Summer of Stuff (Photo Journal!)

Many summers, I regret not doing as many activities or going to as many places as I could have. I think part of that is because at the start of summer it feels like you have an infinite amount of time so “why not go somewhere next weekend?”
As sad as it sounds I was indeed procrastinating having fun–or rather, I was procrastinating putting in the effort to have fun. It’s really easy to “have fun” watching Netflix: you can just start it immediately. It’s a bit more difficult to “have fun” with friends at an amusement park: you have to find a time that works for everyone, buy tickets, arrange rides, etc.
To get over that hurdle, I made a list of activities I wanted to do over summer and which weekend I would do each one, filling up pretty much every weekend. The plan was flexible since I could switch activities around to accommodate other people’s schedules, but still packed enough that I couldn’t simply skip an activity. That helped motivate my butt out of the couch and out the door to do something that was not only fun, but also more meaningful to me.

Here are some highlights by location:

San Francisco 
1) Pier 39 to watch 4th of July Fireworks 
San Francisco has so much fog so very often that it has lovingly dubbed it “Karl.” And Karl showed up bigtime on the 4th of July. Not sure whether I recommend or discourage going to a foggy place for fireworks. On the one hand, you can’t really see any fireworks. On the other hand, the entire fog lights up like the inside of a lava lamp which is also pretty cool.

2) Salesforce Tower
I had a friend interning at Salesforce, and was able to visit them at the Ohana Floor at the Salesforce Tower! This tower is huuugeeee.

Though not the tallest tower in the world, it is the tallest tower in SF at 1,070 feet and 61 floors (the top-most one is called the Ohana floor)

For reference of what that feels like–this is the tower with a helicopter flying by it.
It has the most stunning views–these pictures definitely do not do it justice. 

Added bonus: the 5th floor roof is a gorgeous park!

3) SF MOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) 

I’ve been here a few times before, but it’s still always a great spot for taking artsy pics and twice as fun with a friend!

4) Metreon 
The Metreon is a nice place to grab dinner, ice cream, and watch a movie all in one spot.

5) Orpheum Theater 

I was lucky enough to win the Hamilton ticket lottery which I wrote about here (x) and it’s at the wonderful Orpheum Theater in SF.

San Jose Area

1) Stanford Shopping Center 

Though this is probably the priciest shopping mall I’ve ever been to (and thus couldn’t buy anything 😥 rip) the outdoor setting and beautiful decor still made it a fun place to walk through and window shop though.

2) California’s Great America
One of my summer favorites for all of its epic rides! Drop Tower is definitely my favorite one 🙂

3) Santana Row
I came here multiple times! Amazing food, shopping, and lots of cute places to take photos! 
Santa Cruz
1) Natural Bridges
Though our pics may not have been as fancy as the ones from the Natural Bridges brochure thumbnail, Santa Cruz is full of boundless places to take photos. 
2) Beach Boardwalk
This is one of my favorite summer spots! The Boardwalk has a little something for everyone in such a small area–whether it be kiddy rides, thrilling roller coasters, making sandcastles, playing in an arcade, surfing, or chilling on the beach. 

3) Mystery Spot
This tourist hotspot was worth going to 1 time. (maybe not worth the $8 + parking fee for a second 10 minute tour) But the novelty and silly pics I could take with friends were super fun! 

1) 17 Mile Drive

And while we were in Monterey, we checked out the 17-mile drive. It’s basically a loop with 17 scenic stops. It was also very good parking practice cause I had to park and unpark my 8-seater van 17 times in very dense parking spaces.

2) Monterey Bay Aquarium 
Though tickets can be a bit pricey, one of my friends got free aquarium tickets from her internship! It’s a beautiful place to check out with friends.

1) Berkeley Kite Festival 
The Berkeley Kite Festival is a super fun family-friendly event. Also, admission is free! (But parking is not, so you can be like us and take an Uber to the location 😉 )

2) UC Berkeley 
I‘ve visited UC Berkeley once before and what can I say…it’s a lot like other college campus visits–pretty buildings and lots of activities (even in the summer apparently!) 
Image result for UC Berkeley
Yosemite National Park 
The beauty of Yosemite speaks for itself. And none of the photos we took could do these views justice. Check out other photos here (x)

BONUS ROUND: Fun Hiking Places

I also hiked at a ton of different places:

 – Fremont Older
 – San Antonio Ranch Preserve
 – PG&E Trail 
 – Mission Peak

 – Castle Rock
 – Picchetti Ranch Preserve

Final Thoughts: 
 – Many fun places are only worth visiting with friends to share it with! 
 – Pack a phone charger battery pack (if you don’t need it, someone else will) 
 – Insulated bottles that keep your water cool even after leaving it in a hot car are amazing

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