BART adventures: Embarcadero

Pier 39
Airwolfhound/Creative Commons

We often forget that Berkeley is but a short hop, skip and jump from one of the largest cultural meccas in the United States — San Francisco. The easiest way to travel there for most UC Berkeley students is taking BART, so we at the Clog have decided to find fun things to do at each of the major stations.

We will start with the first stop in San Francisco — Embarcadero Station. Named after the area and road near where the station is located, Embarcadero is your door to the eastern portion of the Port of San Francisco. The total roundtrip fare is $7.80.

Here are some places to visit:

Pier 39

Pier 39

OK, yes, Pier 39 is a giant tourist trap, but chances are you haven’t visited Pier 39 since you went with your parents when they brought you for CalSO. Now is your chance to experience the pier without parental guidance, meaning you can do all the uninformative activities you always wanted to do. We recommend laser tag. You can choose among the Laser Maze Challenge, Darkride and Beam Busters. Or if you feel like learning about the sea life that makes the San Francisco Bay “the Bay,” hit up the Aquarium of the Bay. To make your trip a little less lame and touristy, go to one of the many sit-down restaurants that line the pier that aren’t Boudin’s or the Rainforest Cafe. We also recommend walking down to Fisherman’s Wharf. And don’t forget to spend some time with the sea lions.

Price: Varies.

Address: Pier 39, Beach Street & The Embarcadero, San Francisco, Calif.

Exploratorium

Exploratorium

We know that every third grader in the Bay Area has been to the Exploratorium on a class field trip, but it’s time to revisit the museum for a more adult experience. Exploratorium’s 18-and-up hours are every Thursday night from 6 to 10 p.m. With more than 600 interactive, educational and mind-boggling exhibits, you can experience the childlike wonder you’ve been missing but in a crowd of adults. Re-explore the magic that is gravity, learn about waves and resonance or watch a dissection! Did we mention they serve alcohol? Drink and explore responsibly.

Price: $15 for 18-plus hours, $29 for general admission.

Address: Pier 15, Green Street & The Embarcadero, San Francisco, Calif.

Coit Tower

Coit Tower

We’ve all had the pleasure of experiencing the pure majesty that is the view from the top of the Campanile, but have you ever seen the view from the other side of the Bay? Although it’s 97 feet shorter than the Campanile, Coit Tower still provides an amazing 360-degree view of the bay. From the observation deck, you can see the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge. Also, be sure to check out the murals depicting California life during the Great Depression that line the base of the tower, done by artists who were funded by the Workers Progress Administration.

Price: $6 for residents, $8 for nonresidents.

Address: 1 Telegraph Hill Blvd., San Francisco, Calif.

SF farmers market ferry building

Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market

Located on Embarcadero at the intersection of Market Street, the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market is a great place to get locally sourced foods. With more than 25,000 weekly visitors, it’s also an excellent place to people watch. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (but we recommend visiting Thursday for the fullest experience), you can come to this farmer’s market, buy an artisanal coffee and watch as the San Francisco population shops for local veggies, food carts and entertainment. The nearby Ferry Plaza also has an array of restaurants and shops to peruse indoors.

Price: Varies — but it’s going to be less expensive than Safeway.

Address: 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, Calif.

Alcatraz

Alcatraz Island

Once a prison for the highest-profile criminals — such as Al Capone — and then the site of a Native American protest, Alcatraz Island is now a bustling tourist destination. Explore the island’s natural topography or take a tour to learn about what life was like for prisoners of this infamous prison. If you want to make things a bit spookier, consider taking an evening tour, but keep in mind that some of the exhibits won’t be open. Make sure you buy your tickets from Alcatraz Cruises, because chances are that the ticket you purchase elsewhere will be fake.

Price: $30 for daytime passes, $37 for night tours. Reserve your ticket in advance, because tickets sell out fast.

Address: Pier 33, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, Calif. (Note: Alcatraz Island is not on Pier 33 — you have to take a ferry from the licensed ferry operator located at Pier 33.)

Image source: AirwolfhoundChris ChabotDavid OhmerWally GobetzJonas Bengtsson under Creative Commons

Contact Sophia Zepeda at [email protected].