drive.

1. Mavericks Beach

About 25 miles (40km) south from San Francisco you’ll find Mavericks Beach which lies just north of Half Moon Bay.

Mavericks beach is one of the most famous surf destinations in California as the waves here get enormous due to its unique location. Waves can get up to 16 feet high so it’s definitely not meant for beginners.

The best way to get to the beach is to park at Tide Pools parking lot and walk down the trail until you reach the open ocean.

2. Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Roughly 30 minute drive down from Half Moon Bay lies the Pigeon Point Lighthouse. Built in 1871, it’s the highest lighthouse on the west coast of US.

For those who love it here, there is an option to stay the night at a hostel which is right next to the lighthouse itself. Hike down the coast to get the best views of the lighthouse.

3. Pescadero Village

Many people tend to drive down Highway 1 without realizing there are great places to visit not far from the coastline.

Just a few miles inland from Highway 1 you get to experience a real old farming town feel at Pescadero Village .

This small town has a few great restaurants like Duarte’s Tavern which was first opened in 1894. This place has a proper classic American restaurant feel and the menu includes delicious seafood dishes, sandwiches, steaks and more.

The town has some nice artisan shops, antiques, and souvenir shops with local handicrafts.

4. Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Santa Cruz or “Surf City” is a great beach holiday destination or perfect for a day trip from Bay Area.

The best way to drive into the city is via W Cliff Drive where you get to see amazing coastal views while driving towards the Santa Cruz Wharf and the famous boardwalk.

The city is famous for the Beach Boardwalk Amusement Park. The best ride is arguably the 1924 built rollercoaster, the Giant Dipper.

5. Sunset at Natural Bridges State Beach

Santa Cruz is famous for its beautiful sunsets. One of the best spots to watch the sunset is the Natural Bridges State Beach.

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Angel Island – Perfect Day Trip from San Francisco

Looking to escape the crowds of San Francisco’s most popular tourist spots?

Angel Island is a perfect escape from San Francisco and just a short ferry ride away. It is definitely worth the visit if you want to hike, relax and enjoy some of the best views of the San Francisco Bay.

Ferry to Angel Island

There are few different ways to catch a ferry to Angel Island. If you are catching the ferry from San Francisco, head down to Pier 41. There are few different ferry companies operating the route and their timetables vary depending on the day and season. It’s recommended to check the timetable and buy tickets in advance. The ferry ride from San Francisco to Angel Island takes about 30 minutes and costs about $10 one way.

Alternatively, you can also get to Angel Island from Tiburon. The ferry ride from Tiburon to Angel Island takes about 12 minutes and costs about $12 (roundtrip).

The ferry ride was definitely part of the fun as you get to enjoy some great views of San Francisco city, Alcatraz Island, Golden Gate Bridge, and Sausalito.

Hiking on Angel Island

There are a few different hikes at Angel Island. I would say the Perimeter Loop is the best in case you want to see the historical sites of the island. The perimeter hike is 5.9 miles (9.5km) long and takes around 2.5h or longer depending on how much time you take discovering different sites around the island.

Another great way to explore the island is by hiking to the top of Mount Livermore. There are a few different trails you can take to hike up and most of the trails are marked as easy or moderate.

As we wanted to see as much of the historical sites as possible, we decided to walk along the Perimeter Loop.

Perimeter Loop

The Perimeter Loop has many historical sites, buildings, amazing views of the city, Golden Gate Bridge, and the rest of the Bay.

Often called the ” Ellis Island of the West” Angel Island operated as an immigration station between 1910 and 1940. The Immigration Point on the northeast corner of the island has a museum that tells the story of thousands of immigrants that entered US during that time.

We stopped along the way to enjoy some beautiful views of the Bay. The road is in pretty good condition and also perfect for bike riding.

Ferry from Angel Island to Tiburon

On the way back we took a ferry to Tiburon. Tiburon has a small town feel with lots of restaurants, cafes, and small boutiques. I will definitely get back to Tiburon next time to explore this cool town thoroughly!

