One of the big perks of attending UC Berkeley, aside from the education and late night food service, is that it’s just a hop and a skip across the bay from one of the coolest cities on this side of the Mississippi. From Union Square to Haight-Ashbury and every park in between, the Instagram opportunities of basic San Francisco sights are endless.
If you take BART to the city and get off at the Powell Street stop, it’s likely that you’ll pop up in the buzz near Union Square. To the right is Westfield Mall, the Mecca of capital consumerism. To the left is the quintessential cable car turnaround to takes you to the main tourist attractions that the city has to offer. Union Square itself is packed with an urban hustle and towering buildings similar to the vibe of New York City. A picture from here is the perfect thing to post for tricking everyone online into thinking that you’ve jet set clear across the country to the East Coast.
To combat the separation anxiety of parting with the liberal land of Berkeley and the secondhand high that you’ll be missing out on, the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood is located a few blocks from Golden Gate Park. It’s an area that’s stuck in the the psychedelic 1960s, filled with tie-dye and rainbows decorating the sidewalks. This groovy neighborhood has countless hippie shops and some sick record stores for you to use to pose as a full-fledged hipster on your feed.
Chinatown can be a sensory overload with the immersion into a plethora of sights, sounds and smells. The red lanterns and quirky trinket shops that decorate the neighborhood on Grant Avenue make for hours of scenic window shopping. If you’re willing to look for diamonds in the rough, the hole-in-the-wall food places serving steaming buns and flavorful har gow won’t disappoint. Let’s be real — dim sum served all day is basically what dreams are made of, and Chinatown is the perfect place to make these dreams come true.
For more mellow places within the urban jungle, the multiple parks ingrained throughout San Francisco are sure to suffice. Sprawling Golden Gate Park will transport you to 50 blocks of green grass and shady trees. The Conservatory of Flowers within the park is a must-see, and the rows of perfectly aligned petals will make you forget that you’re in the middle of San Francisco. The tranquil Japanese Tea Garden is great for calming down after experiencing the frenzy of energy at the expansive playground by the Conservatory of Flowers, filled with small humans darting around. Dolores Park is ideal for picnics in the sun and offers an unbeatable view of the city. If you go on a weekend afternoon, however, it’s likely that you’ll be sharing a picnic blanket with everyone else and their mother. Understandably so, because Dolores Park is a spot of calm in the busyness of the Mission District.
Never have there been so many amazing eateries in such a close proximity to each other as there are inside of the Ferry Building. Located along the Embarcadero, just outside of the Financial District, the vendors within the looming building have everything imaginable. From vegan bakeries to a shop solely about pork, there’s something for everyone to try. The toffee stand inside always has a wide range of candy to try and baskets of samples. Bonus points if you walk by more than three times to attain the sugar high you’ll need for a full day of sight-seeing.
Contact Amanda Chung at [email protected].