The world is bigger than we could possibly imagine, and it’s scary to think we will never even scratch the surface in this lifetime. Even if we do travel to the same places, we see the world through different eyes, creating a unique experience. I am inspired by each of your stories, just waiting to be told.When I was younger, all I imagined of San Francisco was a big Golden Gate Bridge with some hippies walking around. Well, my belief was very distinct from the reality, but the city still possessed a unique and rare beauty that I have never seen in another city before.
As we drove across the Bay Bridge to the dorms of the University of San Francisco, we had a clear view of the city that sits on the bay. A plethora of old buildings that stood tall, boats coming into the ferry, Alcatraz plopped in the middle of the water, seagulls swimming through the wind, and thousands of ant-like people going on with their day.
I am now one of those people immersed into the city. I have been living here for almost three years now, and I now have an apartment (the rent market is disastrous and inflated, but I’ll just focus on the “pros” of the city).
The city is encompassed with acceptance, diversity, richness, fog, cool weather, water, food, things to do, people, dogs, and history. And it has a pinch of rarity within it.
I love to just hop on the bus, Bart, or Cal Train and absorb the city. There is so much to do here: The Painted Ladies, Market Street, Haight Street, museums, Golden Gate Park, Ghirardelli Square, City Hall, Ocean Beach, Baker Beach, the Piers, Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, famous houses, shopping, festivals…Every day you step out of your door a new adventure begins.
But, I am sure you all know about those city attractions because they are the advertised and popular ones, so I decided to compile a list of unique city events and offerings you guys should check out if you’re ever in the city by the bay.
1. BIG BOOK SALES
This event happens once or twice a year and it is one of my favorites. It typically happens in September and March. It’s a huge book sale put on by the San Francisco Friends of the Public Library. There’s rows and rows of tables drowning in books. It’s heaven. And, all books are three dollars and under regardless of condition. I had got 23 for $45. They used to do a dollar book sale every second Saturday of the month, but I believe that one ended.
2. NOW! FESTIVAL
This is one of the coolest, underrated, events of the city. It was co-started by my Professor I had freshman year, and even though he moved, the festival still lives on. It occurs twice a year, for a week each time. And, it is bunch of free events created and put on by people of the community to be enjoyed by the community. It’s usually in the USF/Panhandle area. It’s great fun though, and probably close to sixty or more events each time they do it. I had an event in the festival in 2015. My partners and I threw a midnight pajama silent disco party. It was awesome, and the other events are equally awesome so if you’re in town see if the NOW! Festival is taking place. It’s usually in November and April.
3. The Bluegrass Music Festival
This is a must if you are into this type of music, or even if you are not. It’s completely free with tons of artists and it’s a positive, harmonious, music experience.
4. The Stern Grove Festival
This music festival happens at Stern Grove and it is phenomenal because it has so many great artists and it’s all FREE! Janelle Monae was one of the artists last year at the festival. That is a little sample of the greatness that graces the stage at the festivals.
5. THE M– USEUMS AFTER DARK
The museums are beautiful and sophisticated in the daytime, but when night falls, the tone of the museums change. Most of the museums in the city do weekly night events that are club-like. Some do yoga with a DJ, or just dancing, or some other sort of club-like after dark fun takes place in the museum. This is something very cool that you must go to when you visit the city. The Exploratorium, the de Young, the Academy of Sciences all do after dark activities for adults.
6. MOVIES IN THE PARK
Different parks in the city are always doing FREE movie nights in the park on the weekends. You just grab a friend, a blanket, and some snacks and head to the park. They have large projectors the movies are displayed on, and they always play good movies. A few weeks ago they did one and they played The Devil Wears Prada. Soon McCoppin Square is doing Hotel Transylvania 2, so it’s kid-friendly as well.
7. MURAL and STREET ART EXPLORATION/SCAVENGER HUNT
There are many murals on buildings around the city. Many of them are incredibly photogenic as well. My favorite murals are on Haight Street and in the Mission District. It is fun to just make a day out of finding the different murals with a group of friends and snapping pictures of them. It can be even more fun to make a split up and make it a scavenger hunt. Maybe the team who doesn’t find as many of the scavenger murals has to buy the other team lunch or something!
This is probably one of my favorite events in the city. It is a HUGE LITERARY FESTIVAL! For anyone who loves books, this is heaven. There’s a bunch of free events in it, book readings, speakers, and there’s even a pub crawl (21+) that occurs one of the days I believe. It is a great event that you must experience when you’re in the city in Early October.
9. RESTAURANT HUNTS
This is something very fun to do, and to try different foods. San Francisco is known for its rich, mouthwatering, and diverse food. The city is considered to have some of the best food in the country, so be sure to visit different restaurants when you’re in the city. This is also a great excuse to get to the different neighborhoods, because every neighborhood is culturally different. The Mission has the best Mexican food, Chinatown has the best Chinese food, Market has interesting cuisines, Little Italy has great Italian food, and so on. So, try to eat at different ones! I try to eat at a different one every two weeks.
10. GARAGE SALES
For a non-traditional shopping experience, explore neighborhood garage sales or little markets! People in the city are always giving away cool things for free or for dirt cheap. Someone gave away a hockey table for free last semester. It was gone in a snap.
11. FREE COMEDY SHOWS
A lot of places around the city have free comedy shows certain days of the week. The Haight area does a lot of comedy shows on Mondays.
12. FAMOUS HO– USES/PLACES TOUR
Drive around and explore the famous houses of the city. It’s such a thrilling and chilling feeling to step foot where your favorite movie or tv show took place, even if they’ve never been there. But, it’s still the place you saw every day on your tv. The city has a lot of famous houses: Full House, That’s So Raven, Grateful Dead, Princess Diaries, Mrs. Doubtfire
13. STROLL DOWN MARKET STREET
This street reminds me of New York, because it’s so crowded and so busy. But, it’s one of my favorite places in the city. In its small vicinity there’s so much to do-restaurants, shopping, cable car, concert venues, watching street performers, and more. There’s always something going on, on Market street, so it’s a street you must visit.
*BONUS: Just hop on the bus and go where your soul leads you! Or, I sometimes hop on a bus and ride to the end of the line.
If you’ve been to San Francisco, what was your favorite thing to do, or place to visit?My name is Amie Scroggins. I started writing in the second grade, and since I was eight I have hoped to be published one day. My favorite genre is poetry, but I have a newfound love for list-making. I am a college student majoring in English, minoring in Journalism, and in a program to become a teacher. I love reading, writing, roller-skating, music/concerts, shopping, and John Lennon.
Interested in being featured? Email email@example.com with your destination of choice.