The Sunset is a vast portion of San Francisco; approximately 48 city blocks by 17 city blocks. The Outer Sunset makes up roughly half of this district and is known for its natural beauty, peacefulness, and close proximity to the ocean. While The Outer Sunset is a historically sleepy neighborhood, it has undergone a major transformation in recent years, now boasting some of the city’s best brunch and coffee spots, boutique shopping and more, making it one San Francisco’s ultimate weekend destination neighborhoods. Below is 49 Miles’ ultimate weekend guide to 25 of The Outer Sunset’s best restaurants, coffee houses, bars, shops and hangout spots.
Parks and Recreation
The Outer Sunset is home to the southwestern half of Golden Gate Park which features the Beach Chalet Soccer Fields, Murphy Windmill, Golden Gate Park Golf Course, Golden Gate Park 45th Avenue Playground, Bercut Equestrian Field, Chain of Lakes Meadow, and the Casting Pools. These areas are great for biking and walking, and are perfect to bring the whole family along. Start your adventure at Murphy Windmill and continue through the endless gardens and trails Golden Gate Park has to offer! You could spend an entire day adventuring in the park!
Take a break from the vastness of the park to go (window) shopping. Mollusk Surf Shop is located at 46th Avenue and Irving. Close enough to the beach and the park, and not crowded at all. This shop sells all the surfing essentials: surfboards (new & used), fins, clothing and accessories. Whether you’re a surfer or not, check the place out; the staff doesn’t bite!
On Judah Street one can find a corridor of boutique cafes to grab an early morning breakfast or brunch. Java Beach Cafe is a classic San Francisco surfer hangout spot serving traditional cafe fare, along with beer and wine, at all hours of the day and into the night. Some local favorites are their Oatmeal, Judah Tunnel Espresso Blend Coffee, BBQ Chicken Sandwich and Tsunami Sandwich.
While you wait for your reservation at Outerlands (for breakfast, lunch/brunch or dinner) visit Trouble Coffee Company. In addition to their famous artisanal $4 cinnamon toast, order an espresso drink or coconut to replenish the soul. Once you’ve gotten your caffeine fix, head next-door and peruse General Store’s curated selection of clothing, home accessories, and independent magazines. Alternatively, you can head up the block to Judahlicious, the vegan and non-vegan’s mecca. This Outer Sunset-based café specializes in locally sourced, organic, raw and vegan snacks, sandwiches, pastries, juices and smoothies. Try one of their raw, to-die-for, Acai Bowls.
Lawton Street is only two blocks from Judah and that’s where Andytown Coffee Roasters is located. It’s is a newer, Irish-inspired coffee shop and café offering espresso drinks, pastries and their signature Irish Soda Bread.
Noriega is like Divisadero Street by the beach, offering a balanced mix of commercial, residential and business storefronts. Down by the beach you will find Sunset Shapers and San Franpsycho. Both shops are super (surfer) friendly. Sunset Shapers is one of the Sunset’s only surf shops which offers handcrafted boards, apparel and accessories, as well as on-site repairs and shaping. San Franpsycho is a local chain store offering one-of-a-kind t-shirts, button downs, sunglasses, jewelry and more! They’ve got you covered for the Outer Sunset’s unpredictable mix of fog and sunshine!
Still hungry? For small snacks or coffee go to Devil’s Teeth Baking Company. On Sundays they have $1 beignets. What can beat that? (Besides Trouble’s $4 toast.) If you’re in the mood for something more filling, head across the street to The Pizza Place on Noriega. It’s a classic Italian pizza joint offering delicious pizza pies along with gluten-free options. Try to get a seat at their outdoor patio, if Karl the Fog permits.
Ice cream is appropriate at any time of the day. (Especially because of this real summer weather we’ve been having). Polly Ann Ice Cream is located on the corner of Noriega and 39th Avenue. Simply spin the wheel or choose your preferred flavor. Never be disappointed at this veteran ice cream parlor!
Cool down with a cocktail. The Riptide sits one block from Ocean Beach on Taraval Street and 47th Avenue. It is one of the few dive-bars (with a fireplace) The City has to offer. This place is known for their live music, karaoke nights, bingo, and of course, their thirst-quenching cocktails! Another classic watering hole is the Four Deuces. Be entertained by pool, darts, cheap drinks, TV’s, and the backyard patio! Pittsburg Pub is another dive bar two blocks up from the beach! This dog-friendly, old-school bar enjoys pool tables, pinball machines and multiple TV’s for the game.
Of course, you can always head down to Ocean Beach for a quick dip in the Pacific, or a surf session. If you happen to be at the southern half of Ocean Beach, check out George’s Zoo Liquor Deli. It’s both a convenient liquor and deli store offering made-to-order sandwiches, a large selection of wine and liquors, non-alcoholic drinks, candy and small snacks.
Last but not least, the San Francisco Zoo. If you made it here, it may not look like San Francisco anymore, but it still is. Don’t let the fog and rusted street signs fool you! Inside the Zoo are almost over 1,000 animals! Visit the children’s park, petting zoo, take a ride on the train, or see the daily feedings! The zoo is appropriate for all ages!