Lifting the fog: A student’s guide to exploring San Francisco

San Francisco is known for many things: fog, the Golden Gate Bridge, fog, cable cars— did we mention fog? It’s also known for its plethora of diverse bars and restaurants. For a city that doesn’t even measure 50 square miles, it packs in a lot of interesting places to eat, drink and hang out.

Whether you’ve lived in San Francisco for years or are beginning your first semester, check out our list of some of the cheapest and most interesting destinations San Francisco has to offer.

Live music:

1. Club Deluxe – free, 21+

Jazz enthusiasts should check out Club Deluxe, located in the Haight and featuring free live jazz shows most nights. Drinks are pricey, but entrance is free.

2. Bottom of the Hill – $, all ages

Bottom of the Hill in Potrero Hill puts on shows for both the 21+ and crowds of all ages. Tickets range from $8-$20 with shows typically running on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Check out the venue’s calendar to see who’s playing soon.

Weekdays: 

3. Taco Tuesday at The Taco Shop @ Underdogs – $, all ages

Taco Shop @ Underdogs on Irving Street has some of the best taco deals in town, with $2 “street tacos” every Tuesday from 5 p.m. to midnight. Plus it’s a restaurant as well as a bar, so anyone can enjoy them.

4. Housepitality at F8 – free, 21+

If you like house music, the club F8 on Folsom and 8th streets has a free house show every Wednesday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. for those who sign up on the guest list and get there before 10 p.m. The list closes at 6 p.m.

5. Nightlife at the California Academy of Sciences – $$, 21+

Every Thursday evening, the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park turns into a bar from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. A bar where you can dance, learn stuff and look at fish, which is obviously the best kind of bar. There’s a new theme every week, with exhibits and demonstrations to match. Entrance is $12.

Date spots:

6. Grand View Park – free, all ages

The name doesn’t lie. You have to climb up a long flight of stairs to get there, but the view from Grand View Park on Moraga Street and 14th Avenue is worth it, especially at sunset.

7. Urban Putt – $$, all ages

Located on 22nd Street in the Mission, Urban Putt is an ideal date spot, with a combination bar and indoor mini golf course. Urban Putt’s 14 holes are more complex and inventive than the average putt-putt course. Games are $12. Anyone can enter, but the bar is 21+, as is the course after 8 p.m.

8. Musée Mécanique – $, all ages

You might recognize Musée Mécanique as the arcade where Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews bond in “The Princess Diaries.” Located on Pier 45 at Fisherman’s Wharf. Most games only cost 25 or 50 cents to play.

Nature:

9. San Francisco Botanical Garden – free, all ages

Open every day from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., the San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park spans 55 acres and contains more than 50,000 plants from all over the world. It’s free for all San Francisco residents if you bring proof of residency, and $7 for non-residents.

10. Lands End – free, all ages

Lands End in the Richmond district is a national park with hiking trails from which you can clearly see the Golden Gate Bridge. The park is beautiful and great for dates, visiting family or friends or just taking some time alone with nature.