Hidden Gems of the Bay Area


Aislinn Daly

Fisherman’s Wharf

Greta Reich, Feature Editor

Living in the Bay Area provides us, as both students and teachers, with great opportunities for places to go. From the Golden Gate Bridge to our own Redwood City Cinemark theater, there is a wide array of options. Some of these places hold special meaning to us, becoming staples of our lives and integral parts of our communities. Sequoia staff and students shared with us some of their own favorite hot spots in the Bay, and explained why it is so important to them.

1322 A, El Camino Real, Redwood City

One gem of the Bay is a vinyl store called The Record Man. Senior Nicole Miller recalls going there for the first time with her dad. “I remember my dad mentioned that there was this cool record store on El Camino that I’d never heard of and he just wanted to go check it out. So we both went together and we were there for like, a good 45 minutes just walking around and looking at the different records and it was really cool…The sections of the records aren’t labeled, but the workers there are really cool and told us where everything was. And each genre of music was a different shelf and it was like, endless. Like it was just record after record, everywhere. So it was really cool,” Miller said. 

She then took on the role of taking her own friends there. She said that “they thought it was really cool too. [They] spent so long in there, just walking around and looking around. It’s not that big. But like, there’s  two stories and it was just a cool place to hang out and just look at all the different records and talk about them and stuff.”

Walking around the store, you can tell it is very eclectic, and holds a lot of history. “Pretty much all of the records are all donated to them. So it’s not a lot of really well known artists. It’s just stuff that people have had in their basements forever that they just donate,” Miller said. “But I think it’s cool to have real vintage records that no one has ever really seen or heard of … You can’t really find them anywhere else besides that store.”

Her best memory of the Record Man was her first memory of going with her dad. “That was really cool because we kind of just walked around and talked about music. He’s introduced me to a lot of really, really cool music that I probably wouldn’t have known of if it wasn’t for him. So it was cool to kind of see him think of [the store] as something really cool because it was a lot of music he could relate to and remember. And also it was cool just to be introduced to that kind of history.”

1060 El Camino Real, San Carlos

For one freshman at Sequoia, one of the best places in the Bay Area is the San Carlos Thrift Center. Bee Wiggin was introduced to the place by their mom, who “has always liked the store and [they] actually have a lot of furniture in [their] house from the store. So it’s always just been a place that [their] parents have gone, and [they] also donate stuff there a lot too… this year, [they have] started going a lot more than [they] have before because it’s fun. ” Wiggin said, “I really like their stuff and I think it’s really cool that you can just go there and you don’t really know what you’re gonna get. But then you always get something that’s really cool. You don’t even know where it came from, it’s just some cool things that you find. And I also think it’s a nice place to hang out with friends and stuff and just socialize and you know, look at the cool stuff… There was a time that I went through my friends that we just sat in the back by like, all the you know, the comfy couches and stuff, and just hung out and talked for like an hour. It was fun.” The Thrift Center is not just a place with cool clothes and couches though. It also holds sentimental feelings in the objects it sells. “So my family has a collection of turquoise birds, like little ceramic ones, that we keep in our backyard. And one time I found a turquoise peacock sculpture-thing that was exactly the same shade and style as the ones we have in our backyard. So I got it for like two dollars and I brought it home and my parents were so proud but yeah, I think that’s cool that you just find things that make so much sense that you have it and you don’t even know what exists before. And it just works so perfectly,” Wiggin said. 

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 

“My number one place probably in the Bay Area is the Rose Garden in San Francisco. It’s where I got married in 2000,” said Karol-Ann Coleman, biology teacher and lifetime Bay Area resident.  “I guess [my wedding day] was just the perfect day. And my expectations were not for it to be a perfect day because it rained the day before. My husband and I planned our whole wedding. We constructed it. Our friends helped us out. And so we were able to pull off a very affordable wedding…We called it a champagne reception. So all you’re serving is cake and champagne. So we had some people bring in sandwiches and we had lots of drinks, lots of spirits, and everyone thought we had a professional caterer come in and all that. I guess what’s so special about it is that I had finally met someone who it was so easy to be myself [around],” she said.

The choice to get married in the Rose Garden was not arbitrary. “The reason why we chose the Rose Garden is because my mother loved roses, and she had passed in ‘93, and my husband, his father, who had passed in ‘97, kept a beautiful rose garden. So having roses all around us was making his father and my mother a part of the ceremony,” Coleman said, adding, “also there were great places to walk around. No one was ever bored. There was always a place to go. There were people who were just walking that day, just to look at the roses and the rose garden who would stop and watch us do our vows. It was kind of cool that a stranger would want to see us express our love for each other.”

Even today, Coleman and her family stop by the garden once in a while. “I think the smell of roses all around you, and all different kinds of roses, just brought so much joy. There’s lots of park benches so anyone can go there any time of day and find joy…whenever we drive through the city, we always make sure we go by the Rose Garden,” she said. 

Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco

A bit of a further drive from The Record Man or the San Carlos Thrift Center is Fisherman’s Wharf, an area in San Francisco that holds special meaning to freshman Koi Yu. “There was a long time ago where my dad took me to San Francisco,” Yu said. “And I went there, and he told me what [Fisherman’s Wharf] was called. We walked around and we found out that it was really nice. So I like that place from then on.”

His most fond memories consist of looking at the seals from the docks. “We like to go mainly to see the seals which are on the dock somewhere. And afterwards, we look at the candy shop, because that’s a good place,” Yu said. One specific memory he has was going to Fisherman’s Wharf “during the night… We were looking at seals, and my dad just kept making seal barking noises at them and they barked back. It was so funny.”

In addition to the seals, “there’s so many bizarre shops, like there are sock shops. There’s also stairs that are … painted as piano keys and when you step on them they just make sounds. And I believe, at the candy shop, they sell bugs to eat and those are cool.”

“I think I would go there a lot more,” Yu concluded.

San Fransisco Rose Garden (Aislinn Daly)
San Carlos Thrift Center (Aislinn Daly)
The Record Man in Redwood City (Aislinn Daly)