If you're going to San Francisco...be sure to pack your running shoes! This city has SO MUCH TO OFFER both within and just outside the city's limits. From dense forests to sandstone peaks, iconic architecture to ocean views, we've got it all! Spend some time in San Fran and you'll soon discover why it's the healthiest city in the nation.
In this article, Lily Trotters Ambassador, Casey, dishes on the best places to work up a sweat, disconnect and grab a bite to eat in San Francisco.
Best Places to Run
Convenient run with AMAZING VIEWS. The Presidio is where it's at! There's no shortage of running options when you head to The Presidio. From varying terrain to varying difficulty - there's something to accommodate any workout here. Not to mention, you get killer views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the city skyline and can occasionally see incredible wildlife...think whale watching! Whether you are short on time or looking to get a few hours on your feet, The Presidio won't let you down! Oh, and it's a national park within the city! How cool is that?! You can download the trail map here.
REDWOODS! Redwood Regional Park in Oakland is a great way to get some challenging climbs in without having to drive too far. Park at Skyline Gate and head over to the French Trail. You won't be disappointed, but your legs may need an extra day to recover! You can get a ton of vert in a relatively short time if you're game. These trails are soft and despite the climbs, not very technical. It really is a trail runner's paradise. And, there is nothing better than the smell of the forest and the magic in the towering trees and lush ferns. Click here to find my favorite run in Redwood Regional Park!
Head for the Hills AND the Sun! More like one giant hill, as in a mountain...Mt. Diablo (located in the East Bay) provides unique terrain and an often warmer climate than what can be found within the city. About a 45 minute drive from SF and you'll soon be soaking up sun and running alongside sandstone spires and neat caves. You'll be hard-pressed to find an easy run here, but it's worth the challenge and you'll want to take a few breaks just to take in the views. Especially from the 3,000+ foot peak where on a clear day you can see the Golden Gate Bridge and the snow-capped Sierras! One thing to note, dogs are not permitted on the mountain - so you'll have to leave your running buddy at home.
Best Running Store
It's a tie! There are two running stores in the bay area that have made a significant impact on the running scene. San Francisco Running Company and TRANSPORTS have the best gear and most knowledgeable staff in town. If you're a "runnerd" like me, an added bonus is that you can often catch a glimpse of some local elite runners and quietly stare at them in a totally normal fan-girl way. Play it cool. Seriously though, if you need to add to your collection - head on over to one of these two retailers. Support the local economy, get the skinny on the latest trends and ask the staff for input on their favorite places to work up a sweat in the city.
Best Places to Cross Train
Take it inside! Barry's Bootcamp may leave you feeling like you aren't nearly as fit as you thought, BUT it may also feel better than crossing a finish line when you get to the end of this tough class! An extra cup of coffee might be in order, but if you can accomplish finishing a Barry's routine, you will for sure be ready to attack whatever your day has in store. Get it!
Find your zen. Maybe you're traveling for work, perhaps you're a recent transplant, or possibly visiting the city for pleasure. Regardless, the hustle and bustle of an urban environment can put your body and mind into overdrive. It's important to disconnect in this high-tech, fast-paced city and quiet your mind as often as your schedule allows. Satori Yoga studio is conveniently nestled in the heart of the Financial District. Satori is a great option if you want (or need) to treat your mind and body to some time away from city life.
Favorite Post-Run Food Spot
Get your YUM on! If you're craving, well, all the food after your long run...head on over to Dottie's for some of the best brunch grub available in the city. As with most restaurants with the best food ever, be prepared to wait, but don't let that discourage you. P.S. --The grilled chili-cheddar corn bread with jalapeño jelly is out of this world!
Coffee and a quick bite. I'm usually pressed for time after my runs as I have to head back to playing mom and carting my kids to their next activity. No rest for the weary! That's why I often find myself popping into one of the many Equator Coffees & Teas locations to pick up a quick bite and load up on rocket fuel (caffeine) before carrying on with the rest of my day. I LOVE their homemade quiche. Also, Equator focuses on environmental sustainability and is determined to support the farmers that make their business possible. That's something I can get behind!
Run San Francisco!
I've really just scratched the surface, but these are my top recommendations on where and how to get your fitness on in San Francisco. This city is a perfect one for the outdoor enthusiast as there are SO many convenient options to escape into nature while still enjoying the cultural, employment, and entertainment opportunities that cities have to offer.
Next time you're in San Francisco, check out some of these spots and let me know what you think in the comments below!