Dress up to run a race at Zappos.com’s Bay to Breakers. This is a two-days, 12K race that moves west through the city, finishing with a festival at Ocean Beach’s parking lot. For over 100 years, people have been participating in this race, whether that be by running, supporting on the sidelines, or people watching from a nearby bar. Watching the roughly 50,000 runners is incredibly rewarding, due to the sometimes crazy and fun outfits that get lots of attention and laughs.
POPOS are Privately Owned Public Open Spaces found in the busiest parts of San Francisco. There are nearly 70 POPOS that you can visit, even though they are on privately owned land. Some of the POPOS include the rooftop terrace above One Kearny Club, atop the Crocker Galleria, the garden around One Bush Plaza, and much more. They can be a bit tricky to find, so for a complete map of all the POPOS in San Francisco including their description, look here.
Seward Mini Park is home to the Seward St Slides. Two large concrete slides designed by a 14-year-old girl who lived on Seward Street. However, these slides are more for adults than children. The best way to tackle these concrete slides is to race a friend down to the bottom while sitting on cardboard, which allows people to slide down faster and not get stuck at the end. Cardboard is sometimes provided there, but its best to bring your own. If you’re feeling daring, use wax paper to make you go even faster or to even the playing field with small children who don’t weigh much. At the bottom, there is a sand perimeter for landing.
Seward Mini Park, 30 Seward St, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 831 2700
San Francisco’s Cable Car is America’s only mobile historic landmark. Starting atop Lombard St, you can take the Cable Car downtown or on a couple of other routes found here. At only nine miles an hour, the ride is surprisingly thrilling, especially when hanging off the side of the cable car holding onto the pole going up and down San Francisco’s hills. The cable car lines can take you through Nob Hill, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, the Financial District, and more. At the end of each of the three routes, tickets can be purchased for $7 or day passes for $20 that can also be used on Muni.
San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in North America and the largest Chinatown outside of Asia, making it an essential tourist attract. Although you can walk through Chinatown from any side, its best to start on Grant Avenue near Bush Street so you can walk under the Chinatown Fate. Throughout the whole district, you’ll be compelled to stop at any of the markets, restaurants, or shops along the way for authentic Chinese cuisine or small knick knacks, and to enjoy the colorful architecture and paper lanterns strung up along the main street. Also stroll through the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory created in 1962, where about 20,000 fortune cookies are folded by hand every day and then distributed around Chinatown and around the world.
San Francisco has more than 300 hidden stairways throughout the city. They are sometimes used to reach otherwise inaccessible places or located in alleyways. These staircases provide sometimes necessary pedestrian traffic routes or quiet places to gather or exercise. One of San Francisco’s hidden stairways is 16th Avenue Tiled Steps, also known as the Mosaic Steps, which has 163 steps covered in beautiful mosaic tiles, starting with images of fish at the bottom and working its way up to the sky and stars at the top of the staircase. To find more hidden stairways, look here.
Located in the San Francisco Bay, Angel Island is only a quick and beautiful ferry ride away. Angel Island offers panoramic views of the city’s skyline, Marin County Headlands as well as Mount Tamalpais. Angel Island is the largest natural island in the bay, providing more than 13 miles of hiking and biking routes all with breathtaking views. Angel Island has been deemed a park since 1954 and was previously considered to be the west coast’s version of Ellis Island. Although you can spend the whole day on Angel Island and leave satisfied, there are campsites if you want to stay longer to enjoy the views, cafes, and trails.
By Natalie Savio