Northern California is currently in the midst of a record-breaking heat wave--in January--but I know this won't last long. So I decided to compile a list of my favorite cold weather activities, so that when the inevitable chilly wind returns, I can sanely remember all the other reasons this region is so wonderful.
California Academy of Sciences--get there right at 10am to tour the rainforest, then head straight for the food court for almond butter and jelly sandwiches.
De Young Museum--If you don't want to pay to enter the museum (though you should, if nothing else than to see the exhibition of Pacific Islander art), then head straight up to the lookout tower.
MOMA--Besides a slew of rotating modern art and a kick ass store, this is my favorite rainy day spot. Hang out by the big windows and watch the rain fall, then feel hip as you tour the photography gallery.
Zeum--You don't need a kid to go play at this hands-on technology museum. Take your most exciting friend and sing karaoke and make clay-mation movies.
Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, an urban hike through the Mission, shopping in the Haight, eating your way through Chinatown, the Ferry Building, cuddling up with someone you love at the Red Vic Movie Theater.
Muir Woods--the redwoods are at their finest in cool weather.
Bay Area Discovery Museum--this is the top museum for kids in all of Northern California.
Albany Bulb--art lovers will enjoy a trip through this salvaged art lined trail with views of the bay.
Wander the streets of Los Gatos and Saratoga.
Big Basin, Felton Steam Train, Pez Museum, San Jose Tech Museum, whale watching tour, a beer at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Co.
Mud bath at Golden Haven.
Sip wine at the Martini House.
Get a massage and soak in a cedar enzyme bath at the Osmosis Day Spa.
Wine tasting, eating your way through Yountville, shopping in St Helena or Healdsburg, art gallery hopping in Sonoma.
North Coast (from Bodega Bay to Crescent City):
Walk on a quiet stretch of sand.
Visit the Mendocino Botanical Gardens.
Hike in the redwoods.
Visit the tattoo museum in Fort Bragg.
Have a crepe in Arcata.
Visit the train museum.
Take a bike ride along the river.
Ski, snowboard, ice skate, sled!!!
Sip hot cocoa at the Ahwahnee Hotel.
Soak in a Lake Tahoe hot tub.
Take a dip in natural hot springs in Mt Shasta City.
Pan for gold.
If you have any other cold weather ideas you'd like to share, I would love to list them here.