As UC Berkeley students, we’re a short BART ride away from one of the most eclectic, eccentric, scenic and lively spots in the world. At some point, we all need a break from the monotony and stress of our busy academic and extracurricular lives. Why not satisfy your wanderlust spirit and go for a day trip to the city by the Bay? While you could spend weeks exploring all the attractions and cultural hotspots that the city has to offer, we understand that as a college student, you probably don’t have that sort of time on your hands. However, if you don’t know where to start, fear not. We at the Clog have compiled an itinerary for your next San Francisco day trip to get you started!
Grab brunch at Plain Jane
Begin your day with brunch at Plain Jane — a cozy corner cafe located within the Mission District. It features both an outdoor patio and an inside seating area with a wonderful “farmhouse chic” decor. The light blue walls, elegant modern lighting fixtures and white accenting of the interior design create a pleasant atmosphere to enjoy your meal in. Although you may see a line outside of the restaurant, especially on weekends, the food at Plain Jane is well worth the wait. The menu contains a good selection of sweet and savory items, from red velvet pancakes to the New England lobster scramble. While it’s a little on the pricier side, the portions are huge and will fill you up until dinner time!
Soak in that vitamin D at Mission Dolores Park
After a hearty breakfast, walk on over to Mission Dolores Park to enjoy a game of frisbee, play basketball, read a book or simply take a nap atop one of its many grassy mounds. The park offers a vast expanse of vibrant green grass dotted with palm trees, and boasts an athletic field, dog play area, outdoor basketball court, picnic area, playground and tennis court. Did I mention it’s also all completely free to visit? With beautiful panoramic views of the city and the joyful sounds of laughter, friendly banter, excited dogs and singing birds, Mission Dolores Park is a great spot to either lounge outdoors or burn some of those extra calories from brunch!
Walk to see the Painted Ladies
A little over a mile away from Mission Dolores Park, the Painted Ladies is another free attraction you can’t miss. The name isn’t meant to be taken literally; rather, the Painted Ladies are a row of brightly colored Victorian houses, each seeming to have their own quirky personality and unique vibe. Visually, it’s interesting to see the juxtaposition of the Victorian architectural elements contrasted against the modern skyline of San Francisco. Go ahead and take a photograph for your next Instagram post at this picturesque spot!
Visit the de Young Museum
With free admission if you’re a Bay Area resident, and only $6 per ticket with a valid student ID, the de Young Museum located in Golden Gate Park is definitely worth the trip. This fine arts museum prides itself on its “significant collections of American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 17th to the 21st centuries” as well as “art from Oceania, Africa, and the Americas.” The permanent exhibition at de Young certainly represents a diverse array of cultures, materials, time periods and artistic styles. Make sure to also keep an eye out for their special temporary exhibitions.
Explore the Japanese Tea Garden
A short walk away from the de Young Museum, the Japanese Tea Garden offers a lovely opportunity to immerse yourself in the tranquility and beauty of nature. Admission is also free if you arrive between 9-10 a.m. With its “classic arched drum bridge, pagodas, stone lanterns, stepping stone paths, native Japanese plants, serene koi ponds and a zen garden,” the Japanese Tea Garden will truly feel like you’ve just stepped foot in a garden in Japan. If you’re feeling a little peckish, enjoy a cup of tea and popular Japanese refreshments at the garden’s tea house as you gaze out at the scenic landscape.
Sit down for dinner at Foreign Cinema
To end your day, head back to the Mission District to enjoy dinner at Foreign Cinema, a unique restaurant emulating an old theatre, yet still encompassing a cozy atmosphere with “industrial chic” decor. While there is an indoor seating area, you can also eat in the covered open patio, where a different foreign film is projected each night. The restaurant describes itself as serving “Californian-Mediterranean” cuisine and its menu changes daily to reflect what’s in season.
We at the Clog hope this itinerary persuades you even more to get your wanderlust spirit on and schedule a day trip for the city. The concept of travel doesn’t have to mean jetting off to some exotic faraway destination. You can simply board the Richmond, Millbrae or SFO BART lines and explore one of the greatest cities in the world!