Kristin Farmer Tells Where To Take Your Children In San Francisco

Kristin Farmer gives you some fun suggestions of where to take your kids in San Francisco for a fun, cultural adventure.

Photo taken from Alcatraz with red flowers and the Golden Bridge in the background - Photographer Aces Kristin Farmer All Rights Reserved

San Francisco’s Exploratorium is a smorgasbord of creative experimentation for kids. Part of the Palace of Fine Arts, this large, two-story warehouse provides a variety of educational inventions, ranging from floating beach balls to a sand conveyor belt to a huge tactile dome. Kids are able to explore science concepts such as electricity, energy, light, sound, and motion.

The San Francisco Zoo is a spectacular place to take kids, and it has recently completed renovation to make it one of the best children’s zoos in the country. New additions include a meerkat and prairie dog exhibit and a petting zoo so kids can interact directly with animals.

The Walt Disney Family Museum. The museum details the life and works of the famed animator with both permanent and rotating exhibits. Features include early drawings and movies, music listening stations, and a 13-foot model of Disneyland.

The Randall Museum of San Francisco is located in the center of the city. This favorite gives kids a large variety of activities including a scale model of a caboose to climb on. The urban rail exhibit lets kids guide their train through models of San Francisco landmarks.

San Francisco’s Aquarium of the Bay may be smaller than San Francisco’s notable California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but that makes it ideal for younger kids who don’t want to walk as far. It also has a series of undersea tunnels that can be explored by foot or on moving sidewalks. The petting pools let little ones touch anemones, starfish, rays, and small sharks. For an additional $10, you can explore the catwalks above the tanks. Call in advance to book spots and for additional information.

Just across the Bay Bridge, you’ll find the Oakland Museum of California. This is a great place to make learning history fun for kids. The large chalkboard entrance encourages visitors to write their answers to a topical question, draw a picture, or just scribble their name. Rotating art exhibits bring the courtyard to life. Inside the museum are galleries for Art, History, and Natural Sciences. On Family Sundays, they offer events such as storytelling and arts and crafts.

Alcatraz: While you may wonder whether taking children to a former prison is a good idea, there is plenty to offer for children. Just keep in mind that they may be interested in different aspects, such as the ferry ride, the views of surrounding towns, the abundance of birds and flowers, and the island’s steep hill.

The Asian Art Museum is the largest museum in the Western World dedicated exclusively to Asian art and culture. The permanent collections span 6,000 years and more than 40 Asian countries.

About the author: Aces Kristin Farmer has many roles in her life: family member (mother, daughter, sister), friend, business executive, and role model for women. Aces Kristin Farmer is also a fearless advocate for individuals with autism. Her dedication and commitment to service make her an inspiration for many.

Realtor Patrick Belhon Maintains Positive View of the 2014 San Francisco Real Estate Market

The 2014 San Francisco real estate market is projected to be the top performer among the top 20 real estate markets in the United States.

By Patrick Belhon
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Tight inventory and strong demand, especially for commercial properties, will help drive prices higher in the strong and flourishing local economy.

In 2013, sellers of residential real estate in San Francisco and the Bay Area of California did very well. Low inventory levels and high demand for homes in all price ranges led to the most desirable homes being snapped up as soon as they hit the market. Competition led to many homes being sold for more than their asking price.

The high price of San Francisco real estate did not dissuade buyers from entering the market. The luxury market did particularly well with more than 350 homes and 120 condos selling in excess of $2,000,000. Foreign investors helped to contribute to the demand for both moderately priced and luxury residences.

Commercial real estate also performed well in San Francisco and the entire Bay Area. Thanks to the strong economy in the region, demand for office space outstripped supply, leading to higher prices. According to a 2013 report by CBRE, a Fortune 500 commercial real estate company based in Los Angeles, the San Francisco business district (greater downtown area) had 5.7 million square feet of vacant office space and there was a demand for 6.3 million square feet of downtown office space.

What will 2014 look like?

