This second self-guided tour of San Francisco covers the historic core all the way into the Pacific Ocean. Everyone, young and old will find a wide variety of scenery on this walking tour from the urban center, green spaces and the edge of the wild, wild west!
What to Wear:
Don’t jump in the Pacific just yet! San Francisco is notoriously chilly even during the summer so, dress in layers and throw on a scarf. Civic Center is usually warmer than the beach, but walking uphill may work up a sweat if you’re not used to it.
Part II: Civic Center to Ocean Beach
San Francisco’s Civic Center is the home of many major historical events from Harvey Milk & Mayor Moscone’s assassinations, Gavin Newsom directing county clerk’s to issue same-sex marriage licenses, countless international, LGBT and Giants World Series celebrations, to our very own nuptials. Awwwwww!
- Sip Turkish coffee and tea the way I like to get caffeinated at Philz Coffee
- Eat at Elmira Rosticceria – I’ve only had their Crispy Pork Salad but everything else looks delicious!
- Asian Art Museum is $5 after 5pm on Thursdays and free one Sunday a month
Head west past Van Ness Ave. to Hayes St. for hip shops, a Burning Man installation and Isotope, a comic book lounge. But really, you’re just passing through a semi-steep walk up to Alamo Square Park to see the infamous Painted Ladies, also known as the Victorian homes you see in the opening sequence of Full House. After, keep walking up Hayes St. until you hit Divisadero, another neighborhood and turn left until Haight St. Then, be prepared for another uphill walk! Your butt will totally look good at the end of this trip.
Locals call it Upper Haight or that sh*t show by the park where the hippies used to make free love in the sixties. I used to call this neighborhood home and the best/worst parts are: the shops are open between 12:00-18:00 but they have gotten better and upgraded to that Melrose/Fairfax hip-hop shop effect. If you see a line, sneakerheads are awaiting a limited/new release to stockpile or eBay when they realize they’ve become hoarders.
- Have brunch at Magnolia Brewery or Zazie in Cole Valley before the shops open
- Grab a slice of Potato and Garlic at Escape from New York
- Head up Cole St. (Cole Valley) for an old fashioned icy treat at The Ice Cream Bar Soda Fountain
If you’re in San Francisco on a Sunday, put on your exploring outfits and make like Dora on a bike, skateboard, skates, blades or whatever and check out the Bison Paddock, swing dancers, 80s roller skating crew, Dutch Windmill, etc. You enter the park near Upper Haight on Stanyan St. and Oak/Fell which turns into JFK. It’s kinda confusing so I made you a map (see below). You can traverse the entire course of the park by heading west and ending up at the coast.
- Kendel recommends the California Academy of Sciences with its earthquake simulator, planetarium, rainforest tower thingy, coral reefs and behind-the-scenes tour.
- Eat Twirl & Dip Soft Serve by the Shakespeare Garden
- Paddle or pedal a boat around Stow Lake and climb up Strawberry Hill
- Play at the Golden Gate Park Disc Golf Course – Yes, frolf.
Ocean Beach gets cold as the sun sets so, bring a jacket or your own firewood (buy it from the nearby Safeway) for a beachfront campfire and stay within the concrete rings (READ: park rules). But if you’d rather explore and there’s enough daylight still head to Sutro Baths, a historical saltwater bathhouse and then, walk over to the Land’s End Labyrinth for a view like no other and bonus points for you if you can find the swing. Let out a semi-audible sigh and sing this robotic melody softly, “CALIFORNIA LOVE”, and then break out into a victory dance while audibly singing, “California knows how to party! In the city of LA, Compton, Watts, etc.” Hopefully, someone will be recording this most triumphant moment and will send it to me in the form of a social media tag.
Hope you enjoy exploring San Francisco and if I can make this list better, comment below! Missed out Part I: Chinatown to Alcatraz and don’t forget to read Part III: Financial District to Golden Gate Bridge.