Since I’ve lived in the Bay Area my entire life, picking just five favorite places was really hard! It was like Sophie’s Choice in my office today. So give me a little leeway if I sneak a couple extra!
The Hook—I absolutely love the beach, especially Northern California beaches. I love throwing on flip-flops and a hoodie, grabbing some tacos from Taqueria Vallarta or coffee from Verve Coffee and heading to The Hook, which is actually my all time favorite place in the world! Santa Cruz is a sizable drive from campus (2.5 hours) but my roommate and I made the trek numerous weekends for some much needed beach therapy.
If you’re not into driving that long don’t fret! There are beaches just up the coast that are much closer, (take a look at Brennan Puiia’s “The Places I Have Come to Love the Most” post for some suggestions). A popular PUC pick is Goat Rock (about 1.5 hours from campus).
SAP Center— Better known as the Shark Tank to those sports obsessed folk like myself. “The Tank” is home ice for the San Jose Sharks. Hockey holds a huge place in my heart, though I don’t know why since I spend every game anxiety ridden and pulling my hair out. But multiple times a season my friends and I gear up and scream our heads off as the players skate through the glowing, smoking shark head. Win or lose, those are some of my best memories.
But sports aren’t my only interest! If you’re like and me you love music, the beauty of the SAP Center is there’s always something different going on. Hockey season or not, the SAP Center hosts countless concerts and sporting events from charity tennis matches to concerts from headliners like Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Queen and many more!
AT&T Park—Working my way closer to campus we hit AT&T Park. Nestled in the kayak laced McCovey Cove sits the home of the TWO TIME WORLD CHAMPION SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS! My one true love is and always will be baseball. I get a smile on my face the moment I walk though the gates. Disneyland has been dubbed the happiest place on earth, but to me, nothing beats the sights and sounds found at this ballpark.
Not a Giants fan or even a big baseball fan? It’s still worth a visit! AT&T Park is listed as one of the top ranked parks in the country for more reasons than two World Series in the last few years. The crazy fans in costumes, the amazing food and the beauty of an ocean backdrop make AT&T Park a must see at least once! Oh, and Buster Posey—Buster makes everything better.
Sogni Di Dolci—I like to joke that I love food more than I love sports, and I love sports more than most people, so it’s a good thing I now call the Napa Valley home. You’ll hear a lot of people talk about the amazing eateries up and down the valley and they are not lying to you! It’s impossible to pick just one, however, I find myself at Sogni Di Dolci almost once a week, either grabbing gelato and people watching on their outside patio or having a meal with some friends and watching a game. This European/Italian-inspired bistro with an espresso bar and gelateria is right on Main Street in the quaint town of St. Helena, a short 10 minute drive from campus. They pride themselves, as do most places in the valley, on using only the freshest local ingredients and their food doesn’t disappoint.
Napa Valley Roasting Company—As a student, or a staff writer for a college admissions blog, finding the perfect study and writing spot is a must. Some like it quiet, some like it loud. I need a bizarre mixture of both. My perfect spot and one of my favorite places in the area is the Napa Valley Roasting Company, or the RoCo, as it’s warmly referred to. The RoCo offers great coffee and good pastries accompanied by a nice, friendly atmosphere and free Wi-Fi! Every time I stop in, I always see at least one PUC student camped out studying with their books and laptop, which always makes me a tad nostalgic.
As corny as it sounds, the places you go and people you meet in college will stay with you forever, so during your stay at PUC I implore you to visit my favorite places in the area at least once, but even more so, to find your own!