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Davis, California

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Best Day Trip: San Francisco

Davis students share their favorite hidden gems in the city

By MALERIE HURLEY — features@theaggie.org

While the calm, small-town atmosphere created in the Davis community can be a respite for many from the hustle and bustle of big cities, students sometimes crave a little adventure on the weekend outside of the joys that downtown can offer. 

Look no further than San Francisco, voted the number one day trip spot for UC Davis students in 2022’s Best of Davis survey. A little over an hour drive from campus, the city offers a large supply of hidden gems to explore. While there are many well-known areas to spend the day, from Golden Gate Park to Chinatown, students have the scoop for some fantastic must-visit spots that may go unnoticed by tourists. 

For a taste of some salty air and a fun ocean adventure, the Sutro Baths, located north of Ocean Beach, gives UC Davis students an opportunity to play in the waves while exploring the historical landmark. Constructed in 1894 by self-made millionaire Adolph Sutro, the baths feature an ocean pool aquarium and the ruins of a massive public swimming facility, which at one time could accommodate 10,000 people, according to the National Parks Service. Demolished by the economic decline in the Great Depression and a fire at the site in 1966, the site’s ruins now serve as a playground for artists and beachgoers across Northern California. 

While climbing over the ruins of the baths, explorers can experience amazing ocean views and walk through hidden tunnels leading to a tiny beach that’s been the scene of many past shipwrecks. Camille Shakirova, a second-year political science major and Bay Area local, loves visiting the Sutro Baths with friends and exploring the nature around the site. 

“I really like them because it’s a unique place to look at the ocean, mostly because the focus isn’t just the ocean itself, but it’s the pools as well,” Shakirova said. “There are these beautiful flower caves and walkways that are really nice, and it’s just so beautiful. It has this very specific ocean smell, and it’s fun to see how the graffiti changes every time you go there.” 

Book-lovers will find refuge at the next location, a cozy bookstore on 9th Street called Green Apple Books on the Park, which offers a wide selection of new and used books across its multitude of shelves. Operating since 1967, the store is a treasure trove of books of all genres and has an inventory that is unmatched by most standard booksellers across the city, according to Megan To, a second-year political science and English double major and self-proclaimed book enthusiast. She highly recommends Green Apple, especially the location closest to Golden Gate Park, for its comforting atmosphere and proximity to beautiful scenery. 

“They have a location on Irving that boasts a good few stories, but [the one by the Park] is far better in my opinion,” To said. “Buy a book, grab a sandwich or pastry from Tartine nearby and take a stroll through the park nearby. It’s the perfect late spring or summer day.”

After a long day of exploring, students might crave a sweet treat besides the usual Insomnia Cookies or Davis Creamery that they rely on back home. For a bite of homemade baklava and Turkish delights, and for a chance to peruse authentic Greek rugs, lamps and jewelry, Aegean Delights in the Castro District allows students to step into a little piece of Greece without boarding a plane. 

Michael Yoo, a second-year landscape architecture major, stumbled upon the shop with his friends during a last minute trip to the city and now adds this spot to the end of every long San Francisco day to satisfy his sweet tooth before heading home.  

“The first time I went to Aegean Delights was on New Year’s Eve,” Yoo said. “The baklava is amazing, it’s in the historic Castro district and just an overall splendid treat.”

With so many secret gems and places to explore for students of all backgrounds, it’s no wonder San Francisco was voted the Best Day Trip by 71.8% of the students who responded to this year’s Best of Davis survey. You can’t go wrong with a quick day trip to San Francisco and all the adventures the beautiful city has to offer.

Written by: Malerie Hurley — features@theaggie.org


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