Somerston Wine Co. stocks its modern, ranch-style tasting room with casks reflecting the diverse yield of local vineyard blocks. Set taste buds to “sommelier” with a Highflyer wine tasting, which features 2-ounce samples of eclectic vintages including the fruity and floral grenache blanc 2009, the chocolate-toned Centerline 2007 red blend, and the cherry-laden pinot noir 2008. Two plates of artisanal cheeses, locally dried fruits, and pistachios, or local chef Chris Kollar's chocolates accompany sips of wine, which guests may nosh outdoors, on the rooftop terrace, or in the ranch’s replica bathysphere.
Nestled in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Area Discovery Museum entices children's inquiring minds with a host of exhibits modeled after the surrounding sea and city. The Wave Workshop lets kids explore the San Francisco Bay's ecology and test their own boat designs against simulated wind and waves. In the 2.5-acre Lookout Cove which overlooks the bay itself, a 23-foot-tall Golden Gate Bridge entices children to put on hardhats and help construct a giant model.
Largely self-taught, Shannon Jane Morgan has spent the last 19 years firing up her furnaces and creating delicate, one-of-a-kind works of glass art as the owner and founder of Girl Glass. Her pieces include gracefully curved vases; pigment-dappled paperweights; and whimsical, translucent pumpkins. During classes, Morgan shares her years of carefully cultivated expertise with students, delving into the nuances of molten glass with blowing and shaping tutorials.
Behind the Victorian columns of Crocker Art Museum’s 126-year-old gallery building, ornate galleries house works that span six continents and several centuries. In one of the first public art museums in the Western United States, the collection pays homage to the region’s cultural lineage with a robust Californian collection. The museum updated its look and tripled both its exhibit space and running time for games of hide-and-seek in 2010 with the addition of the Teel Family Pavilion, a 125,000-square-foot building that boasts geometric designs and sunlit rooms. The expanded gallery furthers the museum’s mission to function as a community hub by hosting a Thursdays 'til 9 program that lures in scholarly lecturers, film screenings, and live music. Art-history classes keep adults informed, and children’s programs inspire young artists to commit their creativity to canvas, rather than living-room walls or ephemeral Mr. Potato Heads.
ComedySportz, voted Best Comedy Club by KCRA’s A-List in 2009 and 2010, turns out quick-witted performers from classes helmed by experienced improvisers. Designed for students of any experience level, classes help people overcome social shyness and stress. Beginners get a feel for improv basics through games and exercises, learning the bones of scene structure and character development while exploring creativity and facing fears of speaking in front of audiences that are not stuffed animals. During the Intermediate 2A class, students with previous experience tackle the long-form style of improv juggernauts such as Second City and iO, and Intermediate 2B students revel in performance games common during ComedySportz and Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Each class aims to get students ready to create scenes, work with partners, and get out of tickets by saying, "OK, now I'm the police officer."
One of San Francisco's oldest cultural institutions, the de Young Museum has steadily expanded since it was built for the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894. It now stands among the country’s most-visited public art museums. The museum's painstakingly curated permanent collections chiefly fall into three categories: more than 1,000 American paintings from the 17th through 21st centuries; international textiles and costumes; and art from the Americas, Pacific, and Africa. The staff also curates a dynamic selection of visiting exhibitions that have featured photography, sculpture, and cultural artifacts. The museum’s architecture and grounds evolve right along with the collections, as natural materials such as copper, stone, wood, and old baseball cards age against the surroundings of Golden Gate Park.