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The ultimate summer bucket list


The ultimate summer bucket list: 20 ways to make the most of a summer spent in the San Francisco Bay Area.


  1. Attend The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Get the interactive movie experience with this cult classic at The Guild Theater in Menlo Park. The Guild has midnight showings for only $8.00 on the first Saturday of every month, so bring some friends and don’t forget to dress up!

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  1. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Explore marine life from the deepest depths of the ocean–with new exhibits such as “Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes”–at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Admission for students (ages 13-17 or with college ID) is only $35.00.

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  1. Go on a hike.

Great local hike destinations include Point Lobos State Reserve (Carmel), the Stanford Dish (Stanford), and Cavallo Point (Marin Headlands), among others.

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  1. Spend some time in The Haight.

Go thrift shopping, take pictures in front of colorful murals and intricate street art, and shop for vinyl records at Amoeba Music.

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  1. Have fun at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Ditch Great America for the classic summer amusement park experience at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Don’t miss out on delicious funnel cakes and a thrilling ride on the Giant Dipper! Purchase an All-Day Rides Wristband for $32.95 plus tax.

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  1. Watch an old film at the Stanford Theatre.

The Stanford Theatre strives to bring back the “authentic movie-going experience of Hollywood’s Golden Age,” according to the Stanford Theatre website. Tickets are only $5 for Youth (8 and under).

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  1. Attend local concerts and music festivals.

Popular music festivals include BFD (June 6 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre, General Admission: $37.50), Alice’s Summerthing (June 28 at Golden Gate Park, FREE), Stern Grove Festival (Sunday concerts June 14-August 16 at Stern Grove, FREE), and Outside Lands (Aug. 7-9 at Golden Gate Park, currently sold out).

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  1. Go to a drive-in movie.

West Wind Capitol Drive-In in San Jose screens new releases at $7.50 per person.

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  1. Spend a day in Berkeley.

One of the country’s greatest college towns is only a Caltrain-and-BART ride away, so don’t miss the opportunity to browse cute shops, eat at Zachary’s Chicago Pizza, and try a scoop of Ici Ice Cream–it’s well worth the wait!

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  1. See the Anderson Collection at Stanford University.

Stanford University recently acquired the Anderson Collection, “a gift from Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson and Mary Patricia Anderson Pence, the Bay Area family who built the collection over the last 50 years,” according to the Anderson Collection website. Admission is free.

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  1. Indulge in chocolate at Ghirardelli Square.

Enjoy ice cream sundaes, warm drinks, and other sweet chocolate treats at San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square, which also contains restaurants and shops.

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  1. Have a fancy tea party.

Make a reservation at Lovejoy’s Tea Room (San Francisco) or Lisa’s Tea Treasures (Los Altos) for a fun and fancy tea party with friends. Don’t forget to order crumpets, petit fours, and scones.

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  1. Go rock climbing.

Planet Granite in Sunnyvale offers Day Passes for $24 and Student Passes for only $18.

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  1. Have an East Coast-style Sunday brunch.

Outstanding brunch destinations include Mayfield Bakery (Palo Alto), Cafe Borrone (Menlo Park, recommendations: waffles and frosted mochas), Plow (San Francisco, recommendation: lemon ricotta pancakes), and Café de la Presse (San Francisco, recommendation: eggs benedict).

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  1. Spend a day in Pescadero.

Got to the beach, try fresh goat milk cheese at Harley Farms, and stop by Duarte’s Tavern for a slice of their famous Olallieberry pie.

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  1. Experience a Red Rock Coffee Open Mic.

Whether participating or sitting in the audience, Red Rock Coffee’s weekly Open Mics are a fantastic way to support Mountain View’s local music scene. The Scott & Marshall Open Mic has been a local tradition since 1998, and continues to take place every Monday from 7-10 pm. Sign-ups start around 6:30 pm.

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  1. Eat high-quality donuts.

Stan’s Donut Shop in Santa Clara will make Krispy Kreme taste like sawdust. Get there early in the morning for warm, freshly glazed donuts. Warning: they sell out pretty fast.

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  1. See the view from the Twin Peaks Overlook.

Drive up to the Twin Peaks Summit and enjoy a breathtaking view of San Francisco. Make sure to take some pictures!

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  1. Browse the Mountain View Farmers’ Market.

The Mountain View Farmers’ Market opens on Sundays from 9-1 pm. Support local farmers and vendors while purchasing wholesome food products to spice up your weekend cooking.

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  1. Spend a day in Carmel and Big Sur.

Stroll through downtown Carmel, watch the sunset at Carmel Beach City Park, and head out to Big Sur for stunning views from Highway 1 and a delicious meal at Nepenthe.

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