San Francisco probably deserves 10 blog posts with fitness and health recommendations for visitors, but I’m going to attempt to cover it in less.
Along with the healthy restaurant options and a booming agriculture region, San Francisco benefits from (almost) perfect weather, great scenery and a hilly city which all make staying healthy in San Francisco a breeze. This post is dedicated to recommendations IN the city, but there are even more options once you get outside the city (e.g., Bike over to Sausalito, Hike the trails along the Pacific Ocean, Lake Tahoe etc.). I’ll cover some of these recommendations in future posts.
- San Francisco Bay Trail to the Golden Gate Bridge (bike, run or walk): Start in Fort Mason or North Beach and follow the trail all the way to the Golden Gate Bridget. At the finish, you can either opt for hiking up the hill to the street level of the Golden Gate Bridge or you can stay at the water level and end up almost under the bridge. This trail is always packed with runners, walkers and bike riders on the weekends and is very safe during the daylight (recommendation: never run, walk or bicycle alone even at “safe” parks). The distance from Aquatic Park to the Golden Gate Bridge (at water level) is approximately 3.5 miles and includes a small hill at the beginning, but is otherwise very flat.
- Golden Gate Park (bike, run, walk, golf or any other athletic activity): Golden Gate Park is a must visit for its unique characteristics (e.g., Dutch Windmill, Japanese Garden and roaming Bison). There is plenty of green space for any athletic activity and even a golf course. Check out MapMyRun for running, biking or walking suggestions of anywhere from 4 miles to 10 miles around the park.
- The Bay (kayak, paddleboard or surf): The bay itself offers all types of water sports and equipment is rentable through Sports Basement (location near Crissy Field). The weekend afternoons are busy with sailboats and cargo ships, but get out early on a weekend morning and the bay is relatively calm.
- Urban Hike (walk): A walk around some of San Francisco’s neighborhoods is a great way to both see the city and get some “steps.” This is a “make-your-own story” recommendation, but my suggestions are the Marina District, Pacific Heights (watch out for the hills), Presidio Park, Russian Hill and North Beach which are all in the same area of the city. Warning: all of these will require some amount of walking up steep hills.
- Join an activity (run, walk, swim, bootcamp…everything!): At its core, San Francisco is an active city and I can almost guarantee that there will be plenty of possibilities for joining a race or outdoor bootcamp if you are visiting on a weekend. The San Francisco Bay Trail area (Crissy Field, Fort Mason, Marina Green) is the most common area to run into some of these activities.
- Ferry Building & Farmers Market: The Ferry Building is a staple in San Francisco and offers plenty of healthy restaurants inside. There is also a farmers market (Tuesday and Thursday from 10a – 2p and Saturday from 8a – 2p). I highly suggest going to the Saturday market as it’s much larger than the weekday markets.
- Off-the-Grid: Check out to see where Off-The-Grid is located when you are in town for a true San Francisco experience. It moves around the city, but Off-The-Grid is a gathering of some of the region’s best food trucks. There are plenty of options for any group, no matter how picky the eaters are.
- Anywhere – the great thing about San Francisco and the booming agriculture region that surrounds the city is that there is truly a limitless amount of healthy eating options, from food trucks to 5 course meals. Check out Yelp to find any food your heart desires.
More to come, but that’ll give you a good start to planning your health and fitness in San Francisco.