walking trail surrounded by trees

BlogStaff Picks

  • See History Through its Homes

    November 05, 2018

    Octagonal homes were once the rage, but the fad faded and so did most of the 8-sided abodes. A few remain, including the aptly named Octagon House. Built in 1861, the house now serves as an architectural treasure and art museum. Take the historic home experience to the next level by spending a night at Victorian icon turned bed and breakfast, The Chateau Tivoli. The home, residence to the owner of the renowned Tivoli Opera House, was frequented by famous turn of the century opera stars. In 1886 Sarah Winchester moved into a simple farmhouse near San Jose. Haunted by the victims of the Winchester Repeating Arms company, Sarah continuously built onto the house until her death in 1922. Today, Winchester Mystery Mansion stands as a massive maze ready to confuse ghosts and visitors alike!

  • The Bay Area's Best Roasters

    October 01, 2018

    The Bay Area has no shortage of that precious bean that brings beauty to life—coffee. There are enough roasters in the region to try a new one each week, but here are some of the top ones to start with. As a pioneer in new brew methods, Ritual Coffee samples each batch multiple times to make sure every sip you get is perfection because coffee isn’t just for caffeine. Chromatic Coffee Co. has consistently ranked as one of the best roasters in the Bay Area. The ethically focused company, with beans sourced from diverse countries like Ethiopia and Brazil, offers a subscription option so you never have to run out. Four Barrel Coffee isn’t afraid to push boundaries to bring its customers the best brew around. From a tight-knit team spirit to international red-eye flights to pick up vintage equipment, Four Barrel takes its roasting role above and beyond. Kick off SF Coffee Week and sip samples from all these and more at the 3rd annual San Francisco Coffee Festival!

  • Embrace the Bay Area's Natural Beauty

    September 03, 2018

    With more than a handful of national parks and monuments in the Bay Area, it isn’t hard to escape when you need a break from the bustle of the city. Begin in the deep Redwood Forest at the Muir Woods National Monument. As protected land since 1908, Muir Woods is the perfect sanctuary to stroll along its six miles of trails or sign up for a workshop intensive. Take to the beaches in Tennessee Valley, part of the greater Marin Headlands. Pack a picnic for the cove, hike the Tennessee Valley Trail and keep an eye out for the wild inhabitants—like deer, coyote, and bobcats—who call the area home. Make your way to the top of Mount Tamalpais for top-mark views of the San Francisco Bay, Marin Country Hills, East Bay and occasionally the Sierra Nevada. Attend the astronomy program and stay in a rustic cabin to star-gaze through the night.

  • Plant-Based Dishes Bring Diner's Delight

    August 06, 2018

    Food trends are tracing their way across the country right now, but some cities cater more to customized cuisine choices than others. San Francisco, the base of the Bay Area where 40% of the land is dedicated to farming, serves up a strong plant-based food scene. For vegans or those vested in the fruits and veggies life, check out these top restaurants in the San Fran area. Indulge in desserts—such as cardamom rose cake or gluten-free chocolate peanut butter crinkles—at Ananda Fuara, meaning “fountain of delight.” Savor some of the best Buddhist and kosher-based Chinese food in the states—according to CNN Travel’s Best American Chinese Restaurants of 2017—at Enjoy Vegetarian Restaurant. Or, get a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Fran Bay as you dig into classic vegetarian creations at Greens Restaurant—named one of the top 25 restaurants in the Bay Area!

  • Summer Streets Bring Festivals and Fairs

    July 02, 2018

    Summertime in the city is the best time to set out and explore all the festivals and fairs filling up the streets. Embrace ethnicity at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival where traditional dancers from more than 20 countries—such as Cambodia, Egypt, and Haiti—showcase their cultures. Support a good while imbibing in life’s simple pleasures at the Breastfest Beer Festival. All proceeds go toward helping women fight breast cancer. Hit the pavement of the Mission for Sunday Streets and take in community bonding with live music, family-friendly activities and closed streets so you can wander at will. Join the French in celebrating Bastille Day at the free festival, which features all things French—food, wine, and entertainment. Get to the Renegade Craft Fair where you can buy carefully crafted furniture, jewelry, clothing and more from hand-picked creatives. Slow down as you walk the city’s streets to see what other fairs you may stumble across!

