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Here are 8 outdoor activities you can do in San Francisco

Paying a visit to the city by the bay but still nervous of Covid? Here are 8 outdoor activities in San Francisco that will keep your risk low but still allow you to see the sights.

Blogger Rosanna Stevens at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco
Plenty of space to social distance at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco

We all love to travel and explore new places, but it can be nerve-wracking right now. Being outside in the open air feels like a much safer place to be, and thankfully, there is still so much to see!


Outdoor activities in San Francisco

  1. Visit the San Francisco Botanical Gardens

  2. Go to Baker Beach and take a pic of the Golden Gate Bridge

  3. Stand under the Golden Gate Park Windmills

  4. Hike around the coastline

  5. Explore the Japanese Tea Gardens

  6. Walk around the piers and visit the seals

  7. Take in the Palace of Fine Arts

  8. Laze on Ocean Beach


1. Visit the San Francisco Botanical Gardens

Wander around this 55-acre urban oasis that contains over 8000 different types of plant from around the world. The garden is separated into regions to explore Meso America, South Africa, New Zealand and Europe and more all in one place! Plus, meet the resident turtles that bask on rocks by the pond. There are lawns to laze on and secret paths through trees; I can spend hours here.

What does it cost? From $9 for adults, discounts for children, seniors and San Francisco residents

Visit sfbg.org for further information on tickets and opening hours


The view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Baker Beach
The view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Baker Beach

2. Go to Baker beach and get a pic of the Golden Gate Bridge

One of the Golden Gate Bridge's best views is from Baker Beach. The sand stretches out ahead of you, and the famous bridge frames the shot as it reaches over to Marin County. On clear days you can see all the way over the water, or sometimes Karl the Fog will make an appearance, but actually, it can create a very atmospheric shot!

What does it cost? Nothing!

Find parking information and directions here.


The Golden Gate Park Windmills in San Francisco
The Golden Gate Park Windmills in San Francisco


3. Stand under the Golden Gate Park Windmills

Driving down the Great Highway past Ocean Beach, you will see a peculiar sight. Two majestic windmills stretching out of the treeline in Golden Gate Park. They are known as the South or Murphy windmill, the North, or Dutch windmill, and they have been there since the early 1900s. Nestled in beautiful gardens, they are definitely worth a visit, and you can take a walk along the beach and watch some surfers afterwards. The best time to visit is during March and April when the tulips are all in flower.

What does it cost? Nothing! You can park at Ocean Beach and cross the road into the park.

Want to know more? Read my blog post all about the Golden Gate Park Windmills from when I went to see them.



4. Hike around the coastline

One of my favourite places to walk is around Lands End, starting in Sea Cliff and working my way around to Sutro Heights. Check out the USS San Francisco Memorial and get some sea air.

What does it cost? Nothing!



5. Explore the Japanese Tea Gardens

The Japanese Tea Gardens are a perfectly maintained slice of serenity amongst the city's buzz. The oldest public Japanese garden in America, it has sculptures, reflecting pools full of Koi and beautiful planting, all designed to create a calm and tranquil environment. Come Spring, queues can be long due to eeeeeveryone wanting to see the cherry blossoms, so plan accordingly! There is also a gorgeous tea room and gift shop. I wrote a blog post on it here too.

What does it cost? From $10 for an adult, discounts for children, seniors and San Francisco residents

Visit japaneseteagardensf.com for further information on tickets and opening hours.



6. Walk around Fisherman's Wharf and visit the sea lions.

There is a lot to do at Fisherman's Wharf, both inside and out, but I love to wander around the piers, people watch and, of course, visit the sea lions at Pier 39. Are they loud and smelly? Yes. But are they also adored San Francisco residents that everyone wants to see? Yes. In pre-covid times this area was always a buzz, and it is quieter right now but still as picturesque as ever and has a real vacation vibe to it.

What does it cost? Nothing!



7. Take in the Palace of Fine Arts

The external parts of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco are an architectural marvel and simply glorious to behold. Meander around later in the day in the golden afternoon light that makes it look like you are literally at the gates of Heaven. There is a small park area next door for a picnic too!

What does it cost? Nothing!



8. Laze on Ocean beach

And finally, it's time to relax. The weather in San Francisco can be...temperamental...but when it is warm and sunny, Ocean Beach is the place to take a break. An enormous expanse of sand that stretches for miles, you can find a spot and watch kite surfers or brave people swimming (watch out for rip tides).

What does it cost? Nothing!


I hope you've enjoyed reading about my favourite 8 outdoor activities in San Francisco. With the world opening up again post-Covid, we can all hopefully travel and explore at will soon, but until then, stay safe.


Do you have a question about visiting San Francisco? Ask me below!

Let me know using the comments section or join me on Instagram to start a conversation.


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