My Favorite Way to Spend the Day in San Francisco, California

Sutro Baths

Anyone who knows me knows I’m in love with San Francisco. It’s the kind of city that harbors a thousand secrets. You could live here a lifetime & never get to the bottom of what makes it so magical. What is it exactly? For me, it’s the hills so steep the sidewalks are steps, the Victorian architecture, the food, the free-spirited people, the parrots, the parks, the dive bars, the ocean.

It’s always a tough call trying to decide how to play tour guide when friends are in town. No doubt one could easily eat, drink and shop their way through our fair city, but to do this well you need to get away from the tourist traps downtown and venture off the beaten path. This is my favorite way to spend the day in San Francisco:

  1. Take the N-Judah and hop off at 43rd. Notice the ocean and then walk to corner of 45th, for a boozy brunch at Outerlands. I can’t say enough about how much I love this place.
  2. After brunch walk towards the ocean on Judah and stop in Trouble Coffee for a cup to go (you’ll need it to keep you warm along the beach). If you’re still hungry for something sweet, grab a piece of cinnamon toast.
  3. Carry on to General Store next door for a little shopping. Make sure you check out the garden in the back of store.
  4. There’s more along Judah here, so have fun exploring as you make your way down to Ocean Beach.
  5. Once you arrive at the ocean turn right. Go down to the ocean & put your feet in. Duh.
  6. Continue to walk to the right, eventually on the sidewalk, up the hill.
  7. Once you pass the Cliff House and Louis’ Diner, you’ll see a parking lot on your right. Walk through it to find the steps down to the Sutro Bath ruins.
  8. Explore the ruins and cliffs and caves, then walk to the Sutro Baths Upper Trail. Follow it to the right to Lands End Trail. In half a mile you’ll be on the Coastal Trail and starring the Golden Gate Bridge in the face. (Either that, or the fog!)
  9. Continue on to Lands End Labyrinth. Or go back the way you came and try to find Fort Miley. If you skate, you know what I’m talking about.
  10. At this point you’ll likely be getting tuckered and/or hungry so get the 38R at 48th and Geary. Get off at 33rd and walk south down to 33rd to Balboa. Stop in the corner store for a 6 pack, then make a left.
  11. Between 34th and 35th, you’ll find Shanghai Dumpling King. This place is legit.
  12. Once you’re finished with dinner, take the 31 on Balboa to downtown, or wherever it is you’ve come from.

Since I live in the Bay Area, I’ll likely have many more posts on what to do in and around San Francisco. There are a thousand more recommendations on exploration, along with where to eat, drink and shop. Stay tuned.

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