Bay Area Living: Guide to An Active Retirement in Northern California
The Bay Area is an ideal place for senior living that feels more like an active retirement. Retirees can enjoy a plethora of activities designed to delight those who’ve chosen to move to a premium senior living community, such as Kensington Place.
Northern California is one of the most beautiful places to visit — or to retire. It’s sunny and warm for at least half the year, and, unlike Florida, there’s rarely any humidity. Even during the winter months, the temperature generally stays comfortably in the 50s-60s, and while there can be a lot of rain, it doesn’t snow here, unless you head to the mountains.
Here are ten suggestions for making the most of your time in the Redwood City area. You can choose to explore:
1. Northern California’s Parks and Preserves
The Bay Area is renowned for its many parks and nature preserves, from the historic Golden Gate Park in San Francisco (which is actually larger than its slightly older cousin, New York City’s Central Park) to local landmarks such as the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve.
The 3000-acre Russian Ridge Preserve is a feast of wildflowers in spring, and boasts views across San Francisco Bay through the crisp, clean air. The hiking is excellent for those who are fit, and the preserve is also wheelchair accessible for seniors who enjoy being out in nature, even if they aren’t able to get around quite as easily as they once did.
2. Stanford University
The hub of Silicon Valley, Stanford University is where numerous visionary minds have birthed seminal businesses. Companies like HP (Hewlett Packard) and Yahoo took root at Stanford.
As a breeding ground for creativity in all genres, Stanford is a nexus for science and the arts. Of course, Stanford is also known for its health care and technological innovation, with a research budget of (wait for it) $1.6 billion.
Speaking of budgets: do you need a budget-friendly active retirement option for a rainy day? You can’t go wrong with a museum, and the Bay Area is replete with choices. There are at least fifteen museums within ten miles of Kensington Place, catering to a wide variety of interests, such as:
- Rodin Sculpture Garden. On the Stanford campus, this museum offers a breathtaking array of gardens and sculptures to enjoy in any season.
- San Mateo County History Museum. History buffs will enjoy this walk down memory lane, as you discover all you never knew about the county where Kensington Place is located.
- Pace Art and Technology. As the name implies, this museum is an immersive experience that even seniors who’ve seen it all will love — as will the grandkids. Bring the whole family to this unusual museum.
- Computer History Museum. How was the microchip created? What were those early computers like? This museum will answer your questions and delight you with insights into how your digital devices came to be.
4. Pulgas Water Temple
It’s not a museum, but considering how precious water is in California, especially in drought years, seniors will be intrigued to discover the Pulgas Water Temple.
The impressive stone structure, modeled on ancient Greek construction, was built nearly a century ago to celebrate bringing water to the Bay Area from the Sierra Nevada, 160 miles away.
Today, this landmark structure offers a great photo op — and wedding venue!
5. Tai Chi: An Active Retirement Boon
Millions of Chinese, some of them quite elderly, practice tai chi in public parks every morning across China. This ancient martial art has been keeping Asians healthy for thousands of years, and has grown a firm foothold in the West. You can find tai chi classes offered at many fitness centers and senior living communities.
This gentle exercise is a boon for older adults in the Bay Area, because it improves strength, flexibility and balance with gentle, easy movements. Over time, a tai chi practice can be helpful for a range of conditions that can affect seniors, from high blood pressure and arthritis, to low bone density and sleep problems. Good health makes senior living that much more enjoyable!
6. Nazareth Ice Oasis
For those who take the words “active retirement” seriously, the Nazareth Ice Oasis awaits. The year-round Redwood City ice rink offers all types of ice-skating related events, as well as public skating hours for beginners — and the Ice Grill, for refueling after burning all that energy.
If you’re the type of person who loves being part of a group, BayAreaOlderAdults.org, a free membership organization, offers outdoor, social and cultural activities for adults 50+.
Whether you want to take a tai chi class or an art class, enjoy a whale watching excursion or a group tour to one of the fabulous local museums, this group may be the ideal way for active retirement enthusiasts to participate — and make new friends.
8. The Record Man
Seniors remember a time before digital, when “record” referred to a vinyl disk that played on a turntable, not an iPod. So Bay Area active retirees are likely to love The Record Man, which boasts over one million vinyl records. LPs, 45s, 78s, singles, albums…this one-of-a-kind store has it all.
You could probably get lost in the stacks for hours as you search for golden oldies that take you back. The store carries records in every genre, from classical to country, hip-hop to the blues, and claims if they don’t carry it, it probably doesn’t exist.
9. Unleashed Art Gallery
Redwood City’s premier art destination features the best up-and-coming artists in San Mateo County. It’s an opportunity for contemporary local artists to shine.
For seniors who may have taken to art late in life (think Grandma Moses, who began painting in earnest at 78) this gallery can serve as inspiration and motivation. You’re never too old to start something new!
10. Stanford Shopping Center
Most women (and some men) never outgrow their love of a good bargain when shopping. After your time at Stanford’s institution of higher learning, enjoy the center of higher fashion that’s adjacent to the campus.
This world-class shopping experience has it all, from luxury brands such as Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom to everyday necessities such as the Apple Store. The Stanford Shopping Center belongs in any guide to active retirement for northern California, because looking your best is ageless.
Kensington Place encourages our residents and their families to enjoy these Bay Area senior living activities to the fullest. We often take our residents on off-site trips and outings to the surrounding community, so each member feels like they are living in the world’s premium location — because they are.