Four Bay Area Places to Pause

With the daily challenges of living in a hectic, growing region, everyone can benefit from pausing occasionally and taking a breath. That “rest stop” might be found in the forest, on a rooftop with spectacular views or almost anywhere on the edge of the Bay.

Below we offer some of our favorites for getting away from it all, while remaining close to home.

Marina Park, Emeryville
3300 Powell Street
This seven and a half-acre park offers panoramic views of Oakland, San Francisco, the North Bay and portions of East Bay cities too. If you’re planning a specific outing, it also has picnic tables, barbecue grills, shoreline access and walking trails. Maybe pick up a meal from Public Market and enjoy it al fresco at this local gem of a public park.

Doe Memorial Library
UC Berkeley
The main library of Cal, Doe is located at the center of campus right in front of Memorial Glade. It is a beautiful work of architecture and a great place to escape fast-paced life. The main reading room is upstairs – a huge room with high, vaulted ceilings and rows of tables. An ideal place to read quietly and take a break from digital devices.

Stege Marsh along the Bay Trail in Richmond
For some of the best bird-watching in the area, head to this marsh just north of Point Isabel. Simply take the Bayview overpass across Interstate 580 from Carlson Boulevard, turn left at the four-way intersection, park in the cul-de-sac at South 51st Street, and then take the “secret” path leading to the trail. This is the Bay Trail, so walks can be as short or long as you want to tailor them. Keep an eye out for herons, egrets, avocets and other avian varieties feeding in the marsh. Download a map of the area here >

Grace Cathedral Labyrinth
1100 California Street
San Francisco CA
Perched on top of Nob Hill and surrounded by elite hotels and high-end condos, Grace Cathedral might seem a bit out of reach. But the trip is worth the effort.

The Episcopal cathedral features two labyrinths — one inside the cathedral and one just outside in the interfaith meditation garden — both patterned after the labyrinth laid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France more than 800 years ago. Slowly walking the single path towards the center can calm even the most chaotic minds.