When you’re spending time in a fast-paced metropolis, you might find yourself craving a moment of respite in a quiet place. In San Francisco, we have plenty of peaceful havens that provide an escape from the hectic every day. Here’s where to go to relax, renew and recenter.
An alluring destination designed for meditation and reflection, the harmonious five-acre Japanese Tea Garden in the heart of Golden GatePark is the oldest public garden of its kind in the country, constructed in 1894. You’ll find a soothing waterfall; stately lanterns, bridges and sculptures; and fragrant wisteria and azalea. Enjoy tea or Japanese snacks al-fresco at the teahouse overlooking the Koi pond. 75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Samovar Tea Lounge is an elegant sanctuary devoted to global teas, situated right in the center of busy downtown. Settle in for a worldly tea service (selections include Russian, Moorish and Ayurvedic traditions) in the lounge or patio overlooking the green Yerba Buena Gardens. The owner has relationships with artisan tea farmers all over the world and sources small-batch, handcrafted varieties that are thoughtfully paired with international small plates. 730 Howard St., San Francisco
The traditional Japanese communal baths at Kabuki Springs & Spa, in Japantown, attract a steady stream of locals and visitors seeking a ritual to disconnect from urban stresses. You’ll find a hot pool, a cold plunge, a dry sauna and a steam room. The baths are designated for either men or women only, depending on the day of the week, except on co-ed Tuesdays, when bathing suits are required. The menu of spa services includes the usual massages and facials as well as Pan-Asian wellness treatments including acupuncture, reiki, grounding, craniosacral therapy and matcha body wraps. 1750 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
Archimedes Banya, a high-tech, four-story bathhouse on the city’s southeastern edge, melds ancient international bathing traditions for an alternative social activity. A renowned Russian artist designed the tile and murals; a rooftop deck has breathtaking waterfront views; and a cafe serves fresh Eastern European fare. The spa offers massages, scrubs and the works, as well as the house specialty: a traditional venik platza treatment, which involves getting thrashed with eucalyptus leaves. 748 Innes Ave., San Francisco