  • Bring in Summer with Local Brews and BBQ

    June 04, 2018

    When the cravings for hops strikes, head into the city to celebrate summer with the refreshing tastes of locally brewed beer. Family owned Original Pattern Brewing Company offers tastings and collaborations with local food vendors almost every night of the summer. Each Sunday through July, Sticky Business Barbeque will hold pop-ups to bring the classic combination of BBQ and beer. Savor salmon wraps and fried shrimp from Culinary Cruiser Food Truck while listening to DJ Melody spin vinyl. Food nights also include tacos, sliders, and dumplings. For other beer opportunities, check out State Room Brewery and bar for weekend brunch with bottomless mimosas or try their fully loaded house burger. Find Indian Valley Brewing served up in restaurants and bars around the area, such as Toast, Green Chile Kitchen or Creekside Pizza and Taproom. Or, make your way to the award-winning Marin Brewing Company.

  • Jazz Meets Art at The SFJazz Center

    May 07, 2018

    Are you planning a trip to see us in June? If so, you’re in luck! Next month, from June 6 to June 17, the 36th San Francisco Jazz Festival will feature dozens of celebrated jazz greats over two full weeks. The SFJazz Center, the city’s 36,000-square-foot, $64-million-dollar center at Fell and Franklin streets, will serve as home base for the festivities, putting you right in the heart of San Francisco’s cultural corridor. While you’re there, head to the building’s second floor where a (not-so) secret mural installation lives. Comprised of three works, the tiled murals are by artists Sandow Birk and Elyse Pignolet. A jazz fan favorite, “Jazz and the City,” represents the story of our city’s famous music clubs, including Jimbo’s Bop City and the Keystone Korner. Insider’s tip: you can check out the installations any time the building is open during normal business hours. Purchase your San Francisco Jazz Festival tickets and get more information on The SFJazz Center here.

  • Environmental Intensive at Muir Woods

    April 02, 2018

    The Redwoods are a must-see on the bucket list and we’re located within 8 miles of Muir Woods, a national monument and primeval forest that is a natural refuge to explore and an educational laboratory with a number of trails and incentives, dedicated to preserving the beauty of redwoods along our coast. Celebrate Earth Day next month with a visit to Muir Woods and participate in an Environmental Intensive focused on ensuring the survival of the forest through an expert-led community conversation. Get your hiking shoes laced up and embark on a 90-minute conversation in the heart of the woods. Engage with fellow hikers and discuss the modern-day threats to the redwoods, what has changed the forest climate over the years, and what can be done to help protect the area from ongoing climate change that is affecting the natural landscape. This interactive experience is great for groups ranging from 8 to 25 people, so grab some fellow travelers and get into the conversation. And, don’t forget to soak up the natural beauty and intrigue amongst the redwoods. Learn more here.

  • A Visit to the Farmer's Market

    March 05, 2018

    Connecting with the outdoors is one of the things we love most about our Northern California location. With ample space to prepare meals outside at our BBQ pits during your stay, a visit to the local Farmer’s Market is a must. Every Wednesday, the Bounty of Marin Farmer’s Market takes center stage at the Town Center of Core Madera. Peruse fresh ingredients, including fruits, veggies, produce, sauces, florals and more at this outdoor venue that runs rain or shine from noon to 5 p.m. Spend the day at the market and sample local favorites before bringing your fresh treasures home to Marin Suites. Insider’s tip: fresh flowers are a great way to settle into your suite, especially if your staying with us for an extended time. Grab a handmade vase at the market by a local artist to complete the look. See our current extended rates here and we’ll see you around the BBQ pit!

