5 Locals-Approved San Francisco Picnic Itineraries

Where to spread out on sunny weekends in San Francisco

While San Francisco is famous for its summer fog, sunny weekends send locals flocking to the many green spaces that help make the city special. Pack some sunscreen and a comfortable pair of walking shoes and head out on one of these five summertime picnics.

Dolores Park

Dolores Park

Your lazy afternoon begins at Ike’s Place in the city’s vibrant Castro neighborhood. This local favorite features a seemingly endless menu of giant, made-to-order sandwiches. Once you’ve survived the line out front, take a two-block stroll to Dolores Park. This huge, hilly green faces the historic Mission High School. It’s also one of the warmest spots in the city, so you may want to ask your partner to watch your blanket while you head to nearby Bi-Rite Creamery on an artisanal ice cream run.

Ike’s Place: 2489 16th St., 415.553.6888
Bi-Rite Creamery: 3489 18th St., 415.626.5600 

Golden Gate Park

Stow Lake

Velo Rouge Cafe on Arguello Boulevard is a well-known hangout for the city’s cyclists. But the coffee and paninis are just as good if you’re traveling on two feet. Continue down Arguello toward the park before ambling down JFK Drive to the Stow Lake Boathouse where you can enjoy your spread at the picnic site before taking a paddle boat for a spin.

Velo Rouge Cafe: 798 Arguello Blvd., 415.752.7799
Stow Lake Boathouse: 50 Stow Lake Dr., 415.386.2531

Alamo Square

Painted Ladies

The Mill on Divisadero Street is a popular breakfast spot famous for its artisanal toasts and locally roasted Four Barrel Coffee. Arrive early to ensure that your pick of pastries isn’t sold out, and then take your breakfast up to Alamo Square in view of the famous Painted Ladies on Steiner Street. You might start humming the theme song from “Full House.”

The Mill: 736 Divisadero St., 415.345.1953

Off the Grid Presidio Picnic

Off the Grid

Head to the historic Presidio Main Post on a Sunday for Off the Grid, a gathering of SF restaurants and gourmet food trucks. Sample fare from Del Popolo’s roving pizza oven or Nopalito’s fresh Mexican street tacos. No need to get up if you’re thirsty for lunchtime libations—the foodie feast features blanket-side bloody Mary and mimosa service. Walk it off afterwards by heading north for a stroll along Crissy Field. 11 am–4 pm, Sundays.

103 Montgomery St., Presidio

Stinson Beach

Stiinson Beach

Head across the Golden Gate Bridge, and then go northwest on the Pacific Coast Highway toward the ocean. Muir Woods’ majestic old-growth redwoods demand a pit stop as the road winds through windswept hills toward Stinson Beach. Once you’ve arrived, The Lunch Box will have a romantic, gourmet picnic spread set up for you right on the beach. Enjoy the sunset, then motor out. They’ll take care of cleanup! Reserve at least one day ahead.

Muir Woods: 1 Muir Woods Rd., Mill Valley, 415.388.2595
The Lunch Box: 15 Calle Del Mar, Stinson Beach, 415.868.8884

Christine Tusher
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