So, you got an internship at a tech company in San Francisco? Not sure what to do when you aren’t at a computer? San Francisco is a unique city with a diverse history and exciting neighborhoods. Luckily, it’s surprisingly small and easy to navigate. While you won’t be able to explore everything San Francisco has to offer in 3 months, you’re better off not wasting your time in Fisherman’s Wharf or similar tourist “attractions.” Here are five things to check out this summer.
1. Golden Gate Park: Golden Gate Park is undoubtedly the best urban park in the country. Yes, Central Park has a cool pond, and Millennial Park has a well-trimmed field, but Golden Gate Park has an ocean, a windmill, and buffalo. Yes, really, buffalo. If you visit, make sure to check out the Japanese Tea Garden and the panoramic view atop the de Young Museum.
2. The Mission District: Easily accessible by public transportation, the Mission is one of San Francisco’s oldest and hippest neighborhoods. Take a tour of Mission Dolores Basilica and taste the best Mexican food you’ve ever had. Sorry, Honest Tom’s. If you have some time to spare, head over to Dolores Park. It’s the perfect place to throw a Frisbee or enjoy some sun on the grass. That is unless you despise mysterious “herbal” smells.
3. Outside Lands Music Festival (August 10–12): If you’re going to be around in August, consider checking out Outside Lands. This year’s concert in Golden Gate Park boasts headliners The Weekend, Florence + the Machine, Janet Jackson, and Future. Tickets can be pricey, but Outside Lands is a must for music festival lovers. Just make sure to bring a jacket!
4. Haight–Ashbury: If you’re looking for a taste of hippie culture, you’ll love walking down Haight Street. This neighborhood is full of restaurants and independent retailers sandwiched between more smoke shops than you’ve ever seen in your life. It’s also prime people–watching territory.
5. Alcatraz: I know I said to avoid tourist attractions, but Alcatraz is pretty damn cool. The former maximum–security prison in the middle of the San Francisco Bay is as beautiful as it is menacing. On Alcatraz, you’ll learn about some of the country’s most infamous criminals and exhilarating escape attempts. Besides serving as a prison, Alcatraz was also a Union military garrison during the civil war and the site of Native American protests in the 1960s.