Forecasts for 2014 residential real estate in most of the Bay Area neighborhoods are positive. While sale prices can vary significantly by neighborhood and type of home, on average, home prices are expected to increase by 6-8 percent in 2014. Inventory levels are still tight and are only expected to reach more normal levels by the end of the year or early in 2015. Foreclosures are down and continuing to go down. Mortgage rates show very little change and are expected to stay under 5 percent for the year.

San Francisco is experiencing a net influx into its population ranks. More people are moving in to the city than are migrating out of the city. The opportunity for work in high-paying fields such as technology, banking and insurance, is likely to result in an overall job growth rate of 2 percent for 2014.

San Francisco earns number 1 ranking in real estate

A highly-regarded report entitled Emerging Trends in Real Estate – 2014, was published in 2013 by PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) and ULI (Urban Land Institute) that gave valuable insight into the top 20 real estate markets in the United States. San Francisco finished number 1 in the overall rankings.

The study interviewed and surveyed more than 1,000 industry professionals. Included among the respondents were investors, mutual & pension fund managers, developers, property companies, lenders, brokers, advisers and consultants.

Consensus opinion was that San Francisco will continue to be a very good place to invest in both residential and commercial real estate. Private home ownership is expensive, but the prospects are good that prices will continue to rise throughout the year. According to the experts, commercial real estate has the potential to outperform residential real estate (more demand & price appreciation) in 2014.

Respondents were asked to give their opinion on the performance of the different segments of the San Francisco commercial real estate market. The question asked was whether you would buy, hold or sell a particular type of commercial property.

Hotels: 55.6% would buy – 24.4% would hold – 20.0% would sell
Industrial: 54.2% would buy – 37.29% would hold – 8.47% would sell
Retail: 50.8% would buy – 32.5% would hold – 16.7% would sell
Apartments: 49.0% would buy – 20.4% would hold – 30.6% would sell
Office Buildings: 45.0% would buy – 30.9% would hold – 24.2% would sell

If you define a positive outlook on commercial real estate as either buying property or holding on to property you already own, these statistics are clearly bullish for investors.

• Hotel segment: 80% positive outlook
• Industrial segment: 91.31% positive outlook
• Retail segment: 83.3% positive outlook
• Apartment segment: 69.4% positive outlook
• Office building segment: 75.9% positive outlook

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Things to do in January 2014 in Santa Clara: South Bay Home & Garden Show

Screen shot 2013-10-08 South Bay Home & Garden ShowEarly in new year, the air in Northern California is cool and crisp. Your New Year’s resolutions are still fresh in your mind. Will you be able to lose those extra 30 pounds? Are you really going to sell your BMW and replace it with a really cool Tesla? Well one resolution you can make is to attend the January, 2014 South Bay Home & Garden Show at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

Mark your calendars for the January 10-12, 2014 South Bay Home & Garden Show. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, just south of San Francisco, the Santa Clara Convention Center is easy to find. It is just a short drive from almost any place in and around the area. From San Francisco, the Convention Center is located just off Interstate 101 at 5001 Great American Parkway in Santa Clara.

The Santa Clara Convention Center is a modern facility that hosts a variety of events throughout the year. The 302, 000 square feet of covered space is more than big enough to allow all of the vendors and exhibitors to bring in the latest and greatest products and display them for you to see.

As one of the premiere home shows in the entire state of California, you can expect to see leading experts in the home improvement industry. Professionals will be on hand to discuss the latest new products and trends for your home. You will be able to ask them questions and pick their brains for ideas to improve both the inside and the outside of your house.

Although the organizers of the South Bay Home & Garden Show aim this event at the professionals who run city parks, own landscaping companies and are involved in designing and installing outdoor structures, the show is also appealing to homeowners.

During the three days that the big show takes place, there will be many new and exciting exhibits to see. While far from being all that you will see, the following list will give you an idea of some of the things that will be on display.

• Decorative greenery
• Garden equipment
• Hand and power tools designed for outdoor projects
• Biological and chemical products
• Greenhouses
• Lighting – solutions for both indoor and outdoor lighting
• Systems for more efficient watering
• Building a beautiful and functional garden area
• How to grow flowers all year long
• Equipment for playgrounds and parks

You will also get to see some things you probably never saw before.

