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Best 5 San Francisco Runs and Jogs

Running in San Francisco

Parks of San Francisco for Running

Running is a terrific activity for people who are visiting San Francisco despite the fact that the notorious hills of the city can intimidate even the most experienced of runners. A run through the city provides you with great scenic views, a chance to enjoy the weather and a lot of opportunities to see interesting things within the urban area. Many San Francisco hotels are located within close proximity to some of the best runs in the city.

Benefits of Running in San Francisco

Some of the reasons that you might want to hit the pavement and go for a jog while you’re in San Francisco include:

  • San Francisco is a breathtakingly beautiful city. You can run in the urban area itself and enjoy the amazing architecture of the city. You can run along the bay and see the beauty of the water along with views of the Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and Angel Island. Or you can run in nature either in parkland or along the ocean.
  • The terrain in San Francisco is varied. San Francisco is a city that is known for its steep hills. Indeed, if you want to challenge yourself to run up some of the steepest hills in the city then you need not look far to take on that challenge. However, there are also flat areas of the city for easier runs.
  • San Francisco is a small city. The city is notoriously only 7 miles by 7 miles wide. What this means is that you can actually see a large number of the major tourist attractions in San Francisco on a well-planned run.

 

  • People-watching is a top thing to do in San Francisco. There is never a dull moment in this city. Heading out into the city on a nice run will allow you to see some of the odd people and events that are happening all around the place all of the time.
  • It’s healthy. San Francisco is a fairly fit city. You’ll fit right in with a lot of other people in the city if you’re out there getting some exercise during your stay.

 

  • The weather is usually good for running. Unless you happen to be in San Francisco on a rainy winter day, you should find the city’s weather comfortable for running. One recommendation is to take a windbreaker, though, especially if you’re running along the bay or the ocean.
crissy field

Crissy Field

Recommended Run #1: Crissy Field

Crissy Field is one of the leading places where San Francisco residents regularly go for a run. There is an established running route here that starts as far as east as Fort Mason and travels West along the waters of the bay. The most common path to take is to head past Fort Point right to the bottom of the Golden Gate Bridge. When you get there you will see a pair of concrete hands that runners slap to celebrate the achievement of their run. You can do this yourself and then you can turn around and run back to your starting point. If you do the full run to and from Fort Mason you’re looking at about five miles but you can start anywhere on the path for a shorter run.

If you’re really bold as a runner you can extend your trip all the way across the Golden Gate Bridge, another one and a half miles, to see the city skyline from the North Bay. There is a walking path along the bridge that you can run on although since it’s always filled with tourists you may find yourself slowed down during most times of the day.

This is a great run because:

  • This is the most family-friendly, pet-friendly run in the city. There are paved running trails with separate lanes for bicyclists. There are off-leash pet parks in the vicinity.
  • It has amazing views. Along this run you will see the gorgeous waters of the bay and the stunning appearance of the famous Golden Gate Bridge.
  • There are numerous additional activities to enjoy here before or after your run. Visit the Gulf of Farallones Visitors Center. Watch the windsurfers and kiteflyers that gather here. Take a sandwich and enjoy lunch in the popular picnic area.

 

This run is most convenient for people staying at the affordable hotels on and near Lombard Street. Examples of great hotels in this area:

 

DeYoung Museum San Francisco

Deyoung at Golden Gate Park

Recommended Run #2: Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is a huge city park that offers a lot of different things for visitors to see. It also offers several dirt running paths. For example, there is a dirt trail that starts just south of Fulton and takes you all the way along the park to the Great Highway on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. If you do a Google Maps search of the park itself, you will see several lines on the park that look like small roads; these are actually the dirt trails.

This is a great run because:

  • It feels like you’re running in nature thanks to the gorgeous trees and grass of Golden Gate Park.
  • It takes you through one of the leading attractions in the city. While you are here you can enjoy stops at numerous spots including the botanical gardens, the Japanese tea gardens and rose gardens. You can also run by the De Young Museum and the California Academy of Sciences.
  • It is a family-friendly location where it is safe to run.

 

This run is most convenient for people staying at hotels on Haight Street or near the coast. Some good hotels in this area include:

  • Oceanview Hotel
  • Great Highway Inn
  • Stanyan Park Hotel
  • Red Victorian Bed and Breakfast
  • Ocean Beach Bed and Breakfast

 

Recommended Run #3: Land’s End Trail

People who are seeking out a run that will take them through nature along the Pacific Coast need look no further than the popular Land’s End Trail. This is a dirt trail through a woodland area along the ocean. There are multiple trails throughout this area so you can pick a short run or a longer one. A great option is to start at the Eagle’s Point Trailhead located at 32nd and California and to proceed along the trail all the way to the Cliff House. During your run pay attention to what you see in the water; if the tides are low enough you can see remnants of old shipwrecks below!

This is a great run because:

  • It’s a top choice for mountain runners and offers a bit of variation in terrain throughout the run.
  • The nature here is beautiful particularly the stunning views of the ocean and the dramatic cliffs that lead down to the ocean. You can also see the Golden Gate Bridge on this run.
  • You can end your run at San Francisco’s Cliff House and enjoy a great dinner there overlooking the ocean. Be sure to check out the Sutro Bath Ruins while you’re there!

 

This run is convenient for the people who are staying on Lombard Street near the Presidio as well as for people staying near Golden Gate Park. See the hotels listed in the above two runs for specific recommendations in this area.

Embarcadero San Francisco

Recommended Run #4: Along the Embarcadero

Many San Francisco visitors would love to check out these nature-based trails but just don’t have the time to go for a long run on the outer edges of the city. That’s okay; there’s another great option located in close proximity to Fisherman’s Wharf as well as the Financial District. It’s the Embarcadero, the sidewalk area that runs along the bay from AT&T Park to Fisherman’s Wharf. The one drawback to this run is that this is a high-traffic area so sometimes the crowds will slow you down. However, it’s popular with local runners so most people know to move to the side and let you pass.

This is a great run because:

  • It’s in a great convenient location especially for people staying at hotels in the Financial District and SoMA neighborhoods.
  • The views of the Bay Bridge are gorgeous even though people often overlook them in favor of the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • The trail is a paved sidewalk so it’s easy on the feet compared to dirt trails.
  • When you’re done you’ll be close to dining, shopping and various attractions.

 

This run is most convenient for people staying along the Embarcadero including both those in the Fisherman’s Wharf hotels and those at the other end in the Financial District hotels. Examples of those hotels include:

 

Recommended Run #5: Huntington Park

Huntington Park is a small park located in the heart of San Francisco at the intersection of Taylor and California. You’ll get a great warm up climbing up the steep hill to get to this park! Then you can enjoy a nice leisurely jog around the perimeter of the park. Alternatively you can extend your run to the urban areas around the park, taking various hills up and down to challenge yourself. The park itself is quiet but family friendly as well as pet friendly.

This is a great run because:

  • It is in a convenient location particularly for people who are staying at hotels in the Union Square area.
  • It’s located close to the cable cars so you’ll get a chance to see them during your run. You’ll also pass the gorgeous Grace Cathedral on this run.
  • It’s easy to change your route to shorten or lengthen your run.

 

This run is most convenient for people staying at hotels around Union Square and Nob Hill. Those hotels include:

 

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