Over the past few years I have been traveling to San Francisco for work, and every time I would visit I would leave knowing there was something else I wanted to do in the city. I started collecting a list of activities to do, restaurants to try, places to visit – all through recommendations, running past these places, or otherwise finding out they are worthwhile.

Here’s that list. Will I get through all of it? I don’t know. The Type-A in me writes things down, makes checklists, and powers through them. The improviser in me knows that I’ll roll with the punches, be opportunistic, and hopefully create a lot of great experiences while living here.

Take a look at the list and please share anything you would add! The list will continue to evolve as I explore life in San Francisco and learn about what to do and where to check out.

Venture on,

MEL, the Venture Gal

strikethrough means I have already done that activity or been to that place
bold and strikethrough means I have already done that activity or been to that place, but enjoyed it so much I would do it again!

Do (* means top choice)

  • Redwood National Park
    Aquarium of the Bay (yes, there is an aquarium in SF)
  • Planet Granite
  • Bay to Breakers
  • Kite surf
  • Matt Davis-Steep Ravine Loop
  • Lands End
  • Picnic at Ocean Beach
  • Japanese Tea Garden at Golden Gate Park
  • Kabuki Theatre
  • Exploratorium
  • Kayak
  • Rodeo Beach
  • Sail
  • Tomales Bay Hike
  • Ocean Beach Bonfire
  • Presidio bowl
  • Mission Bowling
  • Improvise at BATS
  • Giants game!
  • Run to Coit Tower
  • Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Twin Peaks at Sunset
  • Lyon Stairs
  • Walk down the curvy part of Lombard St.
  • Run in the Presidio
  • Golden Gate Park Run
  • Hike in Marin (Marin Headlands)
  • Hike Cataract Falls
  • Hike Mt. Tam
  • Big Sur
  • Hike Abbott’s Lagoon
  • Go to Sausalito & play bocce ball at Bar Bocce
  • Treasure Island
  • Point Reyes
  • Oysters at Pelican Inn
  • Muir Beach
  • Hike Angel Island
  • Esalen (Big Sur)
  • Point Reyes Tomales Bay Hike
  • Muir Woods
  • Butterflies in Santa Cruz

Inspired by 7×7,

  • Wake up early and watch the sunrise from the top of Bernal Hill (Bernal Heights)
  • Go to the Alemany flea or farmer’s market. (Bernal Heights)
  • Go trail running in Glen Canyon Park. (Glen Park)
  • Swim in Aquatic Park. (Fisherman’s Wharf)
  • Fort Point at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge (Marina)
  • Take in the views from seldom-visited Ina Coolbrith Park and listen to the sounds of North Beach below. (Nob Hill)
  • Brave the line at the Swan Oyster Depot for fresh seafood. (Nob Hill)
  • Hike around Angel Island in spring when the wildflowers are blooming.  Kayak there and Hike  in the fall!
  • Dress up in a crazy costume and run or walk Bay to Breakers. (Golden Gate Park/Panhandle)
  • Buy some of the best produce in the world at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market,
  • *Picnic with a view of the Painted Ladies (the Full House homes) in Alamo Square. (Alamo Square)
  • Run, bike, walk, pedicab, or rollerblade along the Embarcadero.(Embarcadero)
  • See all of your favorite bands (and discover new ones) at Outside Lands Music Festival. (Golden Gate Park)
  • *Go to the Conservatory of Flowers then people-watch on the lawn. (Golden Gate Park)
  • *Read in the beautiful Shakespeare Garden. (Golden Gate Park)
  • Ogle all of the hip designer boutiques in Hayes Valley. (Hayes Valley)
  • Educate yourself with the best indie music selection in the city at Aquarius Records. (Mission)
  • Meditate while walking around Grace Cathedral‘s labyrinth. (Nob Hill)
  •  Bike the Wiggle up to the Panhandle then cruise to Golden Gate Park. (NoPa)
  •  Take a tour around the Beat museum and then visit the City Lights bookstore, the place that first published Howl by Allen Ginsberg. (North Beach)
  • Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge during the weekend or after 3 p.m. when the bike path is open. (Presidio)
  •  Climb all over the ruins of Sutro Baths. (Richmond)
  • Check out the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project. (Sunset)
  • Vintage shop hop on Haight Street including Villain’s Vault and Wasteland. (Upper Haight)
  • Watch a free summer concert amid the eucalyptus trees at Stern Grove. (West Portal/Sunset)
  • Get a good (and free!) view from the de Young tower. (Golden Gate Park)
  • Salsa outside to a live band on a Saturday evening at The Ramp. (Dogpatch/Mission Bay)
  • Check out the view of our lovely City on the ferris wheel at Treasure Island music festival
  • Urban Putt

Eat (bold = recommend & I’d go there again)

  • Whole Foods of the Bay Area & beyond
  • 123 Bolinas (Fairfax)
  • Twisted 2 (Petaluma)
  • Pampas (Palo Alto)
  • French Laundry (Yountville)
  • Restaurant at Meadowood (St. Helena)
  • Manresa (Los Gatos)
  • Berkeley Bowl (Berkeley)
  • Rick & Ann’s (Berkeley)
  • *Chez Panisse (Berkeley)
  • Chocolate Garage (Palo Alto)
  • The Shed (Healdsburg)