Pokémon GO: Catch ‘Em All in San Francisco

Pokémon GO player holds Master Ball at Sutro Baths in San Francisco. Photo: @tofugawd, Instagram.

UPDATE: Check out our new guide to where Pokémon spawn in San Francisco.

So, you wanna be the very best, like no one ever was? Us too.

Since July 6th, we have been completely obsessed with Pokémon GO, traveling across San Francisco’s 49 square miles, searching far and wide. Catching them is our real test, but mapping the city’s native Pokémon species is our cause.

Below, you will find several San Francisco “Pokéwalks” detailed with the Pokémon you are likely to encounter along each path (excluding Zubat, Spearow, and Pidgey — YOU’RE WELCOME), and the must-stop Poké Stops where you can refuel with food and drink.

This Charmander in Golden Gate Park cannot be up to any good. Photo: @tatchimoniz, Instagram.
This Charmander in Golden Gate Park cannot be up to any good. Photo: @tatchimoniz, Instagram.

Golden Gate Park

As you’d suspect, Golden Gate Park is teeming with all sorts of common grass and poison-type Pokémon: BellsproutCaterpieEkansNidoran♂/♀, Oddish, Paras, and Venonat. The deeper you venture into San Francisco’s landmark park, the more likely you are to encounter more uncommon Pokémon, like Bulbasaur, and some rarer evolved forms, like ArbokBeedrillButterfree, IvysaurNidokingNidoqueen, Victreebell, Vileplume, and more.

Near the park’s lakes you’ll find more water-type Pokémon, including GoldeenMagikarp (yes, Magikarp are basically useless in a Pokémon battle, but you’ll want to catch as many as you can: you need 400 Magikarp candies to evolve one into Gyrados!), Poliwag, and Staryu. On the western end of the park, near Great Highway and the Beach Chalet, you’re bound to encounter more electric-type Pokémon, for whatever reason. Be on the lookout for Magnemite, Pikachu, and Voltorb.

Some rarer species have been discovered in GGP, including Charmander (stay away from the rose garden!), DratiniIvysaur, and even Scyther! Be sure to walk around the Buffalo Paddock near Spreckels Lake to find wild Tauros.

Golden Gate Park is full of Pokéstops, and is home to several gyms. You’ll find tons of lured Pokéstops filled with health items for your Pokémon, Poké Balls, Razz Berries, Lure Modules, and 5K and 10K eggs!

Bulbasaur love soaking in the sunshine at Baker Beach. Photo: @jessicascorpio, Instagram.
Bulbasaur love soaking in the sunshine at Baker Beach. Photo: @jessicascorpio, Instagram.

Land’s End & The Presidio

Do you want to evolve your starter Bulbasaur into a Venusaur? Or catch a Venusaur by a stroke of luck? Head to the northwestern recreation areas, Land’s End and The Presidio, to hike along wooded trails and catch tons of Bulbasaur, along with many other common monsters, including: DigletEkansEevee, GrowlitheMeowthSandshrew, and Slowpoke. On the coastal trails you’ll find a higher concentration of water-type Pokémon like GoldingHorseaMagikarp, Poliwag, Psyduck, and Squirtle. Similar to Golden Gate Park, the further west you go, the more likely you are to encounter electric-type Pokémon like Magnemite and Voltorb, but sightings of Pikachu are quite uncommon.

Rare Pokémon have been known to hang out in the City’s northwest neighborhoods, with sightings and captures of AerodactylAlakazam, Dragonite, and Hitmonlee reported.

The trails at both Land’s End and The Presidio are filled with Poké Stops guaranteed to fill your bag to capacity, and multiple gyms can be found within both parks. One of the more popular gyms in the area is at the Holocaust Memorial near the Legion of Honor, where Teams Valor, Mystic, and Instinct are constantly battling over territory.

To evolve one Magikarp into a Gyrados, you need 400 Magikarp candies. If each captured Magikarp comes with 3 candies, and transferring one gets you one, you'll need to capture 100 Magikarp to evolve one. Photo: @kealani777, Instagram.
To evolve one Magikarp into a Gyrados, you need 400 Magikarp candies. If each captured Magikarp comes with 3 candies, and transferring one gets you one, you’ll need to capture 100 Magikarp to evolve one. Photo: @kealani777, Instagram.

The Waterfront / Embarcadero

Wild Pokémon are much easier to find in areas heavily populated by other Pokémon GO users. That’s what makes the waterfront / Embarcadero area a prime spot for monster-catching throughout the day. In the early evening, dozens of Pokémon come out to play at lured Poké Stops along the Embarcadero as users gather for after-work happy hours on the waterfront.

You’ll find lots of water-type Pokémon here: KrabbyMagikarp, PoliwagPsyduckStaryu, and Tentacool. Surprisingly, you’ll also find quite a few Charmanderhere. Certain water-types, like Goldeen and Horsea, are a little more difficult to encounter in these parts. Be on the lookout for uncommon Pokémon like DratiniWartortle, and Poliwrath, and the elusive Lapras.

Almost all of your favorite watering holes have Poké Stops, so plan a Pokémon happy hour ASAP at AmericanoMarketBarHi DiveHog Island Oyster Co., or Coqueta.


Tonight, July 20th: Pokémon GO Crawl

We knew this was bound to happen: a Pokémon GO Crawl is set to start at 6:00PM tonight — over 9,000 people have RSVP’d, and some 29,000 people have marked the event as “Interested”.

Here’s the low-down, from the official Facebook event page:

  • SoMa StrEat Food Park will have food trucks and bars open, and have reserved their “barn” space just for Pokémon GO trainers. Dance the night away to Pokémon-themed music, meet other crawlers, and enter to win raffle prizes.
    SoMa StrEat Food Park, 428 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
  • The Myriad Market Hall near Church Muni Station which will have tons of drink and food deals based on what Pokémon you have or what level you are. (Sounds sketchy, so you better have some cool Pokémon ready to show off.) Mrs. Jones at The Myriad will be serving team-themed drinks ($8.00), and will also sell $6.00 Bloody Marys and Mimosas to any trainer with an Aerodactyl, or free glass of champagne to any trainer with a Snorlax. The Myriad Market Hall will also have CHARGING STATIONS! Come here for great vibes, fun drinks, and yummy grub!
    The Myriad Market Hall, 2175 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94114
  • Participating Bars in the Mission: Oddjob (1337 Mission Street, San Francisco 94103) will be offering special team-themed drinks through the night. Docs Clock (2575 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103) will be serving $3.00 Pokéshots to participating crawlers. The 500 Club will also be serving up happy hour specials.
  • Participating Bars Downtown: Swig Bar (561 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94102) will be having regular happy hour specials. Rye (688 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94102) will give all trainers $2.00 off their order with password: POKEMON.
  • Participating Bars in Hayes Valley: Brass Tacks (488A Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94102) will have a special board for Pokémon crawlers, surely including special drinks.

Thursday, July 21st: Pokémon GO + Pizza Party, Mozilla HQ

Mozilla (yes, the makers of Firefox) will be hosting a Pokémon and Pizza party at their headquarters (2 Harrison Street, San Francisco, California 94105) between 4:30 and 6:00PM on Thursday, July 21st. Come hang out with the Mozilla team, eat some free pizza, and get free goods from the non-stop lures.

Friday, July 22nd: Pokémon GO Crawl, Castro

A second Pokémon GO crawl is scheduled for 6:00PM at Toad Hall (4146 18th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114) on Friday, July 22nd. Details are sparse, but we will update as additional details become available.

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