Good to know before your trip to Angel Island

  • Check the ferry timetable as they can vary depending on the season
  • Wear layers. Situated in the middle of San Francisco Bay, you never know what kind of weather you are going to get.
  • Bring snacks! There is a cafe by the ferry pier but the opening hours are pretty limited.
  • Bring cash (at least if you are planning to take a ferry back to Tiburon as they only accepted cash for ferry tickets)

Angel Island makes a great day trip from San Francisco but there is also an option to stay the night as there are many camping sites around the island! So excited to do that on our next trip…

Any tips for camping on Angel Island?

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Day trip to Muir Woods

If you are planning a trip to Muir Woods from San Francisco, take this chance to visit some beautiful spots along the way! Muir Beach and Stinson Beach are both beautiful and definitely worth the detour!

>>Muir Woods ja sen ympäristö tarjoavat paljon muutakin kuin vaan upeat punapuumetsät. Muir Beach ja Stinson Beach ovat molemmat uskomattoman kauniita rantoja ja ehdottomasti vierailun arvoisia.

Muir Beach

Muir Beach is just about three miles from the actual Muir Woods forest. The beach offers beautiful views over the ocean, good surf, and a great spot to watch a sunset.

>>Muir Beach on vain noin viiden kilometrin päässä itse Muir Woods kansallispuistosta ja tarjoaa upeat näkyvät merelle, paljon surffareita ja mahtavan paikan katsella auringonlaskua.

Muir Beach Overlook

Just a few minutes north from Muir Beach lies the Muir Beach Overlook that offers some stunning view over the ocean.

>>Vain muutaman minuutin ajomatkan päässä Muir Beach rannalta sijaitsee Muir Beach näköalapaikka, mistä avautuvat upeat maisemat merelle.

Stinson Beach

Stinson Beach is a cute little seaside town that got nice restaurants, cafes, surf shops and of course a wonderful beach for families and surfers alike.

>>Stinson Beach on kiva pieni kylä vain 15 minuutin ajomatkan päässä Muir Beachilta. Kylässä on pieniä kivoja kahviloita, ravintoloita, surffikauppoja ja tietysti upea ranta, mikä sopii mainiosti sekä perheille että surffareille.

Muir Woods

Located just 17 miles north from the city, Muir Woods makes a perfect day trip from San Francisco .  No wonder it is among the most popular places to visit in San Francisco and naturally can get very busy especially during high season.

Good to know about Muir Woods: 

  • If you are planning to drive to Muir Woods, it’s highly recommended to reserve a parking spot beforehand. The reservation is $ 8 per vehicle.
  • The entrance fee is $15 per person. Kids under 16 have free access. 
  • Arrive at the time your reservation starts. Our parking reservation was at 3.30pm and getting there at 3.15pm they turned us away, that’s how strict it is, hah!
  • The best time to visit the park is later in the afternoon just before the park closes (5pm). We noticed that the park got a lot less crowded as it got closer to the closing time.
  • If you are not driving, you can book a shuttle that leaves from Sausalito, Marin City, and Mill Valley. The shuttle costs $3 per person.

>>Muir Woodsin kansallispuisto sijaitsee vain noin 30 kilometrin päässä San Franciscosta ja siten toimii täydellisenä päiväretkenä kaupungista. Muir Woods on epäilemättä yksi suosituimmista nähtävyyksistä San Franciscon alueella ja siten luonnollisesti houkuttelee paikalle paljon turisteja.

Hyvä tietää Muir Woodsista:

-Mikäli aiot ajaa autolla Muir Woodsiin, kannattaa pysäköintipaikka varata netistä etukäteen. Pysäköinti maksaa $8 per ajoneuvo.

-Sisäänpääsy maksu on $15 per henkilö. Alle 16-vuotiaat ilmaiseksi.

-Kannattaa saapua paikalle vasta silloin, kun parkkipaikan varaus alkaa (meidät käännytettiin pois kun saavuttiin vartti liian ajoissa paikalle.)

