Summer in San Francisco may not be the hottest, but there are plenty of awesome things to do here to suit anyone’s summer vibe. If you travel to San Francisco and wonder what are the best things to experience here during this season, here’s my essential guide to summer in San Francisco – an eclectic mix of things to do, see, and, of course, eat:
Go to the beach
But dress accordingly, in layers; you never know when the weather can turn from sunny and relatively pleasant to fogy and chilly.
There are three main beaches in San Francisco, each one with its own charm: Ocean Beach the largest one, where the Burning Man was born, Baker Beach, with beautiful Golden Gate Bridge views, and China Beach, the most secluded and atmospheric.
Eat an It’s-It Ice Cream
I know, everybody here in San Francisco is waiting in line at Bi-rite. But I’m lazy and I don’t like waiting in line, so this is why I prefer my It’s It ice cream at home, looking down the city hills. Did you know that this ice cream will soon turn 100 years old? Created in 1928 and sold for a long time exclusively at the legendary Playland-at-the-Beach, It’s It was named “The official food of San Francisco.” And it’s officially delicious.
Play a game at Musee Mechanique
Long before mobile gaming was born, there were coin-operated arcade games, and the world was such a better place. No matter how the world’s doing outside, when I’m at Musee Mechanique, I forget about everything, and I feel like a child again.
Eat a bowl of Açaí from Bebe Bar and do some people watching in Mission Dolores Park
Bebe Bar, a small açaí & juice bar is conveniently located right next to the Mission Dolores Park and they have pretty good acai bowls and smoothies. I like to grab a bowl of açaí with granola and strawberries, go to the park and take my dose of people watching.
Read more: WHAT TO EAT & DRINK IN RIO DE JANEIRO
Bebe Bar: 3809 18th Street b/t Sanchez St & Church St San Francisco, CA 94114
Sip a color-changing cocktail at Mauerpark
For more than 2 years, Berlin was my home and I miss this amazing city almost every day. But I discovered a place that soothes my Berlin related cravings: Mauerpark. The cafe, located in Castro District, serves small German-inspired plates and interesting cocktails. My favorite is Schmetterling Metamorphosis – a floral and light cocktail that changes its color when it is poured into the glass.
Mauerpark Cafe: 500 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Bike or walk across the Golden Gate Bridge
This is a classic for San Francisco, and the trip across the bridge is breathtaking. You can rent a bike here.
See the Murals in Mission District
Mission District is literally blooming with murals; some of them celebrate the residents’ Hispanic heritage, and others are a political and cultural statement. If you wander around Mission, you’ll find murals at every corner of the streets. Don’t have enough time? Go and see the murals in these 3 locations: Balmy Alley, Clarion Alley, and the Women’s Building.
Treasure hunt at the Community Thrift Store
There are many thrift/vintage stores all around San Francisco, but this one in Mission stole my heart. Because you never know when you bump into some unexpected treasures, like this cup, originally from my country.
Community Thrift Store: 623 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Take a dance class at ODC
If you like dancing, take a dance class here, no matter the season. ODC was the first place I fell in love with when I moved to San Francisco.
ODC Dance Commons: 351 Shotwell St San Francisco, CA 94110
View the city from above
Twin Peaks is an excellent place to do that, the only problem is that it’s too crowded. But if you’re lucky enough to find yourself (almost) alone there, it’s worth it.
Find a moment of peace at Billy Goat Hill
If Twin Peaks is too crowded, come here instead. You’ll have your moment of peace and solitude.
Eat the Baklava Crumbles Greek Frozen Yogurt at Souvla
It’s the best frozen yogurt I’ve eaten so far. Maybe because it’s greek, maybe because of the Baklava crumbles. I’m not sure, but it’s so addictive. If you have “einen Bär Hunger” how I used to say back in Berlin, give the fries and the salads a try. They’re also awesome.
Souvla: 758 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Eat Portuguese Red Chowder in Sausalito
I always had a special connection with ferries. There’s nothing more beautiful than to be on the decks on a chilly and foggy day. But that’s just me. Find a day with sunny weather and go to Sausalito – there’s plenty to see there: don’t miss the houseboats and the Bay Area Discovery Museum. But, most of all, don’t miss the Portuguese Red Chowder at Fish.
Fish: 350 Harbor Drive Sausalito, CA 94965
Make a day trip to Diablo Foothills Regional Park
Nature, trails, dog-friendly, and a small hidden pool. Sufficient reasons to go there if you want to spend a day away from the city.
Lose yourself in Golden Gate Park
Although it is entirely man-made, Golden Gate Park has a beautiful wilderness. There are a lot of hidden places to explore, and it’s nothing wrong to get lost in the middle of nature.
Read more: 10 EXPERIENCES NOT TO MISS IN SAN FRANCISCO
Attend a street festival
And discover how each neighborhood celebrates its legacy. Here, at Haight Ashbury Street Fair, that takes place every year in June.
Visit the Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts is one of San Francisco’s landmarks. Did you know it was initially built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exhibition?
Eat mooncakes in Chinatown
Mooncakes have a long-time tradition here, in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Any local Chinese Bakery sells them, but there are a few places where they’re the best. Golden Bakery is probably the most famous, but I don’t like waiting in line. This is why I prefer the Eastern Bakery, which is the oldest Chinese pastry shop in town, with a baking tradition since 1924.
Eastern Bakery: 720 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108
Spot the Parrots at Telegraph Hill
And then see this documentary.
See a movie at Castro Theater
The Castro Theater is a San Francisco’s institution and you must see a film there at least once. First opened in 1922, it hosts every year many film festivals: San Francisco International Film Festival, Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, and Berlin & Beyond.
Drink at a Rooftop
El Techo, in Mission, and Dirty Habit, in SoMa, are some excellent options.
El Techo: 2516 Mission St San Francisco, CA 94110
Dirty Habit: 12 4th Street San Francisco, CA 94103
Discover a canyon in the middle of the city: Glen Canyon
Glen Canyon is one of the wildest spots in San Francisco. And I’m so happy I live at a walking distance from it. Every time I go there, I’m in the middle of the city and in the middle of nowhere at the same time.
Eat a Canoli in North Beach
In the 1960s’, this was the quarter of the Beats and Jack Kerouac; now, is the “Little Italy” of the city. And one of my favorite quarters in San Francisco. The best pasta, the best Prosecco, and the best Canoli are here. All of them!
Go to Cliff House and Sutro Baths
Cliffs that run into the ocean – then that’s the perfect view for me!
Of course, this is an entirely subjective list – so if you have favorite places to go and things to do this summer in the City, feel free to add your own in the comments below!