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Some of My Favorite Places in the San Francisco Bay Area

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

The Bay Area didn’t really interest me during high school. I was so invested in just getting out of there to start a new stage in my life (college) that I didn’t make the effort to really be grateful about being born and raised in that area. Not until I started college did I realize that I needed to explore the Bay Area to really change my perspective about where I come from and to appreciate how amazing it could really be. I wanted to list a few of my favorite places that I have explored so far, and I hope it inspires you to check these places out if you ever visit the Bay! 

Santana Row in San Jose

Santana Row is one of the busiest places I know of in the Bay for multiple reasons. It has a huge variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes, but what makes it stand out is how pretty it is. I have gone there multiple times to hang out with friends, and some of my favorite places to go to are Amazon Books and Smitten Ice Cream. There are also multiple areas around the shopping mall where you can take Insta-worthy photos. If you are only in the Bay Area for a small period of time, I would definitely recommend going there. 

Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz

Natural Bridges State Beach is probably my family’s favorite beach to go to whenever we want to relax and watch the waves. Not only is it great to be near the water but the beach is also a fantastic place for bird watching. It’s also a great place to see the migration of monarch butterflies from mid-October to January. 

palm trees sunset pink sky fun adventure original
Charlotte Reader / Her Campus

Dish Dash in Sunnyvale

Dish Dash is one of the best restaurants I have ever been to. It specializes in Middle Eastern cuisine, and none of its dishes have ever disappointed me. The food has always been so flavorful, and I have never gotten tired of going there again and again. Their lamb and chicken dishes are fantastic, but there are also a decent variety of vegetarian options to choose from as well. You can take their food to go, but the ambiance of the restaurant is definitely something to experience. You can tell that their decor, like the lanterns that hang from the ceiling and their other art artifacts, is influenced by Middle Eastern roots.

Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco

The only reason I really like going to Ghirardelli Square is because of how happy I get whenever I go to the Ghirardelli store while also being able to see the ocean. For some reason, that combination never gets tiring; I usually just get one of their soft serves from the Ghirardelli store and just check out the views of the ocean. It’s one of the best places to go to during the winter in my opinion, especially during Christmas time. 

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Sapna Parihar

U Mass Amherst '23

Sapna is a member of the University of Massachusetts Amherst chapter from the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a junior majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Psychology. Sapna is excited to continue writing about wellness and anything else that revolves around her passions. Her interests include dancing, crocheting, listening to R&B and Pop, and reading self-help books.