The Shell Cellar is a small shop in Pier 39 that sells not only sea shells but starfishes, blowfishes, and a variety of other items from the sea. It is really interesting to be able to touch this things and examine how beautiful these items are. The store is attractively decorated and usually has a crowd of people browsing their merchandise within.
I found this store to be a really fun place to go especially for my kids. They enjoyed trying on all the crazy hats they had there to sell. In fact it's a great place to just plain be silly for a few minutes and have a few laughs. The hats would be great actually for Halloween, you'll just have to come up with the rest of your ensemble. The sales staff I think are used to a lot of people just coming in to try on their hats but not actually purchase because they don't pay much attention to you.
I really liked the Monterey Bay Aquarium and have gone back again and still found the place very appealling. The parking garage is a few blocks away from the aquarium though which was probably strategically placed there so visitors are forced to pass by and be enticed by all the little shops that line the streets heading to the aquarium. Other than that this is a great place to take the whole family.
The Old Faithful Geyser is located a few miles away from downtown Calistoga. The place has a dirt parking lot and there is a small entrance fee to enter through the gift shop to where the geyser is. They have a few picnic tables with benches there. The geyser itself spurts up every twenty or so minutes. It's an interesting thing to see for the first time but can loose it's appeal real fast.
Gelateria Naia is located in the downtown area. Street parking is difficult to come by here and the streets are busy. Naia sells Italian ice cream called gelato and are delicious. My personal favorite is the pistachio. For those who may be lactose intolerant though they sell sobettos and soy gelatos which are dairy free.
Play At Home is located in the West County Mall right behind Gottchalk's department store. It is right off the freeway and parking is plentiful. The store is relatively big and they have a large selection of pool tables and accesories for the game. They also sell jukeboxes, barstools, and gameroom decor. It's a great place to go if your looking for quality pool table or accesories.
City College is located right off the freeway and is within walking distance to the BART station. They have paid parking available but you have to be there really early in the morning to get the free parking on the street by the school. The teachers are great but classes fill up pretty quickly. It's a great place to take your GE courses since their units are less expensive that the universities.
My wife and I had dropped into this florist shop while we were visiting Calistoga and found it to be a very nice store. The shop is located inside the Calistoga train station and they have an attractive storefront. They carry a large variety of orchids, rare and common ones. They also sell other types of flowers there besides orchids but the orchids I thought were astounding.
My wife and I did a gourmet retreat at the Casa Lana a little over a year ago and we had a realy great time. Not only was it a learning experience but we also enjoyed ourselves in their gourmet kitchen. The house is a Mediterranean style architecture and has white walls. It is a nice building and the staff there were very welcoming and really try to make you feel at home.
The Elms is a beatiful, white victorian house just a few steps away from the main road in Calstoga. The house is neslted beneath the canopy of elm trees and is quite a cozy place. The setting is just very relaxing and the people running it are very nice. The rooms are beautiful and the dining room is cozy, with two dining tables where they serve guests with their complimentary breakfast made from their own kitchen.