  • Carousel Hop in the Bay Area

    February 05, 2018

    Planning a west coast getaway with the kids this year? One of our favorite things about the Bay Area is the abundance of iconic carousels around town. These classic merry-go-rounds can make for the perfect day out with the entire family. Stop along the way for local eats and drinks as you carousel hop to create a day of memories.  You will not want to forget your camera for this one! Our top three picks start with the Looff Carousel at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. This historic ride, dating all the way back to 1911, features music along the ride thanks to an antique mechanical band organ. Carousel with a beach view? Yes, please. Next stop is the Howarth Park Carousel in Santa Rosa. The area is great for a scenic afternoon and this crowd-pleaser has more than 1,000 lights, adding to the unique design. Not yet ready to stop spinning? Take it to San Fran’s Pier 39 and hop on a two-level creation that was made in Italy.  A mix of lights, music and an artistic depiction of the city’s most famous scenes take this ride to the next level. Not traveling with the kids this time around? We still recommend going on this throw-back adventure. We’re sure you’ll feel like a kid again!

  • Love is in the Air

    January 08, 2018

    Love is in the air all year long in San Francisco and with Valentine’s Day coming up, there’s no better place to celebrate! With a collection of the area’s largest suites, find yourself in a total sense of relaxation after a romantic day out on the town. Not sure where to start? We’ve picked our top three romantic spots in San Francisco: A stop at Choux Bakery. Serving as a sweet, hidden gem, go for the French cream puffs. You can taste how these sweet and savory creations were made with love. Experience Napa without the drive. Forego time in the car and head to Press Club, a downtown wine bar that is subterranean. Try a Napa wine flight for a taste of the valley’s best varietals. Love doesn’t have to cost a thing. What we love most about San Francisco is the abundance of beautiful views available around town. Take a walk across the famous Golden Gate Bridge and soak in the splendor of natural beauty that will surround you. Ready to fall in even more love with our city? Book your stay now for Valentine’s Day.

  • A Day at Point Reyes National Seashore

    December 04, 2017

    It’s easy to do good and feel good at the same time! Spend a day at Point Reyes National Seashore and choose from a few of our favorite things. With a rotating variety of activities available year-round, the National Park is a must-see and experience while visiting us in Marin County. Whether you have a few hours or a full day, check out the top ways to take in the natural beauty of our local seashore. Yoga and Dune Restoration: Explore the scenic Abbotts Lagoon at Point Reyes, where a number of dune plants are in bloom. Start the day with the restoration team to help remove an invasive plant, the European sea rocket that is currently threatening a federally endangered species, the Tidestrom lupine. Take time to give back to the earth, then find center for yourself during a 30-45 minute yoga session with a certified instructor. The perfect way to relax and recharge after a morning of work on the seashore. More details on dates, times and how to sign up can be found right here.    Elephant Seal Watching: December through March, get in on elephant seal watching from the overlook area at Point Reyes Park. Witness the amazing behavior of these special animals, including the interactions of mothers and pups, birthing of pups, the powerful trumpeting of adult males and the distinctive vocals of the females (which you can hear from up to a mile away!) A highly trained staff offers binoculars, spotting scopes, and a wealth of knowledge during the weekends and holidays. Check out all details and the full schedule of weekly elephant seal updates to help plan your trip. Interested in learning more about Point Reyes National Seashore? A number of activities and unique experiences are available 365 days a year. Learn more about all of the options now.

  • The Marin County Civic Center: An Architectural Masterpiece

    November 08, 2017

    Just a ten-minute drive from our hotel, the Marin County Civic Center is a national landmark that features two performance spaces, a garden, a library, art galleries, and more. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Civic Center was the renowned architect’s most ambitious public project, conceived as an organic extension of the natural landscape: decorative exterior arches compliment the gentle contours of the surrounding hills, the azure blue of the roof blends with the dome of the sky, and the building’s foundation comprises materials mined in abundance from the earth beneath. At the same time, the gold spheres along the perimeter bespeak an Oriental aesthetic that lends the entire complex a subtly exotic air. Regular guided tours are available every Wednesday and Friday at 10:30 A.M., though other arrangements can be made for groups of ten or more by calling ahead.   Address: 3501 Civic Center Drive San Rafael, CA 94903-4176

