10 BARTable Spring Break trips (that won't break the bank)

After a long and wet winter, there’s finally some (sun) light at the end of the tunnel. Spring Break starts March 25 for many of the Bay Area's colleges. If you find yourself staying local, we've rounded up 10 ways to spend your week off. Don't forget to pack your Clipper card and student ID because many of these places offer student discounts. 

Pier 39 along San Francisco's Embarcadero is BARTable

Play tourist in San Francisco

Whether you’re a Bay Area native or calling it home while you’re in school, there are some very cool “touristy” places in San Francisco that everyone should visit at least once.

The first step is to ride BART to Embarcadero Station and follow Market Street down to the Ferry Building. Inside the bustling building you’ll find shops selling everything from handmade ceramics to exotic mushrooms. Arrive with an empty stomach because there’s a lot of amazing food to try. Once you’re full (or better yet, packed up your to-go containers), check out what San Francisco native and BARTable intern Sylvia Sarabia recommends.

Cupid's Arrow along San Francisco's Embarcadero water front. In this BARTable Walk, you can take an urban hike through SF.

Take an urban hike

Our friend Guy Joaquin has put together an amazing selection of self-guided urban hikes all over the Bay Area. Each hike lasts 2 to 4 hours, and he points out the historic sites, tasty treats and fun shops along the way. All you need is some comfy walking shoes, sun protection, a bottle of water and your Clipper card.

The Orinda movie theater is BARTable.

Have a movie day

We rounded up every movie theater near BART and wrote about them in this guide. Find out which theater is closest to you; which ones serve food and beer directly to your seat (there’s more than one!) and the ones you can score a student discount.

Dolores Park in San Francisco's Mission District is a nice spot for a picnic. It is BARTable

Pack a picnic

Have you ever been to Dolores Park or Lake Merritt on a sunny Saturday? Unless you plan on getting there early, you’ll be hard pressed to find a secluded spot for you and your crew. But since it’s Spring Break, you have the advantage to show up midweek and have your choice of picnic spots.

We’ve rounded up food spots you should stop by if you’re heading to Dolores Park and Lake Merritt. And if you decide to visit Lake Merritt during the weekend, bring your bike and stop by the farmer’s market.

Onsen is a Japanese bathhouse in San Francisco's Tenderloin, near Civic Center/UN Plaza BART. BARTable

Treat yourself

The phrase “I’m going to get a massage in the Tenderloin” will probably raise an eyebrow or two. That’s because your friends don’t know about Onsen, a modern Japanese bathhouse just off Civic Center/UN Plaza. Longtime BARTable writer Linda Koffman wrote about why it’s a must-do here.

If you’re looking for a hair refresh, try these beauty salons in the East Bay and San Francisco.

Asian Art Museum in San Francisco's Civic Center is BARTable

Explore museums

Perhaps visiting a museum while recovering from a brutal round of midterms doesn’t exactly “spark joy”, but the Bay Area is home to some of the best (and unique) museums in the world. Whether you’re a history buff, art addict or experimental crafter, here are seven BARTable museums to fill up your week.

Oakland's Urban Wine Trail is BARTable

Take a moment to wine down

These are for those spring breakers who are over the age of 21. Oakland’s urban wine trail is home to some of the best pours in the area, and it’s all BART friendly. BARTable food expert Sophia Markoulakis put together this round-up of the best tasting rooms and urban wineries in the 510.

The Pawn Shop in San Francisco is a speakeasy and tapas bar near BART

Photo courtesy of The Pawn Shop

Check out the Bay Area’s newest hot spots

A bar disguised as a pawn shop? A surf club in Oakland? Linda Koffman always has a pulse on what’s hot and new in the Bay Area, and she’s rounded up her current favorites in San Francisco and the East Bay. Amaze your friends who went home for Spring Break with your newfound knowledge, and (better yet!) beat them all to Instagramming these new hot spots.

The Setup is a comedy club near BART

Photo courtesy of The Setup 

Let out a good laugh

Did you know laughing decreases stress hormones and triggers the release of endorphins (those feel-good chemicals!). So, let loose and have a good laugh. There’s plenty of BARTable spots to soak up stand-up. Local and touring comedians are always rolling through the Bay Area. We’ve rounded up 5 spots to have a good laugh.

Yosemite's Half Dome can be BARTable

Ride BART to a National Park

Admittedly, this option is a bit more complicated than hopping on a train car and pulling up at the gates of Yosemite National Park. But if you are up to the task (and really, as an intrepid college student, you should be), here’s how to go:

  1. Ride BART to Richmond Station.
  2. At the Richmond BART station, cross over to Amtrak and purchase a ticket to Merced (Merced is a stop on the San Joaquins-bound train). 
  3. When you arrive at the Merced Amtrak station, board the Yosemite Area Regional Transit System (YARTS) bus to Yosemite. Bonus: You won’t have to pay the fee to enter Yosemite National Park since you’re on the bus.
  4. The bus will drop you off in Yosemite Valley, where you can board the park’s free shuttle from destination to destination.

Of course, a bit of pre-planning is needed to make sure your connections line up. Amtrak leaves Richmond BART to Merced five times a day, but only three of the trains line up with the YART schedule and get you to the park before sundown. Your best bet is to catch the 5:54am, 7:54am or 9:54am Amtrak train from Richmond. 

Bonus! Win a trip to Australia

OK, we weren’t supposed to let anyone know until April 1, but this news is too exciting not to share. BARTable is giving away a trip to Australia, courtesy of our bffs at Fiji Airways (they’ve already provided trips to Fiji and New Zealand for two lucky BARTable fans). You can win airfare for two, a 5-night hotel stay and a pair of BART tickets to get you to and from the airport. Check out bart.gov/Australia beginning April 1 for your chance to win.

Eligible riders get 20% off fare with new Clipper START program

20 percent off BART fares for eligible riders

NEW! BART merch now available online

BART merchandise