Explore Northern California, Part 1

Explore Norcal - Bixby 1

We stayed local to shoot our Fall catalog, and couldn’t have been happier about it. While shooting along the coastline and into our backyard of Marin, we kept thinking about our favorite spots to workout, take in the scenery, or grab a healthy bite to eat. Here’s our roundup of the essential fit, healthy, and active things to do in Northern California. (Part 2 coming next week – we’ll explore Marin, the East Bay, and Sonoma County!)

Big Sur

We began our Fall photo shoot along the coast of Big Sur and Carmel, enjoying the foggy mornings and beautiful ocean vistas. It’s a peaceful place, and a nature lover’s paradise!

Explore Norcal - Bixby


Located along the scenic cliffs of Big Sur, this stunning bridge is the perfect setting for one of our favorite marathons that starts here and ends in Carmel: The Big Sur International Marathon.

Explore Norcal - Bixby 2

Explore Norcal - Lighthouse


Built in 1889, this remote lighthouse is still navigating ships today. Take in the coastal views then explore nearby Andrew Molera State Park for 20 miles of breathtaking scenery.


The ultimate lunch-with-a-view experience. Stop by this historic cafe with a unique history (build mid-20th century) for a truly stunning landscape.

San Francisco

San Francisco residents know how to work hard and play hard, and they take full advantage of the beautiful cityscape. From workouts-with-a-view to only-in-San-Francisco events, here are some of our favorites.


Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, this stretch of beach, grassy fields, and marsh land offers a wealth of outdoor enjoyment. With the Golden Gate Bridge looming in the background, tourists and San Francisco residents alike are running, playing soccer or volleyball, or swimming, sailing, and SUPing in the water. Windy days see the ocean dotted with kiteboarders. (Presidio)


In a city that fully embraces yoga, and the yoga lifestyle, there’s a myriad of studios to choose from. We love the donation-based Yoga to the People, a studio that welcomes newbies and experienced yogis alike. (Mission and Berkeley)

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The annual race is a uniquely San Francisco experience, blending serious runners and a costumed crowd more likely associated with Mardi Gras or Carnivale than a race. Running from the Embarcadero (the Bay) to the Pacific Coast (the Breakers), the route is a rowdy 7.46 miles.


Delicious juice in the Mission District – you can’t go wrong! Happy Moose serves cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices and nut milks, made with organic and local ingredients. (Mission)


It’s a stair machine with an incredible view! Located on Lyon Street, between Broadway and Green in Pacific Heights, the steps are constantly abuzz with runners. Making it to the top awards you a stunning view of the San Francisco Bay, Palace of Fine Arts, and Golden Gate Bridge. Just kindly sidestep the tourists who stop at the top to take in the view! (Pacific Heights)



You might think of mobsters and prison when you hear Alcatraz, but every June a different crowd of people escape from “The Rock” during the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon. Consisting of a 1.5 mile swim, 18 mile bike ride, and 8 mile run, the triathlon has become a staple for the city. (Marina)


It doesn’t get much healthier than Nourish Café. Founded by 3 friends who met at a fitness bootcamp, the restaurant offers a plant-based menu with salads, fresh juices, smoothies, sandwiches, and more. With an entirely organic menu, the café sources ingredients from local farms. (Richmond)


Yosemite may be several hours away, but rock-climbing aficionados get their belay on at this gym in the Presidio. With 25,000 square feet of climbing and bouldering terrain, fitness, and cardio areas, plus two yoga studios, it’s one of the best gyms in San Francisco. (Presidio)


A Japanese vegan restaurant in the heart of the Mission. Comfort food that doubles as a healthy meal – we’re sold! (Mission)


With five studios in Northern California (including a newly opened Castro Street location!), the motivational workout space is a local favorite. High-energy music and enthusiastic instructors have generated a loyal following among riders. Take a ride in Palo Alto, SoMa, Castro, the Marina, or Marin!


There are so many different boot camps in San Francisco, taking full advantage of the weather and the amazing outdoor spaces. From great workouts in Golden Gate Park, to running stairs or trails, taking a boot camp class is sure to get you outside and enjoying the city.


Stunning views make this trail a destination for many in the city. Curve along the coastline to get a magnificent view of the Pacific and see the Golden Gate Bridge from a new Perspective.


For the kid in all of us, head to House of Air for a truly fun workout. The giant warehouse space is almost entirely covered in wall-to-wall trampolines. Whether you want to jump around and practice tricks, or take an organized workout class, you’re sure to leave rubbing muscles you didn’t know existed. (Presidio)


A gorgeous space with equally yummy food, Gracias Madre has a commitment to sourcing sustainable, local, and organic food. (Mission)


Seasonal produce, 100% organic and local, free range, and sustainable – the building blocks of The Plant’s menu. You can find fresh juices and smoothies, pastas, poultry, and fresh seafood, along with house-made pastries. Stop by locations in downtown, Embarcadero, Marina, Burlingame, Mill Valley, Dogpatch, and Montgomery.

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Valerie Cannon

August 10, 2015 at 8:46 am

I know you think Big Sur and San Francisco are in Northern CA, but there is ~500 miles of CA stretching North of SF. SF is actually in central CA (especially Big Sur). It gets more and more beautiful the further north you go.

D Joost

August 11, 2015 at 11:20 pm

I agree with Valerie. I was expecting more Redwoods and mountains. 🙂 These are gorgeous locations, though! I adore Big Sur, Monterey, and that whole area.

D Joost

August 11, 2015 at 11:20 pm

Oh, I’m seeing that this is Part 1, so maybe Part 2 will take us farther north!


August 20, 2015 at 2:05 pm

The Bay Area is considered Northern Ca


August 29, 2015 at 6:34 am

where is part 2?


October 02, 2015 at 7:16 am

Still wondering if there is a part 2??? said out next week but it’s been much longer… Where can i find it??

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