• Bee-keeping
• Mushroom growing
• Plants that can be grown for medicinal purposes

Whether you are a pro looking to find the best kind of machine for maintaining acres of grassland or a homeowner who would like to have a gazebo installed down by the lake in your backyard, you are sure to find an expert who can help you out. If you are visiting San Francisco, Mountain View, or any other place in or around Silicon Valley, it is worth taking a trip to attend the January, 2014 South Bay Home & Garden Show.

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What People Do To Have Fun In San Francisco: Touring, Exploring, Adventures…

Inside Cafe downtownSan Francisco’s many neighborhoods provide a rich diversity of culture and unique beauty that keeps this city among the top must-visit destinations in America. The City by the Bay can make for an exciting trip, but visitors should be forewarned that it is not easy to explore its complex geography by car; a knowledge of the public transportation system is helpful. Fortunately, the city’s Muni (short for municipal transportation) offers multiple ways to get around, including the iconic cable cars as well as buses and trains. It should also be noted that there is no shortage of taxis here. When it comes to fun, there are many options as each neighborhood offers its own ways for visitors to enjoy themselves.

Golden Gate Park – Exploring Nature and the Arts in the Bay Area

From its museum to its gardens, this park alone may be worth the trip. Golden Gate Park occupies more than 1,000 acres and offers a wide assortment of fun and interesting things to explore, including the California Academy of Sciences.

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The Academy is housed in a 400,000 square foot facility and includes an aquarium and planetarium as well as a rainforest that is over four stories tall. The park also has the Conservatory of Flowers which provides exhibits of different types of plant life, ranging from aquatic varieties to various types of potted plants. The Conservatory of Flowers includes a 60-foot Victorian greenhouse and has almost 2,000 plant species. There is a Japanese Tea Garden that is a leftover from the late 19th century when the park was built and there is also a historic carousel that is open to both children and adults. For those interested in the arts, there is the De Young Museum which aims to provide a variety of high quality art exhibitions. The park is the perfect place to picnic, but visitors who want restaurant dining will have no trouble finding eating establishments in its vicinity that serve everything from Irish pub food to middle eastern dishes.

Touring Alcatraz – Sightseeing on “The Rock”

Alcatraz Island is home to what is possibly the most well-known abandoned prison in the world. Its notoriety is partly due to it having been the home of notorious criminals like Al Capone and Machinegun Kelly. It is interesting that despite its reputation as a place of desolation, its location in the bay is actually quite beautiful. Visitors can tour the interior of the facility day or night, with the day tour being the more popular option. While on the tour, they can choose to listen to an audio recording that will help them learn about the island and its history. Because the tour is so popular, it may be best to visit Alcatraz in the winter when the crowds are not quite as large.

People having fun in San Francisco

Beauty at SFMOMA – Enjoying the Arts at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

The thriving arts scene is among the reasons that this city is such a popular destination. Visitors with an interest in art can follow up their visit to Golden Gate Park’s De Young Museum with one to SFMOMA. The museum started life as the first on the West Coast to be exclusively dedicated to modern art and continues that tradition today with four floors of works by notable modern artists like Jeff Koons and Piet Mondrian. There are more than 27,000 artworks housed in the building, so SFMOMA may take up a considerable amount of time for a serious art lover. The types of art range from paintings and photographs to a variety of design objects. Visitors may opt for an audio tour or use one of SFMOMA’s interactive kiosks to help them navigate. For those who want a souvenir of their time exploring the museum, there is a museum-store that sells a variety of art books; the store also sells furniture and products for children. There is a café on site that provides fine dining and which has both indoor and outdoor seating. Upcoming exhibitions in 2013 include ones by Garry Winogrand and Ben Kinmont.

Tug/Boat in the bayDiscovering San Francisco’s Legendary Waterfront – Fun on Fisherman’s Wharf

An iconic destination, this waterfront neighborhood is the home base of San Francisco’s fishermen as well as the location of many of the Bay Area’s best seafood restaurants. In addition to the restaurants, the local sights include the sea lions at Pier 39 and the Maritime Museum. The museum has historic vessels and a research center. That this is one of the most popular Californian destinations for tourists can be seen in its many souvenir shops and wax museums. There is also the Ghirardelli Square chocolate factory and many events throughout the year at which visitors can enjoy themselves.

