Hip, Hip Hayes Valley

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Please welcome guest blogger Grier Cooper. After reading Grier’s post below, I’m ready to head to Hayes Valley to do some exploring.

Hayes Valley in San Francisco has blossomed into a cultural oasis with a plethora of hip boutiques, upscale restaurants, and an edgy art scene. In a quick stroll around the neighborhood, you’ll feel as though you are exploring the side streets of Paris. Not so long ago, Hayes Valley was one of those sketchy, somewhat seedy neighborhoods where you wanted to watch your back when walking at night. Now, it is a place you won’t want to miss.

Speaking of an oasis, Arlequin restaurant, at 384 Hayes Street, is just such a place. As both a cafe and a wine bar, it also houses a secret garden, nestled behind the cafe. While diners enjoy salads, paninis, or the highly recommended Indian lamb burger, hummingbirds and sparrows flutter overhead.

Dinner ought to be followed by drinks, dessert, and a stroll, not necessarily in that order. However, Sugar, 377 Hayes Street, offers a variety of delectable, sugar-rimmed cocktails in its sultry lounge, and Cafe Altano, 620 Hayes Street, makes a mean crème brulee and tiramisu.

Window shop to your heart’s content, but be sure to swing by the African Outlet, 524 Octavia Street. It’s impossible to miss, with one of the most alluring windows in the city, with African art, artifacts and treasures from every country on the African continent. Sake fans won’t want to miss True Sake, at 560 Hayes Street, where you can taste and purchase from the most extensive collection in town.

Whether you drop by for an hour or two before the opera, or make a day of it, Hayes Valley will have you coming back for more.

Grier Cooper is a California based children’s writer, photographer, and dancer. She draws on over twenty years of experience as a dancer, teacher and performer to create both fiction and nonfiction that inspires, educates and enriches the hearts and minds of her readers. Visit her at www.griercooper.com.

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