Even though September is almost upon on, summer isn’t over yet in San Francisco. In fact, the sunniest months are just beginning! In the Bay Area, “Indian Summer” falls between September and November and this is the time of year locals and tourists alike flock to the city’s many parks, trails and beaches.
For this season’s top outdoor activities, we thought who better to turn to than Haley and Claudine, the gals behind the 10 Day Health Challenge. Haley, holistic nutritionist and Pilates instructor, and Claudine, natural chef and spinning instructor, take you through their favorite (and healthiest ways) to spend a day enjoying the San Francisco sun.
Culinary Corner & Panoramic Picnic
Nob Hill is a mecca for boutique eateries, artisan coffee shops, and mom and pop grocery stores, making it a great neighborhood to stock up on goodies for an urban picnic. First, grab a light and refreshing acai bowl loaded with fresh fruit and superfoods from Basik Acai Basik Acai on Polk and Pacific Street: ten times healthier and tastier than frozen yogurt, but just as satisfying! Two doors down you’ll find the Becampo Meat Co. restaurant and butcher shop. Offering the highest quality organic, house-cured meats and regional wines, this is definitely a local’s favorite. Grab some salumi and cross the street to Cheese Plus for a huge selection of local and international cheeses, as well as a range of other artisan treats and fresh baguettes.
Ready for your picnic? Five blocks up to Russian Hill, on the corner of Vallejo and Taylor, lies San Francisco’s smallest park, Ina Coolbrith Park. It truly is a hidden gem, with a spectacular panoramic of the Bay Bridge and North Beach. Have a seat, enjoy your company, nosh on good food, and gaze over the San Francisco Bay in this tiny sanctuary.
Biking the Golden Gate Bridge
The Bay Area has a growing cycling community, especially this time of the year when the weather is warm. For a bit of exercise and gorgeous views, try the 8 mile journey from San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. Not to worry if you don’t own a bike, places such as Blazing Saddles, will rent you one (with a basket!) for the day.
One our favorite routes starts at Fort Mason, winds along Crissy Field, up Battery Trail and crosses the bridge. Head down to the Marin Headlands and into the charming town of Sausalito, known for it’s houseboat communities and seaside restaurants, cafes and bars. Enjoy a refreshing drink or ice cream at a patio table while looking out into the sparkling blue bay. Bar Bocce and Cibo both on the main drag, are two of our favorite places to spend a few hours on a sunny afternoon.
Basic Training in Hayes Valley
Sure, San Francisco is known for its museums, Victorian architecture, and historic sites, but there are plenty of things to do that please the more fitness-minded. Let San Francisco— literally — be your playground! After exploring the vibrant Hayes Valley neighborhoods, hop over to Basic Training on the corner of Hayes and Octavia for a seriously hard core workout.
Basic Training is a pop-up fitness hub created by Jenn Pattee (who doesn’t love supporting badass entrepreneur women?)! The parking lot-turned-grown-up-playground is open to the public every day for free. Use the space on your own time, join their FREE Saturday morning workout classes: 9/5, 9/12, 9/26, or follow instructors as they lead you through the cityscape, sprinting down alleyways, hopping over benches, and doing pullups on streetlights. Basic Training makes working out unorthodox and fun, while showing you that the city can be a gym without limits.
Don’t forget to grab an organic cold-pressed juice from the Juice Shop next door. You’ll need a thirst-quencher after that kickass workout! it
Golden Gate Park and Outer Sunset
With countless things to do in the 1000-acre Golden Gate Park, peddle boating at Stow Lake is a must. Rent a boat from the Stow Lake Boathouse and spend a few leisurely hours exploring the manmade lake and scouting for wildlife.
Next, head a few miles west to the Polo Fields, another hidden gem tucked away from the hustle and bustle of city life. This is a great place for strolling around the trails, finding casual soccer games, or even listening to summer concerts. Turn up the fitness level by using the bleachers and tracks around the polo fields for interval training. If you have a hankering for more upper body exercise, you’ll find the Perrier Parcourse at the outer rim of the track. Built in the 1970s, the parcourse offers a series of rustic strength training stations where you can get a full circuit workout (and maybe a sliver if you’re not careful!).
The Outer Sunset is just a few blocks south of the Polo Fields and well worth a visit. Since Karl The Fog (yes, it has a name!) is likely absent during San Francisco’s Indian Summers, now is the best time to explore this often-ignored, yet charmingly beachy neighborhood. Grab a coffee at Java Beach Cafe, just one block from the Pacific Ocean. Continue up Judah and you’ll find Outerlands (cozy New American eats) and Judahlicious (funky natural foods and juice shop).
Photos by Tory Putnam