  • Golden Gate Park: A Garden of Multi-Cultural Delights

    October 08, 2017

    One of the most spectacular series of gardens anywhere in North America, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park occupies over 1000 acres and delights more than 13 million visitors each year with its lush greenery, exotic and variegated flora, extensive walking trails, play grounds, picnic areas, and more. The oldest structure on the grounds, the Conservatory of Flowers, is an ornate Victorian greenhouse that’s home to 1700 unique specimens of water-dwelling and warm-weather plants, including an internationally renowned orchid collection, a massive Imperial philodendron that’s lived more than 100 years, and an assortment of bizarre and carnivorous plants. You’ll marvel at the Japanese Tea Garden, where a multi-level pagoda presides over meticulously manicured Japanese maples, cherry trees, koi ponds, and azaleas. Though the park’s two windmills no longer power the irrigation system that makes these majestic gardens thrive year-round, they do still lend an Old Europe charm to the eclectic aesthetic of this urban paradise. These are just a few of the wonders that await you at Golden Gate Park, where world cultures are cultivated as tenderly as the flowers.

  • The Aquarium of the Bay: Home to Octavio and Other Aquatic Wonders

    September 05, 2017

    A scenic half-hour’s drive from our hotel, the Aquarium of the Bay is San Francisco’s premier aquatic attraction. It’s mission is to educate the public about the overwhelming variety of underwater flora and fauna that makeup the unique, thriving ecology of the Bay Area waterways. As a visitor, you’ll explore 300 feet of crystalline viewing tunnels teeming with some 20,000 marine animals. Laugh at inquisitive and energetic river otters at play, marvel at the unexpected grace of the 13-foot white sturgeon, and be entranced by the harmonious undulations of the jellies. The newest member of the aquarium crew is Octavio. Like most Giant Pacific Octopi, Octavio is very strong. When he decides to use all eight arms, he can move as much as 700 pounds. He is also very intelligent and would get bored easily without the puzzles provided to him. Plus, even though he’s quite big, he can squeeze through just about any space, as long as his beak fits. Plan a day at the aquarium to get to know Octavio and all his aquatic pals. You’ll be glad you did. Address: 2 The Embarcadero & Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94133

  • The Enchanting Gardens of UC Berkeley

    August 10, 2017

    During your stay at the Marin Suites Hotel, you will probably want to see the sights in San Francisco, the West Coast’s number 1 city (in our humble opinion), as well as its trendy neighbor across the water, Berkeley, home of the prestigious University of California at Berkeley. While touring the campus, we recommend that you set aside time to see the Botanical Garden at Berkeley, which comprises 34 beautiful acres of plant life representing almost every continent on earth. Renowned for their extensive collection of endangered plants, the various gardens within the Berkeley Botanical Garden are arranged according to geography of plant origin, with particularly impressive displays from the Mediterranean Basin, primarily representing Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Turkey, and Syria. You also find California’s famous giant sequoia trees in the lush and enchanting Redwood Grove. It’s a very popular spot for summertime weddings, though, so you’ll want to make sure it’s open to the public on the day you plan to visit. Address: 200 Centennial Dr, Berkeley, CA 94720

  • Fort Point: From Civil War to Silver Screen

    July 03, 2017

    When you think of classic film, you probably conjure up images of Hollywood, with its larger than life stars. But San Francisco has also inspired brilliant filmmakers, particularly Alfred Hitchcock, who chose the Bay Area for what is often cited as the greatest movie of all time, the 1958 thriller Vertigo. Head to the southern entrance of San Francisco Bay, just a short drive from our hotel, and you’ll discover Fort Point under an arch of the Golden Gate Bridge. This iconic locale is the site of Vertigo’s gripping sequence in which Madeline Elster (Kim Novak) pretends to commit suicide by hurling herself into the bay, and the intrepid Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart) leaps to her rescue. But that’s not all. Fort Point is also a fascinating Civil War stronghold erected in 1861 to ward off the ferocious Confederate invasion (which never came, by the way). Opt for a self-guided or park-ranger-guided tour to get an up-close look at the soldiers’ daily life. A true gem of American and Hollywood history, Fort Point is one Bay Area attraction you won’t want to miss.   Address: Presidio of San Francisco, Long Ave & Marine Dr, San Francisco, CA 

