7 Scenic Spots to Picnic in San Francisco

July 15, 2021

Food is meant to be enjoyed, and where you enjoy it can matter almost as much as what’s on your plate. 

Where better to enjoy a meal on a gorgeous day than outdoors? Whip up a charcuterie plate or pick up takeout from your favorite local restaurant and enjoy the fresh summer air at one of these scenic outdoor spots.

1. McLaren Park

If your idea of a picnic is firing up a grill and cooking up a feast, check out San Francisco’s second largest park, John McLaren Park (usually known without the “John”). You’ll find 12 picnic areas with grills and tables throughout the park. After eating, stay and wander through the park’s 312 acres and more than 7 miles of walking trails.

2. Ocean Beach

When you hear the word “picnic” you might think of a grassy field or a shady spot under a tree. A picnic on the beach, looking out at the glistening sea, sounds just as nice to us. Ocean Beach is a 3.5-mile long stretch of sand and sea, perfect for social distancing or an intimate setting. Lay down a towel or blanket and watch the waves crash onto the shore for a much-welcome change of scenery from the rest of the city.

3. Dolores Park

If you get to Mission Dolores Park at the right time, you can snag a picnic table. If you prefer a picnic blanket lunch, there’s plenty of grass to go around. The park currently has plenty of social distancing circles drawn out on the grass to let as many people safely enjoy the park as possible. 

4. Golden Gate Park

Spanning 1,017 acres, San Francisco’s largest park has no shortage of picnic areas — whether you want to plop down on the first patch of grass you see or scout out a table-and-chairs situation. Enjoy lush greenery all around as you snack on whatever meal you brought. 

5. Yerba Buena Gardens

You don’t have to “escape” to nature to experience a taste of it. Have a picnic right in the heart of the city at Yerba Buena Gardens. With calming waterfalls and flower-filled gardens to admire, this beautifully landscaped park is idyllic for a picnic or a stroll.

6. Crissy Field (The Presidio)

Not many people get to gaze at a world-famous landmark (the Golden Gate) and the sparkling sea, among many other vistas, while taking a break for lunch. The Presidio’s Crissy Field offers picnic tables, grass and a beach for a picnic with a view.

7. Baker Beach

Picnic tables, grills, restrooms and iconic views of the Golden Gate and Marin County make Baker Beach one of the best picnic spots in the city. In lieu of your typical lunch or dinner picnic, Baker Beach makes a great coffee-and-breakfast backdrop. It’s worth forsaking a bit of sleep to get there before dawn to see the sunrise.

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