Summer In The City: Things to Do, See, & Eat in 6 Popular Summer Intensive Cities

While most of your time at a summer intensive is spent inside the studio, it can be fun to take some time and explore your new surroundings! (If permitted by your RA, of course!)

So, we've gathered up some of our favorite things to do and places to try out across the country! From San Francisco to New York City, check out these hidden gems, points of interest, and local favorites that can't be beat.

San Francisco map - image via Pinterest

1. San Francisco, CA

If you're spending the summer in San Francisco, you're in for a treat. This welcoming and creative hub is home to some of the most memorable one-of-a-kind spots that are sure to make you fall in love with the Golden City.

For anyone who loves delicious and beautifully packaged specialty coffee and tea drinks, Lady Falcon Coffee Club is an absolute MUST! You can find their adorable, pastel vintage truck parked at Alamo Square (right near the famous Painted Ladies Houses) on Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Saturdays & Sundays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Pro tip: Buy a bag of Lady Falcon coffee beans (either for yourself or for as a gift for a friend or family member back home) at their vintage truck, and get a FREE drink of your choice from the truck! 

Speaking of the Painted Ladies, while you're sipping your latte and taking in the view, spend some time enjoying some of the most popular and beloved Victorian-style houses in the country. If you've got a camera (or a phone), try snapping some photos at sunset - it will cast an unforgettable glow over the Painted Ladies and Alamo Square, creating a perfect photo-opp! (Did someone say scenic Arabesque photo?!)

Another perfect activity for scenic views and something unique is the SkyStar Ferris Wheel in Golden Gate Park. At its peak, you'll be able to see everything from downtown to the Pacific Ocean!

Into vintage clothing? Check out Held Over Vintage located on historic Haight Street in the Haight-Ashbury District: the epicenter of the "Hippie Movement" in the '60s and '70s. From classic, retro tee-shirts to eye-catching, plaid pants you're sure to find a treasure or two at this special shop and lots of other vintage stores nestled in this famous area.

Seattle map - image via Pinterest

 2. Seattle, WA

The Pacific Northwest is not only an exciting city with a bustling metropolitan lifestyle and lots of local neighborhoods, but it's also a nature-lover's dream. Starting at the Seattle Waterfront downtown where you can find the Seattle Aquarium, to the gorgeous Golden Gardens Park with hiking trails and unbeatable views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, you're sure to find an escape within the city.

If you're staying in PNB's provided housing at Seattle Pacific University, you'll be in North Queen Anne, a neighborhood built on one of the highest hills in the city. While exploring Queen Anne, stop to cool down and treat yourself with some ice cream at Molly Moon's, a Seattle staple. 

Queen Anne is just a stone's throw from Fremont, Seattle, a bohemian and eclectic neighborhood that is home to a world-famous chocolate company called, Theo. Visit the shop and buy some yummy treasures, or even take the chocolate factory tour and eat your weight in samples!

If you choose to explore Golden Gardens Park or relax on its sandy beach, you'll be in yet another incredible Seattle neighborhood: Ballard. With lots of local eateries and shops and a ship terminal, The Ballard Locks, that connects to Discovery Park, Ballard offers something for everyone.

No trip to Seattle would be complete without mention of the Space Needle. Take the 43 second elevator ride to the very top to see some jaw-dropping views and take a selfie on the "floor-to-forever glass" rooftop.

Chicago map - image via Pinterest

3. Chicago, IL

Whether you're heading to Joffrey, Hubbard Street, Ballet Chicago, or any other Chicago summer intensive, you'll love the Windy City in the summertime. Situated on beautiful Lake Michigan, Chicago is home to some famous foods (deep dish pizza, anyone?), world-class museums, and even some beautiful beaches in the otherwise landlocked Midwest. 

Speaking of beaches, unwind and spend some downtime at the free Ohio Street Beach - a great spot that's close to the city but feels like a vacation in itself. Walking distance from Navy Pier and the Magnificent Mile, this clean and scenic beach brings you the best natural beauty within the city.

It wouldn't be a trip to Chicago without some deep dish pizza. So, pick your pie and report back to tell us if you're team Giordano's, Lou Malnati's, or Pequod's. For dessert, try Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, Mario's Italian Lemonade, Sweet Mandy B's or Stan's Donuts, open until 8:00 PM daily!

If you're staying in the Joffrey provided housing at University Center, you'll be steps away from scenic and point-of-interest-packed Grant Park. The expansive park is home to all sorts of things to see and do including Cloud Gate (more commonly called The Bean),the Shedd AquariumAdler Planetarium, The Field Museum of Natural History, and The Art Institute of Chicago.

For a truly Chicago experience, try to swing tickets to a Cubs baseball game at historic, Wrigley Field. Located in a neighborhood setting right in the city, Wrigley is a charming ballpark with iconic ivy-covered walls and hand-turned scoreboard! Fun fact: Wrigley Field is the only Major League Baseball stadium without padded walls; the ivy is such a valued part of its tradition that the stadium was allowed special permissions to keep it!

