Ex­er­cise Meets Sight­see­ing

For many, the start of a new year is an ideal time to fo­cus on stay­ing ac­tive and spend­ing more time out­side. In San Fran­cisco, you can eas­ily ac­com­plish those goals while get­ting in all the req­ui­site sight­see­ing at the same time. This city is blessed wit

Where San Francisco - - Where Now -

AT­TRAC­TION: Lyon Street Steps

AC­TIV­ITY: Stair­climb­ing

San Fran­cisco is a city de­fined by its steep hills and spec­tac­u­lar vis­tas. Sharp in­clines in many parts of the city re­quired the construction of stair­cases in­stead of streets. Many of these as­cents lead to dra­matic views of the ur­ban land­scape, like this pala­tial stair­case con­nect­ing the Cow Hol­low and Pa­cific Heights neigh­bor­hoods. The 288 steps are steep but broad and bor­dered by lush land­scap­ing. At the peak, you’ll be re­warded with a sweep­ing van­tage point of the city and the bay. Stick around awhile to snap pho­tos of the sur­round­ing man­sions. Lyon and Green sts.


AC­TIV­ITY: Kayak­ing

If you want to get out on the water, sev­eral lo­cal out­fit­ters, in­clud­ing City Kayak, cater to both begin­ner and ad­vanced pad­dlers and lead tours from down­town San Fran­cisco. You’ll see spec­tac­u­lar views of the city sky­line, and you’re likely to en­counter some wildlife as well— har­bor seals, pel­i­cans, bat rays, por­poises, herons and egrets are all a pos­si­bil­ity. On a wind­less day, you can pad­dle un­der the Golden Gate Bridge. An­other op­tion is to pad­dle from South Beach into the fa­mous McCovey Cove be­hind AT&T Park. Pier 40, 89 King St., 415.294.1050, citykayak.com

AT­TRAC­TION: Lands End Trail

AC­TIV­ITY: Hik­ing

You don’t have to leave the city lim­its to get in a heart- pump­ing, na­ture- filled hike. As its name im­plies, Lands End Trail is lo­cated in the outer reaches of the city on the Pa­cific Coast, and it feels some­what like the edge of the earth. The well main­tained 3.5- mile out-and­back trail is packed with photo- wor­thy vis­tas. Jagged cliffs cov­ered in windswept cy­presses dra­mat­i­cally meet blue sea, with the Golden Gate Bridge and grand Marin Head­lands in the dis­tance. If you have en­ergy to spare when you reach the end of the trail, con­tinue on to ad­mire the man­sions in the Sea Cliff

This city is blessed with mild weather for out­door pur­suits year-round and is sur­rounded by an in­spir­ing nat­u­ral land­scape.

neigh­bor­hood and take a de­tour to Baker Beach, a mile- long stretch of sand tucked be­low rugged hills with a fa­mous panoramic view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Back at the trail­head, make the de­scent to ex­plore the Sutro Baths ru­ins. Be­fore or af­ter your hike, be sure to make time to visit the beau­ti­ful Lands End Look­out Vis­i­tor Cen­ter, which out­lines the na­ture and his­tory of the area and has a shiny gift shop and cafe. 680 Point Lo­bos Ave., 415.426.5240, parkscon­ser­vancy.org

AT­TRAC­TION: Crissy Field AC­TIV­ITY: Walk­ing

Crissy Field, a re­stored tidal marsh that was a U. S. Army air­field in a for­mer life, makes an­other beau­ti­ful walk, jog or bike ride. Take in views of the Golden Gate Bridge in one di­rec­tion and the city in the other as you fol­low the wide, 3.5-mile (stroller and wheel­chair friendly) water­front path. You’re likely to spot birds (more than 135 species have been seen) as well as kite surfers at­tracted by the ideal breezes. The shore­line is also home to sandy beaches, pic­nic ta­bles, cafes, book­stores and an environmental ed­u­ca­tion cen­ter. parkscon­ser­vancy.org

AT­TRAC­TION: The Pre­sidio AC­TIV­ITY: Hik­ing

The Pre­sidio is a for­mer mil­i­tary base lo­cated on the north­ern end of San Fran­cisco that’s cov­ered in pine, eu­ca­lyp­tus and cy­press trees. Its 1,500 acres are now a na­tional park that draws vis­i­tors from all over the world. The best way to ex­plore the park is via its more than 25 miles of trails and scenic view­points. Take the Cal­i­for­nia Coastal Trail or Bay Area Ridge trail to the Golden Gate over­look or set off on a hike that passes artist Andy Gold­wor­thy’s four na­ture in­stal­la­tions. Just un­der a mile, the Bat­ter­ies to Bluffs Trail is an­other spec­tac­u­lar walk that winds along the Pa­cific Coast and fol­lows a flight of stairs down to a shel­tered beach. 415.561.5300, pre­sidio.gov

AT­TRAC­TION: Golden Gate Park AC­TIV­ITY: Danc­ing, Skat­ing and Yoga

Big­ger than New York’s Cen­tral Park, the ur­ban oa­sis known as Golden Gate Park is where you’ll find the city’s run­ners, cy­clists, walk­ers and pic­nick­ers (es­pe­cially on Sun­days, when JFK Drive closes to traf­fic to wel­come pedes­tri­ans). The city’s recre­ational head­quar­ters also con­tains count­less at­trac­tions, in­clud­ing: the de Young Mu­seum; Cal­i­for­nia Academy of Sci­ences; Ja­panese Tea Gar­den; Botan­i­cal Gar­dens; Stow Lake; Conservatory of Flow­ers; Gar­den of Shake­speare’s Flow­ers; two his­toric wind­mills; a bi­son pad­dock; and a rose gar­den. Be­tween the mu­se­ums and land­marks, take some time to join a free yoga or swing dance class or group skat­ing ses­sion (rentals avail­able) or play a game of golf or tennis. 415.831.2700, gold­en­gatepark.com

AT­TRAC­TION: Golden Gate Bridge AC­TIV­ITY: Bik­ing

There are plenty of scenic routes on the 65 (and count­ing) miles of bike lanes around the city, but per­haps the finest trip for vis­i­tors is the ride from the north­ern water­front to the pic­turesque sea­side town of Sausal­ito. It takes cy­clists along the bay’s edge, start­ing on Em­bar­cadero and climb­ing up Fort Ma­son (the ar­rest­ing views of the bay and Golden Gate Bridge al­le­vi­ate the steep but brief as­cent) be­fore a flat, pleas­ant ride par­al­lel to Ma­rina Green. An­other in­cline up past his­toric Fort Point leads to the Golden Gate Bridge, which bik­ers cross to their fi­nal des­ti­na­tion. Af­ter the seven- mile jaunt, most rid­ers break for lunch, brews or ice cream and opt to take the ferry back. You have plenty of op­tions for bor­row­ing a pair of wheels if you haven’t brought your own. Blaz­ing Sad­dles is one of sev­eral pop­u­lar rental out­fits. 2715 Hyde St., 415.202.8888, blaz­ingsad­dles.com

City Kayak

The Pre­sidio

Crissy Field

Golden Gate Park

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