Outdoor Activities in San Francisco

Looking for your next place to visit in the San Francisco bay area? This article is full of fun activities to explore alone or with friends to enjoy with you!

Bike Across The Golden Gate Bridge

 If you love cycling and sightseeing, then you must include biking across the Golden Gate Bridge on your bucket list. Pedaling across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge is a thrilling experience that you simply can’t miss. You can start from the San Francisco side and cross over to Marin or vice versa. Regardless of the starting point, it’s an unforgettable ride.

As you cycle across the bridge, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the bay and the city skyline. It’s an excellent opportunity to capture some fantastic pictures, so don’t forget to bring your camera! If you or your friends enjoy this ride, try biking to some of the best scenic biking trails in San Francisco we found.  Once you reach the other end of the bridge, you can explore the Marin Headlands on the other side, where you’ll get to enjoy a serene bike ride on the mostly car-free paths. The end trail is the perfect spot to take a break and bask in the glory of one of the world’s most iconic landmarks. 

Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts is another one of the popular outdoor activities in San Francisco for both locals and tourists alike. This stunningly beautiful structure was originally built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition and has since been restored to its original grandeur. When you visit, you’ll find a variety of fun outdoor activities to enjoy including strolling through the beautiful gardens, admiring the views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and even picnicking with friends and family. 

Additionally, the Palace of Fine Arts is a perfect starting point for exploring San Francisco’s beaches and parks such as Crissy Field across the street. With its historic architecture, tranquil setting, and breathtaking views, it’s easy to see why the Palace of Fine Arts is such a beloved destination in San Francisco. Whether you’re looking to relax and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you or explore the many popular activities in the area, the Palace of Fine Arts is definitely worth a visit. 

Japanese Tea Garden and Botanical Garden

The Japanese Tea Garden and Botanical Garden are two wonderful venues located in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Whether you’re looking for a bit of relaxation, education or just some fun things to do, these gardens should be on your list. The Japanese Tea Garden is a tranquil oasis that offers a variety of traditional teas and snacks, surrounded by the beautiful flora of Japan. It’s an ideal spot for a leisurely stroll, and you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to another world.

The Botanical Garden is another day-trip favorite, with an array of plants and flowers from around the world, including rare species. You can spend hours exploring the different sections of the garden, including the redwood grove and the succulent garden. Together, these two gardens make for the perfect day out, offering a peaceful retreat, as well as opportunities to learn and discover new things. Check out the rest of our top 10 Best parks in San Francisco to enjoy the outdoors.

Lombard Street and the Stairways of San Francisco

Lombard Street and the Stairways of San Francisco are two of the most unique attractions in the city’s landscape. Lombard Street, famously known as the “Crookedest Street in the World,” is a switchback road that descends from Russian Hill with sharp curves and stunning views of the city. It’s definitely a place to go for those who love driving and sightseeing. Meanwhile, the stairways of San Francisco offer an outstanding way to explore the city’s neighborhoods by foot.

Some of the most famous stairways include the Lyon Street Stairs and the Moraga Steps. Not only these stairways provide an incredible workout, but they also offer breathtaking views of the city skyline. If you’re looking for outdoor activities in San Francisco, the stairways are an excellent choice for a hike and some beautiful painted and mosaic art that can be found on the steps. There are plenty of outdoor activities recommended on Tripadvisor. Moreover, the Coit Tower is a must-see attraction near the stairways of San Francisco. It offers panoramic views of the cityscape and bay from 210 feet above. 

Twin Peaks

twin peaks as an sf attraction Twin Peaks is a picturesque destination in San Francisco that is perfect for a day trip. It is a 17.3-acre park situated on two adjacent peaks, giving visitors stunning views of the San Francisco skyline and the bay area’s surroundings. The drive to the top of Twin Peaks is easy and the park offers two lookout points that provide gorgeous views of the city. Visitors can also take a leisurely hike to enjoy the breathtaking scenery.