Rediscovering the 60s – Adventures in “The Haight”

The Haight is actually comprised of two communities: Haight-Fillmore and Haight-Ashbury. Considered the birthplace of the 1960’s American counter-culture movement, this neighborhood has changed considerably since then; in 2013 it features upscale shopping and trendy cafes. Despite the fact that the ’60s are long gone, it is still possible to find its remnants here in a few smoke-shops and hippie-influenced stores. However, the population these days is generally young and focused on fashion; the neighborhood is known for its thriving nightlife and music scene. The Haight’s atmosphere is relaxed, despite the proliferation of hipsters and vintage clothing boutiques; visitors may want to avoid touring on the weekends as it is usually crowded with tourists. Among the enjoyable places here are Buena Vista Park which offers 36 acres of forest with trails for hiking and jogging. There is also the Grateful Dead House, which is where the legendary band lived together in the 60s.

A Taste of the Exotic – Trekking Through Chinatown

Though many visitors may find it hard to believe, this relatively small neighborhood (geographically speaking) is actually the largest Chinese community outside of China. It has its own unique feel and energy and is a must-visit destination for those traveling to the Bay Area. Started by immigrant workers who came to America to help build railroads, this community of over 100,000 people provides a taste of Chinese culture with its pagoda-style roofs and delicious authentic food. The best course of action to experience Chinatown is to not have one at all; visitors should simply walk along randomly exploring the shops and soaking up the atmosphere.

Tourist reading a book near the water

San Francisco’s diversity is evident even in its climate as neighboring parts of the city can sometimes experience dramatic differences in weather. All of that diversity is packed into a relatively small space, measuring roughly six square miles; this means it is easier to take in than those cities that are spread out over a larger area. For those who seek a 2013 vacation trip that will provide a variety of different experiences for those with different tastes and interests, San Francisco is one of the best places to visit.

Articles/Photos/Graphics Copyright ©2013 – All Rights Reserved peoplelovesanfrancisco.wordpress.com

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Why Tourists Love San Francisco

When it comes to San Francisco, what’s not to love? It’s a beautiful city rich with iconic sights from the Golden Gate Bridge to cable cars running along hilly streets to the island prison Alcatraz that have embedded themselves in the imaginations of people who have never even visited through movies, televisions and photographs. Therefore, in many ways, it feels familiar to visitors on arrival.

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In addition to the familiarity of some of its most famous sights, San Francisco has attractive and walkable neighborhoods that are appealing for tourists. In North Beach, they can wander from the City Lights bookstore made famous by the Beat Generation poets and writers to one of the many excellent Italian restaurants in the area. At Fisherman’s Wharf, there’s seafood to eat, sea lions to watch on piers and a ferry to Alcatraz.

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The Haight is famous for being a central spot for hippies to gather in the 1960s and for the Summer of Love in particular. Nob Hill is lined with Victorian houses and gorgeous views of the city while San Francisco’s Chinatown is justifiably famous as both the oldest Chinatown in North America and the largest Chinatown outside of Asia. Each of these districts and several others are good places for tourists to simply wander and take in the atmosphere.

Tourists

San Francisco also has much to offer tourists who enjoy museums, sports or the outdoors. Some of the more popular museums include the Asian Art Museum, the Exploratorium and the exhibits at the California Academy of Sciences. A number of museums can be found in SoMa or the South of Market area. Also in SoMa is the AT&T Park, home of the legendary San Francisco Giants baseball team. Finally, outdoors enthusiasts enjoy the many parks in the area particularly the sprawling Golden Gate Park that includes an arboretum, a conservatory and a Japanese tea garden.

famous sights in San Francisco-oldstreet

Known for its eclectic, funky locals and a long history associated with counterculture art and politics, San Francisco is a fun and fascinating city for tourists. It’s easy to get around the place using public transportation or by walking and there is something to do for nearly every interest. It is justifiably one of the popular tourist destinations in North America.

