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Exploratorium and Musee Mecanique, San Francisco

Yes, my holiday to San Fran was officially LIGHT YEARS ago but this is the very last batch of photos. Josh insisted we go to the Exploratorium – a museum squarely aimed at children, with tons of interactive displays about science, perception, illusions and so on. OK, I admit it, it was actually pretty fun for grown-ups too. (But wow, it was busy, I think we accidentally managed to go on some kind of public holiday.)

SF Exploratorium
SF Exploratorium
SF Exploratorium
SF Exploratorium
SF Exploratorium
SF Exploratorium

Another must-see for Josh was the Musee Mecanique, a huge collection of vintage and retro arcade games housed in a warehouse at Fisherman’s Wharf. I mostly watched and took photos :)

SF Exploratorium
SF Exploratorium
SF Exploratorium
SF ExploratoriumSF Exploratorium
SF Exploratorium

More photos on Flickr

Golden Gate park

Nearly done with the SF posts now! An afternoon walk in Golden Gate Park, featuring a cheeky squirrel friend and some unusual blooms..

Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate ParkGolden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park

San Fran lomo

Would you believe I still have a ton of photos I haven’t blogged from San Francisco, back in November? I’ll start with these crazy colourful ones taken on my Olympus OM10 with Lomography special-effects film (the red ones are Redscale and the pink ones are Tungsten).

SF lomo
SF lomo
SF lomo
SF lomo
SF lomo
SF lomo
SF lomo
SF lomo
SF lomoSF lomo
SF lomo
SF lomo
SF lomo

Not forgetting the now-customary ruined multiple-exposure films, thanks to my OM10 jamming instead of advancing.. into the repair shop he’s going.

SF lomo
SF lomo

Shopping in San Fran

San Francisco shopping

We got pretty lucky with the area of SF we stayed in: it was near lots of lovely streets full of shops and restaurants, as well as being adjacent to Japantown and not too far from both the coast and downtown. A little map I drew above, and here are snaps of some of the shops in the area.

San Francisco shopping
San Francisco shopping
San Francisco shopping
San Francisco shopping
San Francisco shopping

Fillmore Street is lined with pretty boutiques, with homewares, paper goods and ladies’ clothing featuring heavily (and many, many pet boutiques: this city loves its doggies). I spent far too long in Jonathan Adler, Paper Source and Nest sighing over things that wouldn’t fit in my case back home.

San Francisco shopping
San Francisco shopping

Right at the top of Fillmore is Williams-Sonoma, a foody heaven with jars of readymade pie fillings, cake decorations and bakeware. From there, turn onto Chestnut Street for some bigger stores like American Apparel, and wander back down Polk for more cute boutiques.

San Francisco shopping

Japantown, off Sutter Street, has a large Daiso (Japanese pound shop) and a smallish mall with a great English bookstore: heavy on design goodies and comedy pet books. Excellent.

San Francisco shopping
San Francisco shopping
San Francisco shopping

Alemany flea market

And a few more favourite shopping spots in other parts of town. On the first Sunday we caught the bus down to the Alemany flea market. It’s a decent size with a fair bit of nice vintage Americana amongst the usual tat. Afterwards we walked across 24th Street and the charming Noe Valley area, then turned onto Valencia Street to take us through the Mission district.

San Francisco shopping
San Francisco shopping

Valencia has a host of cool shops, including vintage, bookstores and little boutiques like the gorgeous Bell Jar. I loved San Fran’s bookstores too, which are usually cosily lit and a little ramshackle, with wooden shelves piled high and plenty of places to sit and browse.

San Francisco shopping
San Francisco shopping

Anthropologie, Market Street

If you follow Valencia right the way up, you’ll reach the main shopping drag, Market Street. I wasn’t all that impressed with the range of shops, but it did have Anthopologie and Urban Outfitters, and a slightly bizarre hybrid Westfield-Macys-Nordstrom megamall which had a cute Japanese stationery store as well as cool US brand Madewell.

San Francisco shopping
San Francisco shopping

Over to the east, the farmers’ market in the Ferry Building is a foody treat.

hello, Hello Lucky!

Hello Lucky, SF
Hello Lucky, SF

My favourite shop visit in SF had to be popping into the HQ of letterpress studio Hello Lucky and seeing their lovely team at work.

Hello Lucky, SF
Hello Lucky, SF

We saw the huge vintage letterpress machines in action downstairs…

Hello Lucky, SF
Hello Lucky, SFHello Lucky, SF

…before heading upstairs to see the in-house design and customer service team at work. We were shown some of their wedding invitation commissions and perused the rest of their gorgeous stock. Isn’t their studio pretty?

Hello Lucky, SF
Hello Lucky, SF
Hello Lucky, SF
Hello Lucky, SF
Hello Lucky, SF

Hello Lucky work with loads of illustration partners including my favourites Tom Frost, Kate Sutton and Lab Partners. I brought home one of these darling prints by Julia Rothman as well as a couple of Christmas presents.

I also didn’t realise until now that they have a London office (though all the work is done in SF) so if you’re in need of stationery or invitations, give them a bell or check out their wares in Liberty.