Please note that the cityPASS links are afflinks meaning I’ll get paid a few pennies towards my next dream vacation at no extra cost to you. I am only including the pass for towns I’ve visited and would love to return to with a cityPASS!
Some people’s favorite memories bubble to the surface after seeing an outfit worn, hearing music played, smelling a familiar scent or feeling a season come around again. Many of my favorite memories (no surprise) center around coffee!
I am the reigning champion Most Caffeinated Mom of my domain. I absolutely drink coffee to ensure that I can stay up later than my teenagers. No falling asleep on the job here. However, I also legitimately love to try different coffee flavors like one might try and savor fine wines (that post coming soon…).
The best part proves to be the town I’m in, or the company I’m with, even if I’m alone. For some of the towns, I sipped while skimming cityPASS info – sizing up my options and discounts for other nearby activities!
Take time to brew a cup, warm up a friendship or simmer on memories! I appreciate you indulging me with a few of my coffee highlights…
BIRD ROCK COFFEE ROASTERS
Sometimes Moms just need to get away. I rented an Air BnB for the first time and headed out for a solo weekend (sort of – my son and his pals were staying in a beach house so I stayed close in case of emergency and to throw food at them one night). Mentally, it helped me begin to admit that he’s about to leave home and gotten more independent!
The vibe here felt peaceful starting with the barista’s gratitude journal that you’re encouraged to add to, to the amazing view of Los Penasquitos Lagoon and Torrey Pines State Reserve. The wide open spaces helped breed large ideas!
The SoCal cityPASS has multiple San Diego, Anaheim and Los Angeles attractions and so many various options for you to choose from to plan your perfect visit!
After a fast-paced morning playing cars with my friends – real friends and real cars – they raced off to their next amazing destination. Since I didn’t feel ready to downshift yet, I wandered around walking to the pier, down 3rd street Promenade and found this spot.
The specialty drinks drew me in with ingredients I don’t usually see in a latte. When they made my chamomile strawberry latte, the sprinkle of strawberry brightened my morning! I can’t wait to go back!
This beautiful latte is located in a town many people visit when touring SoCal cityPASS attractions!
THE COFFEE HOUSE AT DISNEYLAND HOTEL
Another sign that my kids continue to grow and mature – they now just need me for a ride to Disneyland Resort but don’t me to go with them. I remember walking in those shoes when I grew up so I gladly spent the day exploring Downtown Disney and the many resort hotels until they exhausted themselves. I’ve been a huge believer in Disney magic ever since my first tour of the park when I worked there during college.
Many surprises hid in every corner of the Diesney properties. I found the coffee house while wandering through the festive property trying to see what was new. The coffee satisfied my craving but the magic appeared in the themed Snow White’s apple pastry.
Yes! Even Disneyland is part of the SoCal cityPASS!
This place felt productive – like important and creative work and conversations took place daily. It felt important that I finally caught up with a friend of over 22 years! I could not remember the last time we caught up without our families.
I ordered a turmeric latte. Is that even coffee? I think so?! It mixed steamed milk with turmeric and espresso. It felt very smooth with just a bit of spice. The anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric made it good for me too.
Though a little out of the way, you are able to visit this coffee shop when on your way to the Los Angeles stops of the SoCal cityPASS!
GRAND CENTRAL STATION
We did a whirlwind trip to the East coast as my son narrowed down college choices. Not only did it feel fantastic to make it to and pass through such a famous, historic building, but we navigated the trainlines, got tickets and filled the remaining time in line to buy snacks and coffee.
The kids preferred to ride in their own section of the train leaving me in my own little world for our long 2-stop train ride. We enjoyed that campus and the East coast vibe but he landed at a West coast school for college.
When visiting the City that doesn’t sleep, the New York cityPASS gives you the option of visiting the top 6 NYC attractions, or to choose 3 out of 11 attraction options!
HEARTHSTONE LOUNGE AT DISNEY’S GRAND CALIFORNIAN
I love the network of Korean adoptees (KADs) that I’ve found in recent years. A few of us met in Downtown Disney to discuss things like first trips back to our birth country, birth searches. I met one gal in San Francisco at the AKA | IKAA conference and they met since they found out they were related. We’ve definitely opened cans of worms by doing DNA – I look forward to see who comes forth.
The Grand Californian offered one of my favorite places to hang for a while. Feels relaxing sinking into their sturdy but comfortable chairs! The cast members quickly spotted us and took my order. The latte cup, and my company, filled me with warmth!
With the SoCal cityPASS you can choose 2-5 days at the Disneyland Resort and the more days, the less the tickets cost!
LOFTY COFFEE CO.
My childhood friend – well, family by friendship who fits in as our 4th sister in our family (she’d be the oldest and we’re all still 4 years apart) – came to visit! Since it’d been many years since she last visited, she wrote a short bucketlist and I could not wait to travel as much as I could with her.
We started in Encinitas at my folks’ beach house. We started exploring the charming stores up and down PCH – beginning at the Lofty coffee shop! It felt like the local hangout, the corner coffee shop where you would find all your fastest made friends.