San Francisco cable car view from back

These photos are royalty free images with no charge generously donated by Caminoinn(dot)com.
We grant anyone the right to use those 5 pictures for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

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Best Locations in San Francisco for a Wedding

A wedding is the most important ceremony for a couple because it signifies their everlasting love; therefore, making sure that the event is memorable is highly important. San Francisco is the perfect place to get married because it is filled with beautiful venues, and it has a pleasant climate.


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Checkout the list of the best wedding locations in San Francisco:

1. San Francisco City Hall: This building is absolutely stunning: its grand staircase is the perfect backdrop for the ceremony, the flooring glistens in the light and the details in the building are splendid. This venue is available for rentals from 4pm in the afternoon until midnight.
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2. Bently Reserve: The Bently Reserve was built in 1924, so it has details from that era. This venue is perfect for a wedding because of the glamorous feel of the building. Some of the features of this venue include the following: 34-feet tall ceilings, a stunning marble staircase and several nearby churches. In addition, this venue is capable of hosting 600 guests for the reception.

3. Swedenborgian Church: This church is the best option for a couple who prefers a low-key wedding instead of an over-the-top ceremony. This venue is perfect in its simplicity, and it has plenty of charmand character thanks to the rustic architectural touches and homey details. The church was built in 1895 by a group of talented professionals. This venue can’t hold a lot of guests, so it’s perfect for a smaller scale wedding.

4. The Legion of Honor: Truly a work of art, this venue resembles an enchanted forest thanks to its array of lighted tree sculptures. In addition, there are rooms in this venue where there are plenty of gorgeous sculptures. This venue can seat 225 guests in the indoor area and 400 guests in the outdoor area.

5. Maritime Museum: The Maritime Museum is a great option for couples who want to put a nautical touch to their wedding. The building was built in 1931, and it has a unique design concept: it was made to mimic an ocean liner vessel. This venue is in close proximity to water, so it has wonderful views from the interior of the building. Other selling points of this venue include a lovely outdoor patio, unique details and plenty of nearby churches. The Maritime Museum is capable of fitting 430 people in seating arrangements, and it can hold 700 people standing.
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San Francisco Real Estate Market in 2014

The real estate market in San Francisco is trending towards recovery. The inventory is dwindling, and the home prices are increasing, but pundits warn potential investors that the housing market, in general, will not recover until 2014. According to a survey conducted, Americans believe that the recovery of the overall housing market is two and half years away. Here is what potential investors should know prior to making an investment.

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Foreclosures and the San Francisco Real Estate Market

The housing market is in jeopardy because of foreclosures primarily. This crisis has discounted houses by 46 percent in California and 35 percent all over the nation. When there are a significant number of foreclosures on the market, this forces the prices down on other properties.

In general, there is a two-year supply of bank-owned properties available. Typically, California homes require 600 days before foreclosure occurs. Since the process takes a considerable time, home buyers will begin witnessing homes in foreclosure that began the process almost two years earlier. This is why pundits speculate that the housing market will not show strong signs of recovery until 2014.

The large number of foreclosures is what keeps the prices low and also, keeps new construction at a minimum. San Francisco’s problems stem from the lack of inventory and the inability to find affordable properties. Inventory has reduced by 57 percent, and prices have increased by 25 percent. When cash buyers come into play, finding an affordable property becomes even more difficult. Short sales are also growing in popularity, but it creates a problem in the San Francisco housing market.

Future Housing Expectations and Policy Changes

Pundits are expecting to sell the rest of the distressed inventory in 2013 and into 2014. Then, there will be signs of recovery. One circumstance that may impede this process is the housing policy changes. Currently, 96 percent of all mortgages are originating from FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. There is also a considerable number of cash-paying investors.

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The conversations on Capitol Hill may affect the number of mortgage arising from these organizations. The Dodd-Frank bill is one to watch. Without mortgages, there will be no housing market. The United States housing market is close to hitting rock bottom. Thus, this is the best time to buy before the prices start to recover and remain steady, but pundits do not expect the entire market to recover for another 18 months.

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