San Francisco Summer Internship GuideWritten by Nathan Parcells
Congratulations on landing a summer internship in San Francisco! SF is one of the most eclectic and beautiful cities in the US; offering everything from national parks, to niche art communities, and a bustling downtown. Historically, San Francisco has been home to risk-takers and independent thinkers, from the frontiersman of the 1800’s to the counter culture movement of the 1960’s and the tech visionaries of today, who are re-imagining the way we interact with the world.
At Looksharp we want you to get the most out of your summer in San Francisco so we took the time to create an Internship City Guide and give you some broad stroke ideas on how to navigate the city and maximize your time here. The guide covers everything from transportation and networking opportunities to how to avoid some of the many San Francisco “gotchyas” such as the absurdly high parking meters. See our housing guide for a full breakdown of neighborhoods and summer housing resources.
And don’t worry about finding the time to meet other interns, all you have to do is sign up for the Summer Internship Program and we’ll connect you with other students in the city and keep you aware of cool intern-centric events!
Exploring San Francisco as an Intern
There’s never a shortage of fun things to do in San Francisco or the Bay area. From hunting down the best dumplings in Chinatown to heading over to UCSF for a tech talk, San Francisco has something to offer everyone.
For a truly unique experience make sure to enjoy the food trucks. Seriously, they’re everywhere, impossible to resist, and your rite of passage from summer transplant to local. Whether you like chicken masala, red velvet cupcakes, pulled pork sandwiches or bbq tofu burgers, you’re guaranteed to find your flavor.
If you’re looking for something a little lighter than bbq and cupcakes, then spend the afternoon at the Japanese Tea Garden. Tucked away in Golden Gate Park, it’s often overlooked by tourists, despite being the United States’ oldest public tea garden. For $7 you can zen out amongst the lush gardens or enjoy traditional ramen, tea and pastries in their small cafe. Or for another version of a relaxing day, head over to Dolores Park for an outdoor treat. It’s a San Francisco jewel known for it's unique mix of eccentric people and is also home to some of the city's best views.
Known for more than just great food, San Francisco’s location makes it the ideal place to spend the summer. Be sure to set aside some time to take a trip with friends, maybe drive an hour or two north for a day of wine tasting in Napa Valley or Sonoma County. Or if you prefer fun in the sun, then drive an hour south (along Rt. 1) and enjoy the breathtaking views of California’s coastline.
A city with so many options can be overwhelming, so check out Meetup.com, Eventbrite, or Pinchit and impress your friends by customizing your weekend plans. Featuring exclusive deals to restaurants, festivals, networking opportunities, concerts, and lectures, these sites provide some great ways to have an authentic San Francisco experience with opportunities to meet new people.
Need a lift? The Need-to-Knows About SF Transportation
One of the best parts of San Francisco is how easy it is to get around. If you’re tempted to bring your wheels, don’t. Parking in San Francisco is very limited, which makes it difficult to find and very expensive. Most of the city’s available parking requires meter fees Monday-Saturday, with lofty fines for expired meters. Daily parking in the city will cost around $20 a day; meanwhile, garage parking costs $150-$200 per month on average.
So how do you get around? Public transportation! Muni which includes busses, light rail, and trolleys has over 80 routes and will take you almost anywhere in the city (but beware bus stops are marked with a large yellow stripe on utility poles and can easily be missed). Also, Muni transit has some punctuality issues, so take advantage of NextBus for more accurate scheduling or use the city's Trip Planner to figure out the best means of transit.
If you’re looking to branch out and explore the South Bay (including Palo Alto, Mountain View and the rest of Silicon Valley), Caltrain is convenient and runs regularly every day until midnight. Last but not least, for getting out to the East Bay, including Berkeley and Oakland you can hop on the Bay Area’s second major commuter rail system, BART.
When it comes down to paying for public transportation in San Francisco, it’s all about the Clipper Card. Using their online payment system, you can load your Clipper Card with cash, individual rides, or monthly passes to save money on fares and add ease to your commute.
Think you might need a car for a special occasion or event? Then take advantage of several
lots located throughout the city where you can rent a car for a single ride.
Keeping in Shape and Looking Good in SF
Incase the hills, outdoor parks, rock climbing gyms, and numerous bike trails don’t fulfill your cardio fix, there are plenty of gyms to choose from throughout the city. Local SF gyms provide unique atmospheres such as Equinox , a higher-end workout facility, or Crunch Fitness, known to be a gym for the less serious fitness fiends.
In addition to these options most summer interns tend to be on the cost-conscious side and look to big chains like Gold's Gym or 24 Hour Fitness that offer cheap monthly plans that can give you a place to stay fit during the summer without all the amenities.
Friends and family coming to visit?
If you have friends or family coming to visit, they’ll most likely either drive or fly into one of the three major airports in the Bay Area: SFO, SJC, or OAK. From there they can either foot a $50 bill for a cab ride into San Francisco or hop on Caltrain or BART. If there isn’t room at your place for them to shack-up, they can always find a great place to stay in the city using Airbnb.
Is there a doctor in the house?
Finding medical attention in a new city can be difficult, especially when you’re sick and need one most. ZocDoc is a great tool to find a doctor based on your location and insurance provider and also to book an appointment online. If you’re in need of any serious help, you can always visit one of the main hospitals in SF such as St. Mary’s Medical Center or the UCSF Medical Center.