Take a ride up the coast to drive from the San Diego Zoo to Carlsbad’s Legoland visiting the best SoCal cityPASS attractions! Fill your lungs with sea air and your heart with latte love!
SCALA’S BISTRO AT KIMPTONS SIR FRANCIS DRAKE HOTEL
I flew to to Northern California for a book reading of the anthology that I contributed a story to: Mixed Koreans: Our Stories. Though many of the Korean Adoptees stayed together, I chose to stay closer to where I feel my heart in San Francisco – Union Square.
First of all, they greeted me with free brewed coffee in Scala’s. Instantly won me over! As I stepped down into the cafe, I couldn’t help but stare at the beautiful, lofty ceilings with my mouth wide open. It immediately set a classic but casual tone with amazing views of the city through its huge front windows! As I sat, sipping my coffee, it absolutely convinced me to come back to grab coffee and croissant for the next leg of my travel. Perhaps next time I’ll have enough time for a real meal.
Structured like the NYC version, the San Francisco cityPASS allows you to either choose the pass with all 5 top San Fran hot spots or you choose 3 out of 8 hot spots for slightly less.
SEARS FINE FOODS
This restaurant marks many milestones in my history. I’ve sat down for breakfast with my kids, with many teams of Team In Training athletes, and with friends. As I sat down once again, I immediately jumped back in time to my other visits and also to the time when this place was built! So much history here.
The coffee and comfort food arrived quickly and the portions exceed the plates. Have you tried Sears? You must.
One of our favorite attractions is the Exploratorium and tickets are available through the San Francisco cityPASS!
I leaped at the opportunity to shadow the footsteps of what would be a dream job for me! Grabbed a Venti triple latte and headed to Hearst! Sadly I cannot move to New York right now but I penciled it in as part of my 8-year plan!
To be honest, the tour of O, The Oprah Magazine gave me a pep in my step over the coffee that day but I still loved the holiday flavors.
I need a week to spend in New York. It’s been so long since I visited any of the attractions, they’d be brand new now. So glad to get a break on so many stops with my NYC cityPASS!
While in the middle of my friend’s So Cal visit bucketlist guiding me through my first mid-Century Modern Architecture Tour of Palm Springs, we stumbled upon a huge Starbucks Reserve! I had to take pause from this memorable trip traveling back in time to graduate to Starbucks Reserve.
Starbucks Reserve’s huge store blew me away. They boasted a daily menu featuring special brews and a multitude of brewing methods. I chose Sun-dried Brazil Vale Verde Estate featuring hints of dried fruit and sugar – clover brewed: Full-immersion and vacuum filtration to yield exquisite balance and body (Their words). My thoughts: It tasted about the same as always. Still cool to visit and I’d love to do a flight of coffees!
Palm Springs is a little off the beaten path from the SoCal cityPASS but if you can fit it in, I recommend it. With mid-century modern art & architecture, this desert is a real escape!
TRULUCKS SEAFOOD, STEAK and CRAB HOUSE
Though I grew up in San Diego, I don’t visit as often as I used to. So when I dropped in for the weekend, I felt so grateful that two of my friends made it for happy hour! They’ve been such a source of friendship, reason, conversations and balance. I love that we’ve gotten to know each other even better than when we walked home from 8th grade!
We arrived during happy hour and enjoyed a variety of appetizers, delicious cocktails and smooth music. But the chocolate bag dessert and fully-loaded coffee were the most memorable and beautiful together.
It’s worth it to detour through La Jolla to see native Sea Lions and amazing ocean views and experience a restaurant like this between themeparks you found on SoCal cityPASS!
(and a few other coffees that helped me during my first trip back to my birth country!)
Seoul, S. Korea
After spending an amazing day-in-the-life with generous Korean host families who spoiled and fed us so much Korean street food, they brought me and a friend to experience this amazing dessert Mango Bingsu! It tasted like a dreamy creamy cloud! I got a simple coffee to counter the cold of the Mango Bingsu and because I took advantage of any opportunity to get simple brewed coffee while in Korea!
Around the main picture you can see how I fed my caffeine addiction while in Korea. I felt like Korea’s insta-coffee technology was more advanced than I’m used to in the USA.
Every morning my office-mate and I make ritual foam for our coffee and whether I brew my coffee in the office or I brought it with me, it becomes the best part of the morning.
Now that I see the added value of my coffee ritual, I may have to figure out a way to extend this! Meet up with my friends all over for conversations and their favorite coffee (or wine)!
What about you?
What sparks the most memories for you? Sights, sounds, scents, etc.?
Do you have a favorite coffee shop or cafe?
Do you stick with big chain coffee shops or seek out independent chains?
What coffee drink is your part of the world known for?
Do you get coffee for fuel or to spark conversations?
Does the foamy coffee or the tiny espresso from my office has more caffeine?
Does anyone here drink decaf?! Speak up, I’d love to meet you!
…or do you drink tea?
#memories #butfirstcoffee #connections #communication #lattelove #bepresent #coffee #cafe #espresso #caffeine #highlycaffeinated #begrateful #shopsmall #Disney #afflink #Canada #Disneyland #makesmewander