San Francisco is one of the easiest cities to have a picnic with its several parks and green spaces, which means narrowing down your ideal location can be quite a challenge. And with all these food options, how will you ever choose what to bring? Never fear, help is here.
Scroll down to reveal the ultimate picnic guide to the city of a thousand views and start planning your next weekend outing. Whether you’re looking for a place to take a love interest or spot to blaze up and eat with the boys, you’ll find that San Francisco has a lot of great options and will not disappoint.
All of the spots mentioned have been SF Native-approved.
1. A Mayflower Market sandwich at Alta Plaza Park
The perfect way to spend an afternoon in Pacific Heights walking your dog or smoking a blunt with friends is with a sandwich in hand. Sit on one of the many benches in Alta Plaza park with a view of Lower Pacific Heights.
#SpoonTip: The south side’s got the views.
2. Anything from Tacko at the benches next to The Saint Francis Yacht Club
Enjoy the breeze off the bay with a Baja Fish Taco or one of Tacko’s incredible California Burritos (yah know, the one with french fries) for a flavorful and serene San Francisco beach experience.
3. A sub from Marina Submarine at the Lyon Street Steps
Walk down to a bench and take in the view of the bay and the beautiful houses with a fully-loaded sub.
#SpoonTip: Spring for the avocado and bring lots of napkins.
4. A slice from Tony’s Pizza Napoletana at The San Francisco Art Institute
Anywhere you sit at SFAI is going to be beautiful and any one of the cool flavor combinations from Tony’s is going to be insane. Grab a seat on the roof with views of North Beach and the bay or snag a bench in the peaceful courtyard and watch students scurry to class.
5. A sandwich from Jackson Place Cafe at Napier Lane
This is seriously a rare place for even natives to know about, but is easily one of the most beautiful alleyways in the world. Once you get through the greenery, there is a bench before the last staircase with a dope view of the bay and the Embarcadero.
6. A sandwich or salad from La Boulangerie de Hayes at Tank Hill
Take a trip up to one of the best panoramic views of the city. It’s a bit of trek, but totally worth it. Soak up the city and watch the fog roll in over Twin Peaks with a dank open faced sandwich or the Warm Goat Cheese Salad which is a La Boulange classic.
7. A sandwich from Lou’s Cafe at the Music Concourse
There are almost too many beautiful spots to snack in GGP, but the Spreckels Temple of Music has tons of benches facing fountains, the California Academy of Sciences and the deYoung. It’s the perfect place to regain your strength and people watch after a long day walking in the park.
8. A hot dog from Underdog at The Golden Gate Heights Mosaic Stairway
Underdog offers some of the most creative dog options in the city AND these stairs are easily one of the most special places in San Francisco as well. Both of these places are very under the radar and should definitely be appreciated more for the color and flavor they bring to the Sunset District.
9. A sandwich from the Legion of Honor Cafe at Lands End Labyrinth
One of the hidden treasures of San Francisco is this huge and intricate labyrinth made of large rocks just off the Lands End Coastal Trail. The cafe inside the Legion of Honor is also a little known delicious secret inside the beautiful art museum with elegant entrees and decadent desserts. Put them together you have an elegant lunch on the water with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
10. A slice from Escape from New York Pizza at the AIDS Memorial Grove
A slice of this Pesto and Roasted Garlic Pizza is a must try on Haight Street, which is in great proximity to many beautiful spots in Golden Gate Park. This is one of the most magical parts of GGP and is easy to miss if you aren’t looking for it, but if you happen upon this lush garden and babbling brook you are guaranteed a perfect picnic.
#SpoonTip: It is federal land, so save the kush for before and after.
11. Good Luck Dim Sum at Stow Lake
Rent a row boat and chow down on some fire Dim Sum on this awesome aquatic feature of GGP. There is also a gazebo, multiple bridges and a few waterfalls that you can set up camp by and enjoy some authentic city flavor in an ethereal setting.
12. A bahn mi from Cafe Bunn Mi at Mountain Lake Park
Just a short walk from Clement Street, Mountain Lake Park has benches in some little nooks and crannies with views of the lake and the playground in a gorgeous neighborhood. These sandwiches have super fresh ingredients and perfectly seasoned meats, coming together to create the ideal family picnic spot.
13. A sandwich and scoop from Bi-Rite Market at Alamo Square
Not only does Bi-Rite have an insane variety of delicious food with their custom sandwich deli and mini creamery, but it’s in a historic neighbor and is just a block away from one of the most popular attractions of the city. Sit on the grass and enjoy your lunch while gazing at the Painted Ladies and SF skyline, but first, make sure to stop by BASA for a pre-roll.
14. A dog from Rosamunde Sausage Grill at the Top of Duboce Ave at Buena Vista Park
If you can, park your car along the palm trees, spark up a doobie and go in on a duck sausage with grilled onions you’ll do it right. This the perfect 4:20 picnic spot because of the little wind exposure and proximity to Haight and Divisadero Street for post-feasting activities.
15. A sandwich from Ike’s Place at Corona Heights Park
Either way, if you sit facing north East or South you are going to have an insane view of different neighborhoods while simultaneously eating one of the most famous sandwiches in the Bay Area.
16. Cookies from Hot Cookie on Kite Hill Open Space
If you grew up in SF, you probably know Hot Cookie as having the most delicious and phallic way to ask someone to prom. But they actually have warm cookies until 2 am and flavors like toffee and double chocolate that will melt your face off. Drag a bag of these treats to this remote residential look out for a late afternoon pick me up. Remember to check out the slides too.
17. Pastries from Tartine Bakery at the top of Mission Dolores Park
There are a lot of amazing places close to DP, but Tartine Bakery is only a few blocks away and has made a name for itself with incredible pastries and sandwiches with organic flour and local eggs. Walk up to the top bench on the corner of 20th and Church Street or sit in the grass and enjoy the sounds of children playing and people getting lit.
18. A burrito from Taqueria El Buen Sabor on Bernal Hill Park
One of the best panoramic views in the city is definitely meant to be enjoyed alongside a flavorful El Buen Sabor burrito. When you are eating up there, take a moment of silence for Alex Nieto and his family and appreciate a real San Franciscan who was killed by the police in one of his favorite places. This burrito’s for you, Alex! #JusticeForAlexNieto
19. A sub from Subs Inc. on Billy Goat Hill
Billy Goat Hill is one of the many spectacular vantage points in Noe Valley equipped with an awesome swing perfect for a sweet Instagram post, but make sure your massive sandwich gets in the picture, preferably the Dimaggio or the Turkey Cranberry Melt.
20. A daily focaccia or pizza from Arizmendi Bakery at Grand View Park
Grand View is one of the most under-rated panoramic view points in the city and is an unreal place to catch the sunset or go on a morning hike with a plethora of baked goodies. Try a scone and their daily pizza by the slice, they are legendary.
21. A Freddie’s Sandwich at the end of Telegraph Hill Boulevard
Freddie’s has been making delicious sandwiches since 1926 and the semi-hard sourdough with chicken salad is one of its must-haves. You have to climb several hills, but the view from the base of Coit Tower is well worth the trek.
22. Dumplings from Shanghai Dumpling King at Mount Davidson Park
Call in for take-out and order literally any dumpling you desire and it will be fire. Mount Dave is not only one of SF’s premier kegger spots but is also known for its choice views of Sutro Tower, downtown and basically the whole city culminating into an A+ picnic spot.
Now go forth and picnic in this glorious city. Remember to bring napkins!