Making the Most of a Bay Area College Experience

November 18, 2021

One of the best benefits of going to a school like Berkeley, is not just what happens in school, but what happens outside of it. The Bay Area is a diverse area, full of options, from the beaches bordering the chilly northern Pacific, to cities with major metropolitan offerings, to even mountains and beautiful California scenery. With so many different adventures to choose from, I’m here to share my favorite memories.

I’m a big foodie, and I love to try new cuisines from different places. One of the places I love to go with my friends is Fruitvale, a neighborhood in south Oakland that’s home to a large Latinx population, where I often to go a restaurant called Aguachiles el Tamarindo. Located in a stationary food truck with a large outdoor seating area, Aguachiles offers a large selection of Sinaloan dishes, from traditional entrees to newer, more popular food trends. It’s one of the many amazing restaurants and food trucks located in Fruitvale, and in the larger Oakland area.

Recently, on Halloween, I went with 4 of my housemates to Outsidelands, a music festival hosted in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. While it usually happens in August, this year’s event happened in October which allowed us to get creative with our outfits. We had the chance to see artists from many different genres, from rock to electronic to pop. While we didn’t stay the entire night, headliners like J. Balvin and Tame Impala performed as well. San Francisco in general is a hub for all kinds of arts and events. The San Francisco Opera recently put on their version of Fidelio, Beethoven’s only opera, which centers around themes of imprisonment and freedom.

Another opportunity to take advantage of is the natural and historic elements of the Bay Area. This summer, I was able to join a friend on a trip to Angel Island in the northwest bay. Angel Island used to be a processing center for incoming Asian immigrants, but has since been converted to a nature reserve. You can take a ferry over from nearby Marin to the island, which is home to seals, deer, and a variety of bird species. Yet another must see in the Bay Area is the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, which connects San Francisco to Marin county. While I usually enjoy the view from the bridge from my car, you can also walk across the gate for a more firsthand view.

For an option closer to Berkeley, the Berkeley hills offer a must see view you should see at least once while attending school here. A nice feature about the Bay Area is the plethora of traveling methods, from buses to rentable Gig cars, so there are many ways you can get up to the tops of the hills. While I usually enjoy the view with my family when they come to visit, the scenic overlooks are great for an evening drive or a nice lunch spot.

My recommendation is to definitely try as many things as possible while being a Berkeley student! Weekends are holidays are the prime time to explore the exciting and fun spots around the Bay.