If you’re one of the many broke college students here who is struggling to afford fun summer activities in the Bay Area, this list is for you! Keep reading to get some ideas on things to do in the Bay Area without a ton of money.
1. César Chávez Park
If you’re tired of hiking through the fire trails and up to the Big C, try going to César Chávez Park. Get a beautiful (and free) view of the bay. Instead of Ubering, you can just take the 51B all the way to the Berkeley Marina stop and walk 10 minutes to the park.
2. Tilden Regional Park Little Farm
Did you know there’s a little farm where you can feed super cute goats and piglets in Tilden Park? And it’s free? Enough said.
3. Off the Grid
If you’re a huge foodie and want all the glorious Bay Area cuisines around you at once, you will love Off the Grid — an outdoor food market at which some of the most popular vendors in the area gather in various Bay Area cities throughout the week. Even if you don’t want to splurge on buying a ton of food, Off the Grid is nice for just picnicking and enjoying the Bay Area’s summer atmosphere. For the market’s dates and the locations where it takes place, look on its website. (My personal favorite is Off the Grid on Sundays in the Presidio.)
4. The beach!
Now that it’s summer and the Bay Area beaches don’t make you feel like you’re in the Arctic region, go enjoy the beautiful beaches! Yes, you’ll probably have to splurge on an Uber ride or a BART ticket, but it’ll be worth it and not too bad if you split the ride with friends.
If you’re looking for beach suggestions, some of my favorites are Baker Beach (pictured above), Fort Funston and China Beach in San Francisco.
Looking to get a little more cultured over the summer? Tour some of the best museums for less than $10 each. Museums in San Francisco such as the de Young and Legion of Honor are $6 for students — once you get general admission for one, you get it for the other, too! And of course, there’s always our beloved Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, which is free for students and right here in Berkeley. I’m sure half of you have never been yet, so now is the time to go!
6. Baseball games
Even if you’re not a huge sports fan, just drinking beer and eating hot dogs outside on a summer night with die-hard (and often drunk) baseball fans is always a fun time. Whether you prefer the Oakland A’s or the San Francisco Giants, tickets to games for both teams often go lower than $15. Click here for A’s tickets and here for Giants tickets.
7. Biking around Berkeley Marina
Want to enjoy some amazing views and fulfill that seemingly unrealistic summer goal of getting in shape? Bike around the Berkeley Marina, where you can avoid the crowds and cars in the main parts of town and enjoy the views of the bay. Don’t have a bike? Ford GoBikes are either $10 a day or $15 for a monthly membership.
8. Staircases to heaven
It seems like there are thousands of secret “staircases to heaven” in the Bay Area. And that’s probably because there are that many, enough that there’s a popular tour guide about all the secret stairs just in the East Bay (seriously, look at it). So if you want to stick with your goal of getting in shape, find some of the secret stairs around the area, and hike up them! To start, you can go to some of the more famous ones in San Francisco or find one in the North Berkeley Hills and another one in the Claremont area (sorry, there’s no available addresses to give out, but it’ll be like a fun scavenger hunt).
9. Game nights
To reward yourself for all the hard work you’ve done hiking and searching for hidden staircases, go out with your friends to play pool or board games. At Tap Haus, it’s only $6 to play pool before 8 p.m., and at Victory Point Cafe, it’s only $5 per person to play board games all day.
10. Berkeley Rose Garden and Codornices Park
If you haven’t been to either of these trademark gems of Berkeley, go before you graduate! Especially now, when the roses are in full bloom, the rose garden looks spectacular. Afterward, go across the street to Codornices Park, where there’s a 40-foot slide (I promise, it’s socially acceptable if you go down it).