-Paras aika mennä puistoon on iltapäivällä ennen puiston sulkemista (klo 17), jolloin puistossa on todennäköisesti vähiten turisteja.

-Kansallispuistoon pääsee myös kätevästi bussilla. Bussit Muir Woodsiin lähtevät Sausalitosta, Marin Citystä ja Mill Valleysta. Bussimatkan hinta on $3.

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Long Layover at LAX Airport? Head Down to Manhattan Beach

So you just landed at LAX airport and your next flight is hours away.

This is exactly what happened to me last week. I had five hours to kill at the airport….

I’m sure no one enjoys spending time at airports and especially at LAX where you know you are actually very close to one of the greatest beaches of LA.

Manhattan Beach makes a perfect spot to kill time if you have a long layover at LAX airport.

Why Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach is definitely one of the most beautiful beaches in Los Angeles and it’s conveniently located just south of LAX airport.

The area has a cool small town feel with lots of small boutiques, cafes, bars, and restaurants. It’s actually really easy to forget that you are in LA as the vibe is completely different here than in other parts of the city.

Walk along Manhattan Beach Pier to enjoy some ocean views or grab a beer at one of the many bars of Manhattan Beach overlooking the beach. Make your way up the hill to explore some great shopping along Manhattan Beach Boulevard. There is something for everyone!

People seem to love being outdoors especially at Manhattan Beach where you are very likely to spot people either surfing, longboarding, jogging or just casually strolling along The Strand and Manhattan Beach Pier.

Plus! Manhattan Beach is famous for its gorgeous sunsets. If you have a chance, head down here before the sun goes down, it’s so worth it!

How to get to Manhattan Beach from LAX Airport

From LAX Airport to Manhattan Beach

The best way to get to Manhattan Beach is by Uber or Lyft. Make your way down to shared ride pick up area at LAX airport. The pick up area is just outside of the main airport building in a huge parking lot. You can either get there walking or catch a free shuttle from arrivals level.

Store Your Luggage Or Check Your Bags With Your Airline

All you need to do is either store your bags in one of the luggage storages near the airport, carry your luggage (not recommended especially if heavy), or check in your luggage in advance with your airline. Some airlines open their check in four hours before flight departure.

I ended up checking in my luggage over 4h before my flight giving me lots of time to head down to Manhattan Beach to explore.

Good to know before you go

  • There is no luggage storage at LAX airport due to security reasons. However there are some luggage storages just outside of the airport like Vertoe luggage storage.
  • The drive from LAX airport to Manhattan Beach is just 5.8 miles (9.3km) and generally takes around 20 minutes without traffic. It’s good to remember that LA is known for its heavy traffic so check the estimated ride time before heading to the beach.
  • The best way to get to Manhattan Beach is by Uber. LAX has a separate area fro Uber pickups. Check the exact location on the app.
Sunset at Manhattan Beach

I really hoped I could have stayed, the view was just spectacular. Well hopefully I’ll be back soon with more time to properly explore LA!

Meanwhile I would love to hear about some great tips for visiting LA?

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San Francisco Mission District – Top 5 Things to Do

Mission District is definitely one of my favorite neighborhoods in San Francisco!

This cool, hippy neighborhood with latino roots offers amazing murals, lots of bars, restaurants and of course, delicious Mexican food. I keep going back to Mission District all the time and especially when I have friends or family over in San Francisco. Most of the time I find that the time is very limited as there are just so many cool things to see in San Francisco.

To avoid wasting too much time wandering around the area in search for the coolest murals, I listed the top 5 things to see in Mission District.


Mission District on ylivoimaisesti yksi lemppari alueistani San Franciscossa. Missionin kaupunginosalla on latinojuuret, mahtavia seinämaalauksia, paljon hyviä baareja, ravintoloita ja parasta meksikolaista ruokaa.