  • California Shakespeare Theater: A Modern Take on Classic Tales

    June 04, 2017

    If you’re in the mood for the perfect mix of nature, culture, and spectacular communal experience, we highly recommend an evening with the California Shakespeare Theater. This cutting-edge company, affectionately known as Cal Shakes, stands at the forefront of theatrical possibility, merging tried-and-true repertoire with groundbreaking methods that shift paradigms and shatter stereotypes. The scenic drive out to beautiful Siesta Valley will take you to the Lt. G.H. Bruns III Memorial Amphitheater, a 545-seat, open-air performance venue that utilizes the latest wireless technology to make every actor sound as though they’re standing right beside you. If you act fast, you can still see Shakespeare’s madcap comedy As You Like It, on stage through June 18. Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie will tug at your heartstrings from July 5 through July 30. Marcus Gardley’s Black Odyssey reimagines the Greek epic in twentieth-century Oakland from August 9 through September 3. Rounding out the season, Shakespeare is back with a tale of corruption and purity in scheming Vienna from September 13 through October 8. Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way (formerly 100 Gateway Blvd.), Orinda, CA 94563

  • Go Organic at the Marin Country Mart Farmer's Market

    May 01, 2017

    In Marin County, we’re continually inspired by the beauty and bounty of nature. In addition to excursions into the mountains or along the shore, we love making the weekly trip to the Farmer’s Market at Marin Country Mart. Every Saturday, rain or shine, from 9 A.M. to 2 P.M., the Farmer’s Market offers the finest local and organic farm-fresh produce available in this part of the country. Vendors include Bliss Family Avocados, Capay Organic, Farmer Joy’s Eggs, Leap Frog Farm, Old Dog Ranch, and more. Ask about the catch of the day from Anna’s Seafood, or select among the finest cuts of beef from Fallon Hills Ranch. And if you want something to munch on-site, you’ll love the food trucks: try the organic chicken and ribs from the Country Grill truck or the delicious handmade desserts from Johnny Doughnuts. Plus, there’s plenty to entertain the kids, including face painting, pony rides, and a petting zoo. Address: 2257 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur, CA 94939

  • From the Redwood Forests to the Coastal Waters

    April 03, 2017

    A bastion of natural beauty and outdoor adventure, Marin County boasts not one but two national parks. Muir Woods National Monument, a “primeval forest” that’s “both refuge and laboratory,” is home to a breathtaking array of flora and fauna. Entire ecosystems thrive below along the forest floor and high above in the canopy of leaves. The most impressive members of Muir Woods, however, are the ancient sequoias, which are among oldest living things on earth. Self-directed tours are available daily, and guided tours are offered as staffing permits. The other national park, Point Reyes National Seashore, promises visitors not only lush forest, but also rolling hills, grassy plains, and majestic beaches. As the site of many different pre-colonial cultures over millennia, Point Reyes truly is “a tapestry of stories,” some of which are told through the authentic replicas of native American villages. So whether you’re in the mood for forest or ocean, these two sprawling national parks are just a short drive from our Marin Suites Hotel.

  • Sail Away in the Bay

    March 06, 2017

    Combine Marin County’s placid waters with those of San Francisco Bay, and you have the perfect setting for a day of water sports and leisure activities. The following are some of our favorites, just a short drive from our hotel. 101 Surf Sports 115 Third Street, San Rafael, CA 94901 Named the “3rd Best Water Sports Shop in the Country,” 101 Surf Sports offers year-round stand up paddle-board and kayak Tours. If you visit in spring, you can also take advantage of the windsurfing and kite boarding downwind runs.  Barbary Ghost Loch Lomond Marina, San Rafael, CA 94901 Barbary Ghost is a mini-yacht that accommodates parties of six. You and your guests will love the unique experience of sailing on the waters immortalized in Jack London’s Tales of the Fish Patrol. Individual opportunities for paddle-boarding and kayaking are also available. SF Bay Adventures 1001 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965 SF Bay Adventures offers a full range of services, including corporate team building, weddings, sunset cruises, Bay Lights tours, and more! The flagship vessel, Schooner Freda B, is an 80-foot classic tall skip schooner that can accommodate up to 49 guests.

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