3 Favorite Outdoor Activities in San Francisco

biking golden gate bridge

When we first moved to San Francisco I was expecting something similar to New York City in a big city: small apartment living, heavy reliance on public transportation, concrete jungle all around. But I was pleasantly surprised to find out how beautiful, active and outdoors this big city was. Any morning of the week you can see dozens of people hoping on bikes for a ride across the bridge, running through fresh Eucalyptus trees in Lands End, or surfing at Ocean beach. It’s this amazing mix of the best of both worlds- people living the busy city life but also being able to stretch their arms and legs amongst breathtakingly beautiful scenery.


Today I’ll be sharing three favorite outdoor activities I love in San Francisco, featuring items from Old Navy’s Active line: Womens compression active pants, active black jacket, semi fitted tank top in hot pink, and active sports bra in turquoise. All of their active line is 40% off right, and I’ve been really impressed with the quality and price of the items sampled!


Photography and styling by Liz Stanley. Modeling by Hanalei Gene and assisted by Devon Cone.


This post was sponsored by Old Navy. Check out Old Navy‘s latest fashion lineup in store or online at oldnavy.com.


Keep reading to see what my 3 favorites outdoor activities are…

Activity 1: Biking through the Presidio and western cliffs

We live just a few blocks from the Presidio so this is a really easy spot for me to hop on a bike and head to. There are numerous trails through the Presido and along 25th ave that end up in really beautiful places, either on the bay or on the ocean cliffs. There can be hills for sure but the views once you get to Golden Gate Bridge are worth it! This trail below starts at the parking lot just northwest of the bridge and along the cliffs down to Baker Beach.


Activity 2: Trail running in Golden Gate Park

We live right across from Golden Gate park and this beautiful Redwood grove below (and we already know how I feel about Redwoods, right?). The whole park is full of dirt paths through coastal trees like Redwoods and Eucalyptus that you can run on (my husband sometimes mountain bikes on them too but technically it’s just for runners). You could start on any trail you find and just keep running until you get to the beach and then back again. Exploring and getting a little lost is part of the fun! There are so many wonderful things to find in Golden Gate Park like the huge field of bison and a couple waterfalls. I haven’t been running lately because of this pregnancy but I really miss it.



Activity 3: Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge

Of course this is one of the most popular things to do in San Francisco but it’s not to be missed. The views are spectacular, and if you can park in one of the southern lots you can find yourself on a beautiful walk through old forts and tunnels to get to the bridge. The walk across the bridge is about a mile each way but it’s really fun to do and a great place to snap some photos of the city. I don’t recommend running or biking across unless you get up early because it can get crowded with tourists. For some really beautiful views, take your car or bike across the bridge and then up to the left through the windy road that heads towards the west. It’s so beautiful and you’ll have bridge views the whole drive.



Hanalei is wearing items from Old Navy’s Active line (on sale right now): Womens compression active pants, active black jacket, semi fitted tank top in hot pink, and active sports bra in turquoise. She’s also wearing a North Face windbreaker and Asics running shoes.


my husband and i just moved to the bay area.
we haven’t made a trip to the golden gate bridge yet, but this makes me excited.
fingers crossed we make it this weekend.


There are MANY really nice parts of Golden Gate Park! My favorite is the “Arboretum”. It is a collection of smaller gardens. The plants have little name tags,if you see a plant you just love, the name is right there, and obviously the plant does well in San Francisco! The Arboretum is usually not crowded, bring a big blanket and enjoy the quiet.The neighborhood nearby on Irving Street has nice places to eat and shop.The entrance to the Arboretum is just inside the park, closest to 9th Ave., and Lincoln. It’s an easy stroll from the Judah Streetcar , or the 72 Lincoln bus.

We just returned from a four day trip to San Francisco. We live within driving distance so have visited often. One of my favorite outdoor activities is the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building on Saturdays. It is one of the best! Booths are set up in front of the building and behind. Last Saturday we found apricots, peaches and nectarines from farmers from the central valley, cheeses from Mendocino, and bread from bakeries in San Francisco. We walked there from our hotel on Union Square (about 20 minutes). There are numerous places to buy breakfast and coffee and then sit outside where you can see the Bay Bridge, watch some America’s Cup practice and see the ferry boats dropping off passengers. Don’t miss it!

Two tips – dogs aren’t allowed in the food areas and bring your own bags.

Yes! The Farmers Market is delicious! I especially love their tri tip sandwiches from Il Rosso. Plus you can jump on a cablecar from their and head to other spots in the city.

I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment that SF is surprisingly nature centric! I had no idea what to expect nearly 5 years ago when we moved here from Minneapolis (I was sad to leave the lakes and trails behind) … only to find so many unbelievably awesome trails – and the ocean – adios MN lakes!

I’m also a big fan of hiking around Muir Woods – we typically take everyone that comes to visit biking across the Golden Gate and then a hike in Muir Woods. We are so lucky to be able to call this fine city home! 🙂

I agree, it was such a pleasant surprised. I’ve heard New Yorkers always love it here because they realize they really can have the best of both worlds. you don’t have to live in a concrete jungle to have the benefits of a big city

Devon just says the funniest things, ha ha!! jkjk…also aside from the wonderful and breathtaking pictures (the one of my silhouette in the trees!), I absolutely love your writing in this post, really! I’ll miss this!!! xoxo.

When I first moved to SF five years ago, I too thought it would be a city of nothing but cement and buildings. I live three blocks from Ocean Beach and it is such a different way of life in the city! People not from SF are always so surprised when I say I have walking trails and a lot of trees around me within a short walking distance. 🙂

Love these ideas- when we visited we took a boat and hiked around angel island. So fun!

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