San Francisco August 02, 2016
10 Underrated Places In San Francisco To Take An Out-Of-Towner
Of course they’re going to want to see the Golden Gate Bridge, ride a cable car, ferry over to Alcatraz, maybe even grab some free chocolate at Ghirardelli. That’s all part of the San Francisco tourist experience, but some out-of-towners may want to go the extra mile (and climb that extra hill). Here are 10 underrated places to go in San Francisco to please those more adventurous travelers.
1. Batteries To Bluffs Trail
While many may take the Lands End Trail from Sutro Baths to Sea Cliff (an absolute must, too!), others fail to keep going along the coast for even more incredible views. The Batteries To Bluffs Trail starts right past Baker Beach and then weaves up and down the coastline. Stop at the smaller Marshall's Beach for the ultimate Golden Gate Bridge shot, climb the batteries, and take in breathtaking views the whole way through.
2. Ina Coolbrith Park
Since this requires some steep hill walking from the more touristy Fisherman's Wharf and Lombard Street, many miss this hidden gem that will give you some of the best views of Coit Tower, the Bay Bridge, and Alcatraz. Named after the first American poet laureate who lived just a block from here (pre-1906 earthquake), this is a special little urban refuge. Learn more about Ina Coolbrith Park
3. Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve
Even locals too often skirt around this dense eucalyptus forest near the geographical center of the city without ever exploring its breathtaking innards. This is a great place for a leisurely uphill hike with awesome views. Come on a foggy day and you may feel like you're walking on the clouds.
4. Free Museums!
Sure, the big museums have their must-see attractions, but there are plenty of smaller spots to explore more niche areas of San Francisco interest. See the cable cars’ central nervous system at the Cable Car Museum, meet native animals at the Randall Museum, learn about the city’s streetcars at the Railway Museum, wander an old bathhouse at the Maritime Museum, and learn how to drive a stagecoach at the Wells Fargo History Museum.
5. The Presidio
As a former strategic military base, the Presidio hasn't always been open to the public. Thankfully, it became a national park in 1994, so we can all enjoy its grand beauty. There are many places to explore, and we recommend hopping on the Presidio Promenade—an easy 2.2-mile paved trail that starts at the Lombard Gate, passes by the San Francisco National Cemetery, and ends at the Golden Gate Bridge. Or stroll down Lovers' Lane (pictured), starting at Funston Ave. and Presidio Blvd.
6. Musee Mecanique
Chances are your out-of-town guest may be staying in or around the Fisherman's Wharf area, so this is an easy spot to duck into for a little vintage fun. Play antique arcade machines and musical instruments for a penny a pop!
7. Go On a Stairway Tour
A lot of people enjoy a good quality workout while on vacation, so here's a unique way to get your guests huffing, puffing, and "ahhh"-ing. Take them to some of these
around the city. Trust us: They are worth every step.
8. The Ferry Building
Got an out-of-town guest only concerned about their next meal? Take them straight to the Ferry Building, where they can gleefully stuff their face with all sorts of artisanal goods, including chocolate, cheese, ice cream, "tasty salted pig parts," and so much more. Be sure to bring them here for the Saturday Farmers' Market, too.
9. Dolores Park
Join the local sunbathers, picnickers, and just plain slackers sprawled out on the grass at this expansive park, which offers some spectacular shots of downtown San Francisco. Don't forget to head over to the Mission Dolores, the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco.
10. Angel Island
If your out-of-town guest didn't book their Alcatraz tickets in time, this is a good Plan B that'll still get them to a small island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. Angel Island is a great day trip, requiring nothing but a ferry from San Francisco, a curiosity for history, and a love for incredible views. Find out more about what to do and see on Angel Island
Looking for more underrated places to go in San Francisco? Check out some of our favorite spots