It's been so much fun sharing my favorite places in SF with you. Today we are talking about places to explore and see around the city.
My favorite part about San Francisco is that there are hidden gems all over the place. I have listed some of my little places below but the best thing to do is wander around the city and find them for yourself.
I have also pulled together a fun Pinterest board with all of these places (plus the food places too!) If you are visiting, it will make it easy to explore. How cute is the map design too?! These Pinterest maps are perfect for planning a trip or getting someone else's recommendations.
Best Parks to Hang Out In
San Francisco has so many wonderful parks, some as small as a city block and some larger than Central Park. Grab your blanket and park yourself at these places for the afternoon (pun intended)
1. Dolores Park - In San Francisco, this is the park to be at when the sun comes out. Since the Mission gets more sun than other parts of the city, you can hope for warmer temps there. Just make sure to check out this handy map to make sure you are sitting in the "right" area of the park. While you are there, stop by BiRite for ice cream.
2. Fort Mason - I frequent this park because its so close my house. It can become very frat party-like on a warm day, but during the week or on a windier day its a little quieter. You can sit undisturbed under a giant palm tree while looking at the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. Pretty ideal I'd say.
3. Alta Plaza Park - This park is high above the city and thus, gives incredible views of downtown the Pacific Heights neighborhood. The park isn't usually too busy and is filled with families or people walking their dogs. Its the perfect place to open a blanket and munch on a little cheese and bread from nearby Mollie Stones Grocery.
Best Slightly-Odd-But-So-San Francisco Places
This category is one that had to be created for San Francisco because of its "uniqueness" These are definitely places that only SF could house.
1. Bison in Golden Gate Park - This little herd is one of my favorite San Francisco secrets. A herd of bison have been living in San Francisco since 1890 (when there were still bison roaming the Great Plains) In 1918 the herd grew to over 30 bison. Throughout the years the herd has remained in the chilly fog. Grab a city bike and head over to pay them a visit.
2. Slides at Seward Street - Hidden slides at a park? Sounds perfect to me. These adult-friendly slides speak to the kid-like attitude in San Francisco. There is always time to play here.
3. Windmill at Ocean Beach - Another one of those hidden treasures in Golden Gate Park, the two 100+ yr old windmills facing the ocean. During their heyday, they used to pump over 1.9 million gallons of water daily. They have run into slight disrepair and the city is raising funds to restore them to their former glory. It is fun to venture out to see them poking out of the park.
Best Events to Check Out
These don't happen every day but if you time it right and can take advantage of these fun activities, they are well worth it.
1. Alameda Flea Market (First Sunday every month) - everyone on here should know my absolute love for the flea market. This is the mother of all flea markets. It has over 100 vendors who have an assortment of treasures from vintage fur coats to industrial signs to midcentury furniture. Lining the sides of the market are food trucks with delicious food to keep you sustained during the 42 rows of vendors. Arrive early at 8am to bypass the crowds and nab the good stuff.
2. Picnic in the Presidio (Every Sunday) - I have been frequenting this event a few times a month because I can't get over how fun it is. Bring your blanket and spread it on the sprawling grass while listening to music and munching on food from food trucks nearby. They also have a bar with frozen mimosas and a cart that brings around bloody mary's. I mean thats all that you really need in life.
3. Film Night in the Park (check schedule) - I find it absolutely hilarious that during San Francisco's coldest season, summer, everyone still goes to movies in the park. But despite having to bundle up in four layers in August, I love the novelty of sitting outside and watching a movie.
Best Places to Go for A Walk
You will get a workout waling around the city. With the multitude of hills its not the easiest city to walk in but you are always treated with wonderful views.
1. Crissy Field - Sometimes I walk along this path facing the Golden Gate Bridge and can't believe I actually live in this place. The flat path is a perfect easy walk with a family or a pup. On the way towards the bridge you have beautiful views of the majestic structure and on the way back you get to gaze at the outline of downtown. I would say that's a win win.
2. Presidio - The lesser talked about large park is the Presidio. With its huge trees and quaint white-washed officers housing, it is a wonderful place to feel like you are far from the city. Click here to find the perfect path.
3. Pacific Heights - I love walking in Pacific Heights to oooogle at the beautiful mansions that have stood there for years and been passed down generation to generation. The prime street to walk down is Broadway between Divisidero and Lyon. When you get to the end, pause at the Lyon street steps and enjoy the beautiful view of the Bay.
Images by Ashley Batz.