Twin Peaks offers the best panoramic views of the downtown San Francisco, making for a perfect spot to take in the city’s beauty. This attraction is ideal for nature lovers and offers some of the best panoramic views in the world. The magnificent views of the San Francisco skyline and the bay area’s surroundings from Twin Peaks are truly awe-inspiring, and unmistakably San Franciscan. Perched 1,000 feet above sea level, Twin Peaks is a natural paradise that offers unmissable views of the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island is one of the most iconic and fascinating attractions in San Francisco. Located in the middle of San Francisco Bay, the island is visible from many locations around San Francisco, including Fisherman’s Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge. Visitors can take a ferry to the island for a chance to tour the notorious former federal prison that housed some of the most dangerous criminals in American history.

In addition to the prison, the island also offers incredible views of San Francisco and the surrounding area from its high vantage point north of the city. The natural beauty of the island is also a draw, with gardens, tide pools, and seabirds all adding to the experience. For those who enjoy history, adventure, and stunning views of the Bay Area, Alcatraz Island is a must-visit attraction. 

Festivals and Street Fairs

San Francisco offers a plethora of festivals and street fairs throughout the year, making it easy to enjoy the city and its culture in an outdoor setting. Strolling through the vibrant streets, enjoying local food and music, is a great way to get to know the unique neighborhoods of San Francisco. One of the most popular events is the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, which takes place in Golden Gate Park every October. Other popular events include the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival and the San Francisco Pride Parade.

The Union Street Art Festival and the Haight Ashbury Street Fair are also great opportunities to explore the art scene and celebrate its diverse communities. The beach is another great location for outdoor festivals, such as the Ocean Beach Music and Art Festival. Heres our guide on the best street festivals in SF for all seasons. Whether you are a local resident or a visitor to the city, San Francisco’s festivals and street fairs are a fantastic way to get outside, experience the city’s diverse culture, and have a great time.

San Francisco Beaches

San Francisco is famous not just for its iconic Golden Gate Bridge and cable cars, but also for its stunning beaches. Baker Beach, situated at the foot of the cliff, is the perfect spot to sunbathe, swim, or take a stroll along the shore while admiring the gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean. On the other hand, Ocean Beach is the top waterfront for visitors and locals alike, with wide sandy shores that cover more than three miles.

One other must-visit spot is Angel Island, a short ferry ride from San Francisco that offers spectacular views of the city skyline, as well as the majestic coastal redwoods. In addition to the ocean, visitors can also enjoy a variety of the best outdoor activities in San Francisco, including hiking, biking, and picnicking. In summary, whether you prefer a leisurely day on the beach or an adventurous afternoon in nature, San Francisco beaches can offer the perfect destination to suit your needs. 

Rent A Bike And Explore Golden Gate Park

Are you looking for a great way to get around San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park area? Why not rent a bike and explore the park on two wheels? It’s not only a fun way to see the park, but also a way to get to know it better. With so many attractions in Golden Gate Park, such as the Japanese Tea Garden and the Botanical Garden, biking is the perfect mode of transportation to maximize your sightseeing. We recommend this map of outdoor activities by Rei.

Plus, you can easily ride down to Ocean Beach and catch a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even bike up to Twin Peaks and take in a breathtaking view of the city. So, if you want to make the most of your time in Golden Gate Park, rent a bike and pedal your way to all of the amazing sights the park has to offer. 

Hike The Lands End Trail

Hiking the Land’s End Trail is one of the top outdoor activities in San Francisco. This trail offers stunning views of the beaches, the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, and the iconic redwood trees. Along the way, visitors can appreciate the diverse flora and fauna, as well as the coastal cliffs that line the hiking trail. The trail is a unique blend of coastal and redwood environments, making it a remarkable hike for all nature lovers. 

At the end of the trail, hikers can explore the Golden Gate Park, a beautiful oasis in the midst of the bustling city. You and tour friends can celebrate after your walk at one of these great San Francisco outdoor dining options. Overall, the Land’s End Trail is a must-do activity for anyone visiting San Francisco, providing a memorable experience with breathtaking views, diverse landscapes, and fascinating flora and fauna. 


Outdoor adventures await! There are seemingly endless sites in San Francisco to see, miles of trails, plants from around the world, there’s no need to stay overwhelmed in the hustle and bustle of the city. Next time the weather is good, revisit this article! Your to-go list should be full with outdoor things to do in San Francisco!