For those of you who love the visual arts as well as the performing arts, Chicago's Art Institute the is one of the best in the country. Don't miss artist Bisa Butler's unique exhibit, Portraits, which uses vibrant textiles and fabric to portray the lives and experiences of the Black community. (The exhibit runs through September 6th.) 

Houston map - image via Pinterest

4. Houston, TX

As the fourth largest city in the United States, Houston offers so much to do and see around the city. From the interactive and intriguing Color Factory, to Victoria, the T. rex., (the most complete tyrannosaurus rex skeleton you can see in the world!) at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, it will be hard to choose where to go first!

For an incredibly unique array of shops and restaurants, spend an evening or afternoon strolling through Houston's walkable garden district, Rice Village. With over 300 shops in a 16-block area, this district will give you a little bit of everything. For a sweet treat, stop by the Chocolate Bar... enough said. For even more shopping, 19th Street in the Heights is packed with antique stores, art galleries, thrift shops, and more.

If you decide to head out and explore the Rice Village area (hint: you should), be sure to stop by the Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Shop for a scoop (or 3) of their delicious French ice cream! French ice cream means it's made with extra eggs, which the company believes makes for the best ice cream out there. Vegan? Not a problem! With one of the largest selections of cashew and oat milk vegan ice cream flavors, you're sure to find something you love. Or, if you can't make it in person, they'll bring their delicious scoops to your door via Grub Hub, UberEats, Postmates, DoorDash, Caviar, or Seamless! 

Another can't-miss-spot in town is the 445 acre Hermann Park. The sprawling park is home of many points of interest, including: the Houston ZooMiller Outdoor Theatre, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and the Hermann Park Golf Course.

Miami map - image via Pinterest

5. Miami, FL

If you're lucky enough to call Miami "home" for a few weeks this summer, you'll enjoy a multi-cultural city with an upbeat lifestyle and beaches that can't be beat.

Miami City Ballet is located on Miami Beach, an island city that's connected to mainland Miami by bridges. The Cuban influence is an undeniable heartbeat of the city, so you'll find that there are many authentic Cuban restaurants everywhere you look. One particularly popular spot is Havana 1957. It's located on Miami Beach, not too far from Miami City Ballet, and will give you a delicious meal with an old-world Cuban experience like no other. Oh, and by the way, they deliver!

Another gem located within walking distance from the ballet studios is the stunningly tropical Miami Beach Botanical Garden. The sustainable garden is located on a 3 acre plot of land and features beautiful palms, orchids, a Japanese garden, and natural wildlife.

Located in Miami, itself, the Wynwood Arts District is a must-see artsy and trendy neighborhood packed with world famous murals, restaurants, and eclectic shopping. After exploring, fan-off and make a pit stop for an Insta-worthy popsicle at Cielito Artisan Pops.

You can also venture to Miami Design District, home to the who's who of designer shops including Fendi, Dior, Balenciaga, and more. If you're interested in doing some window shopping at Prada, or stopping for a small bite and cappuccino at the Fendi Caffe, this district will leave you feeling like a million bucks. 

For another unique cultural restaurant experience, check out Layla, serving up a modern Middle Eastern menu. Located in the Kayak hotel across the street from Miami City Ballet, it can't get more convenient or delicious than this. With an impressive selection of tasty looking salads and larger plates perfect for sharing with friends, Layla will open your eyes (and tastebuds!) to new flavors.

NYC map - image via Pinterest

6. New York City, NY

There's nothing like summer in the Big Apple; with too many intensives to list, New York City hosts dancers and artists from all around the world each summer and gives everyone a taste of the City of Dreams.

It's no secret that New York City is home to a large number of Italian-Americans. In fact, Italians make up the largest ethnic group in the city, with over 2.6 million Italians and Italian-Americans in the greater New York metro area! To be surrounded by all things Italian, take a trip to Eataly, and feel instantly transported to The Boot. With their Flatiron location just up the street from ABT, you can sense the passion of the Italian culture as you peruse the aisles or eat at one of the seven restaurants located inside.

Just a 5 minute walk from Eataly is Rizzoli, a truly unique, independent bookstore that specializes in topics like fashion, interior design, art, architecture, photography, design, and literature. They call themselves, "The most beautiful book store in the city," and we don't think they're wrong! 

If you're attending SAB, you'll be near Central Park, where you can simply walk around and enjoy the famous green oasis within the city or even visit the Central Park Zoo. Afterwards, head to Rosa Mexicano (directly across from Lincoln Center) for a scrumptious Mexican meal and order the guacamole that's made to order at your table!

For another outdoor activity that's not too far from ABT and SAB, walk the High Line, a public park built on an old freight rail line. It's elevated above the bustling streets on Manhattan’s West Side and came about as a result of resilient residents who banded together to save it from being demolished. It was built in 2009 as a public space combining nature with art and design and has amazing views of the city and the Hudson River.

For a museum experience like no other, check out the Whitney Museum of American Art, which specializes in art by living artists as well as those from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Did we miss something in your favorite city? Comment below!

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