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8 Things Not to Miss Around UC San Francisco
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8 Things Not to Miss Around UC San Francisco

Visiting the charming town around UC San Francisco? Here are the top things to make sure you check out while you're there.

Palig Dzadourian

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5 min read

October 04, 2022

Disclaimer: California.com is not receiving any type of compensation for reviewing any of the products or services mentioned in this article.

San Francisco has always possessed this distinct energy that draws tourists from all over the world. Famously known as the Bay Area, there are a ton of things to discover and see. With the beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge and the many skyscrapers all around the city, it is simply an enamoring place. As a student at UC San Francisco, although focusing on studies is important, it is also crucial to enjoy the big city life of the Bay Area. There is always something to do in San Francisco, from getting active in the outdoors, to viewing landmarks and tourist attractions, where to even begin?

1. San Francisco Botanical Garden

Breathe in the fresh air of the San Francisco Botanical Garden, filled with incredibly beautiful corners.

Located within the Golden Gate Park, the San Francisco Botanical Garden boasts about 55 acres of open spaces and landscaped gardens; It’s considered to be one of the most diverse gardens in the world. When looking for the best things to do around the University of California at San Francisco, visiting these botanical gardens should definitely be on the list. Showcasing over 8,500 plants of different species and types, a single dull moment will not pass while you are here. To peak your interest, even more, the many themed gardens are quite unique and will definitely be worth your time. 

2. Amoeba Music

There’s always something cool about wandering around in the world’s largest independent record store.

Any hardcore music fans will know that near UC San Francisco you will find the world’s largest independent record store. Amoeba Music is a paradise for anyone looking for a wide selection of records that you might not find anywhere else but here.

The neighborhood that Amoeba Music is located in is also part of the fun. The Haight is the area surrounding the intersection of the Haight and Ashbury streets. You will find that this area still exudes a 1960’s vibe of counterculture, and serves as a haven for vintage clothes, music, pop posters, and body piercing shops. Whether you visit this neighborhood at night or during the day, the hype will be all the same. 

3. California Academy of Sciences 

Whether you are a student at the University of California San Francisco or a passerby sightseeing the wonders of the city, you should not miss the California Academy of Sciences. It is the world’s only aquarium-planetarium-rainforest-living museum. Experience the wonders of nature, space, and exotic spaces all under a single location in California. This is the perfect place to go on a date or to bring your kids along as well, as it is both educational and entertaining at the same time.

Explore the canopy of a living rainforest, discover the penguins and parrots as sharks and stingrays roam around underneath your feet, and visit the outstanding planetarium to fly out beyond the Milky Way from the comfort of your seat. What’s more, is that you can also experience the wonders of an albino alligator at the Swamp. 

4. Twin Peaks 

While you are around the area, why not visit the iconic Twin Peaks near San Francisco?

Twin Peaks is not only an amazing show, but it is also a place to visit just 20 minutes away from downtown San Francisco. As many locals will tell you, this is the best place to experience a San Francisco sunrise. The peaks are almost 1,000 feet high and they will give you a 360-degree view of the city, letting you take everything in. If you are lucky and the sky is clear, you will be able to see the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the Bay Bridge from a single vantage point. You can access Twin Peaks by car or by taking the public stairway up from the Castro. The latter option will make you break a sweat, so make sure to take water and some comfortable walking shoes!

5. The Gregangelo Museum 

One of the weirdest things to see near UC San Francisco is definitely the Gregangelo Museum. You’ll be able to experience some of the most exciting things this whacky house has to offer. Perfect for dates or a simple outing with friends, discover the two outdoor art experiences of the Gregangelo Museum. There are also riddle games such as The Riddle of the Sphinx, which is a daytime immersive riddle-solving art tour. An exciting way to take in the artistry of this place as you will only pass on to the next room if you are able to solve the riddles. Museums in San Francisco are many, all of which have something different to offer.

6. Japanese Tea Garden 

The serenity of the Japanese Tea Garden is extremely contagious.

The Japanese Tea Garden is an absolute must-visit when you are within the area. It’s the oldest Japanese Garden in the United States, located within Golden Gate Park. It was originally called the Japanese Village, as it was an exhibit for the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition. It was Makoto Hagiwara that pushed for the space to become a permanent Japanese Garden, allowing visitors to witness the beauty of the culture forever. After Mr. Hagiwara took charge of the garden, the space grew to 5 acres, where he lived with his family. Sadly, after 1942, they were forced to move to internment camps and were never allowed to come back to their home.

Visit the Tea House for a meditative cup of tea, where you can savor samples of Japanese refreshments in this newly renovated structure. Turn your mind off for a few moments to bask in one of the most beautiful gardens in San Francisco.

7. Panhandle Park 

A great place to bring your little ones along for an awesome day out at the park.

Panhandle Park is the place to go for outdoor lovers. Extending from the east edge of Golden Gate Park to Baker Street, this park is filled with things to do. You will find basketball courts along with a children’s playground where your kids will be able to run around and enjoy the outdoor fun. There are lots of grassy areas where you can take walks while taking in the beautiful background of the natural environment surrounding you. One of the best destinations to head to if you just want to clear your mind and relax for a little while. 

8. Campus Tours 

The University of California San Francisco has one of the prettiest campuses in the state. For future students of this marvelous establishment, there are a lot of University of California San Francisco campus tours to help you envision the place you’ll be studying in for the years to come. This is a great way to get familiar with the area and surrounding neighborhoods and start to feel right at home.

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