Olen käynyt Mission Districtillä lukemattomia kertoja ja etenkin silloin, kun ystäviä tai perheenjäseniä tulee vierailulle San Franciscoon. Kaupungissa asuessani minulla on usein hyvin aikaa koluta nähtävyyksiä läpi moneen kertaan. Lomamatkalla tilanne voi kuitenkin olla aivan eri, sillä kaupunki tarjoaa niin mahdottoman paljon nähtävää. Monesti San Franciscossa vieraileva kokeekin juuri tämän ongelman – liian paljon nähtävää ja liian vähän aikaa.

Kokosin tähän postaukseen viisi parasta kohdetta Mission Districtin alueella, mitä ei mielestäni kannata missata!

1. Women’s Building

Women's Building, Mission District, San Francisco.
The building front of Women's building at Mission District, San Francisco.

Arguably one of the most beautiful murals in Mission District. Women’s Building is a non-profit community center for women located at 3543 18th street in Mission District.

Women’s building on varmasti yksi hienoimmista ja kuvatuimmista rakennuksista Mission Districtillä. Tämä kauniisiin seinämaalauksiin verhottu talo toimii naisten monitoimitalona ja kulttuurikeskuksena. Women’s Building sijaitsee osoitteessa 3543 18th street Missionin kaupunginosassa.

2. Clarion Alley

Artists playing at Clarion Alley

Painters, artists, murals, and more! Few block from Women’s building you will find Clarion Alley.

Muutaman korttelin päässä Women’s buildingistä sijaitsee Clarion Alley. Hienojen seinämaalausten lisäksi Clarion Alleylla näkee usein artisteja ja maalareita itse työssään.

3. Balmy Alley

Balmy Alley Murals

Located at 50 Balmy Street, Balmy Alley is filled with cool murals painted by various different artists.

Balmy Street on yhden korttelin pituinen taideteos monilta eri artisteilta. Näitä maalauksia pääset katsomaan osoitteessa 50 Balmy Street. 

4. La Taqueria

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Definitely the best Mexican food in San Francisco!

Due to its popularity, the lines can get pretty long. The place is closed Mondays and Tuesdays but if you love Mexican food and happen to be there on either of those days, there are plenty of other great Mexican places to choose from.

La Taqueria, omasta mielestäni San Franciscon ylivoimaisesti paras meksikolainen ravintola. Varaudu jonottamaan etenkin viikonloppuisin jolloin jonot ovat usein ulos asti. Taqueria on kiinni maanantaisin ja tiistaisin, mutta jos satut olemaan alueella juuri silloin, Missionin alueella on lukuisia muitakin hyviä meksikolaisia ravintoloita.

5. ….And More Murals

I just can’t get enough of these amazing murals, so I just kept walking around the neighborhood, they are literally everywhere! If you are tired of walking, another great way to explore the area is by bike.

Kaupunkilomilla tulee usein käveltyä pitkiä pätkiä, joten mikäli käveleminen väsyttää, kaupunkipyörä on myös kätevä tapa kiertää Missionin parhaat seinämaalaukset.

What are your favorite places to spot murals at Mission District?

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The Most Beautiful Hike in Colorado

I had no expectations about Colorado and we booked everything pretty much last minute so there was zero planning beforehand. Sometimes traveling to a new place without any expectations is the best way to go and that is exactly what happened this time…

We stayed at airbnb in a small town called Nederland. The location was perfect as it was just 30min drive from Boulder and close to so many great hikes. This photo was taken on our way to Rocky Mountains.

Dream Lake

I’ve always wanted to go hiking at Rocky Mountains National Park but I never imagined the views would be so spectacular.

We had heard about a hiking trail that leads to Dream Lake so we decided to do that on Saturday. The hike was moderate but we were not the luckiest with weather since it was snowing pretty much the whole time. I would highly recommend to bring layers and warm clothes, since the weather conditions can change very quickly.

Dream Lake, Colorado

Despite the freezing weather we had some beers while overlooking this amazing view.

Wild Basin

On Sunday the weather was so much better and we decided to hike the Wild Basin. The hike was beautiful and had so many cascades along the way like Calypso Cascades ja Ouzel Falls.

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