Need To Beat the Heat? Try These 7 Failproof San Francisco Picnic Spots.

San Francisco's Dolores Park on a warm, sunny day.

San Franciscans have been spoiled with some incredible weather this summer. And, hey, we deserve it after the drought-busting rain season experienced earlier this year.

Now, Fogust is finally over and Indian Summer is here. And it’s not arriving unannounced. The forecast for September 13th is in the “mid-to-high 80s” in San Francisco, according to AlertSF.

So, fellow San Franciscans, it’s time to soak up the sun in true SF-style and throw a picnic party. You can have all sorts of picnics in San Francisco: urban picnics, beachy picnics, park picnics, picturesque picnics, green picnics, naked picnics, and, perhaps most importantly, boozy picnics.

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, it’s all in here. Read on for your guide picnic fun in the City this Indian Summer.

1. Urban Picnic (Patricia’s Green, Hayes Valley)

Patricia's Green in Hayes Valley.
Patricia’s Green in Hayes Valley. Photo: Kyle Legg,

Surrounded by buzzing shops, eateries, and bars, Hayes Valley’s modestly-sized Patricia’s Green is the ideal spot for an urban picnic in San Francisco. Enjoy the best of the neighborhood’s urban amenities by ditching the picnic basket. Who needs one when you can pop into Souvla for a sandwich and bottle of rosé to go? And as soon as you finish, you can head across the street to PROXY for ice cream at Smitten, beer at Biergarten, or sip on sneaky punch on Anina‘s patio.

2. Beachy Picnic (Ocean Beach, Outer Sunset)

Sunset over Ocean Beach in San Francisco.
Sunset over Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Photo: Kyle Legg,

Whip up some sandwiches, grab beers and wine (and a corkscrew or bottle opener), pack a blanket, and hop aboard the Outbound N-Judah toward the Outer Sunset for a beachy picnic. Don’t want to deal with lugging a picnic basket to the outer lands? At Muni’s terminus you’ll encounter Java Beach, which has you covered with deli sandwiches, Italian iced soda, and other cafe items. Need booze? Other Avenues on Judah between 45th and 44th Avenues is your go-to spot along this route for craft beer and quality wine. Broke? There’s a 7-Eleven.

3. Park Picnic (Park Chalet, Golden Gate Park)

Sargent Wookie, the Wookie Wonster holds down the fort at Park Chalet.
Sargent Wookie, the Wookie Wonster holds down the fort at Park Chalet. Photo: @sargentwookie, Instagram.

At the far end of Golden Gate Park, behind the famed Beach Chalet, you’ll find Park Chalet, a picnicker’s paradise. Park Chalet can get a little crowded, but it’s a no-brainer for an easy picnic in the park. Pack a blanket, just in case you can’t get an outdoor table or lawn chair. Park Chalet is also dog-friendly, so bring Fido along for the picnic fun!

4. Picturesque Picnic (Crissy Field Picnic Area, The Presidio)

The West Bluff Picnic Area at Crissy Field.
The West Bluff Picnic Area at Crissy Field looks directly out to the Golden Gate Bridge. Photo: @yejii_yy, Instagram.

If the forecast’s looking especially warm, plan a picnic at the Crissy Field Picnic Area southeast of The Warming Hut. With unobstructed views of the Golden Gate Bridge, eye candy jogging along the San Francisco Bay Trail, and dogs galore, the Crissy Field Picnic Area is without a doubt the most picturesque picnic spot in the City. Here, you’ll find a dozen picnic tables—several with BBQ grills. If you plan to grill, arrive by 7:00AM with your BBQ supplies, as they are claimed quickly. And no matter how warm it is, never forget San Francisco’s cardinal rule: bring a jacket! You never know, Karl may have caught word of your gathering.

5. Green Picnic (Dolores Park, The Mission)

San Francisco's Dolores Park on a warm, sunny day.
Dolores Park on a sunny day. Photo: Kyle Legg,

True, you can enjoy a “green” picnic at any lush San Francisco park, but only in Dolores Park can you easily purchase some green treats to enjoy at your green picnic. In Dolores Park, a paradigm of free-market capitalism, you’ll find vendors like the “Truffle Guy”, “Incredible Edible Man”, and a 60-year-old woman named “Destiny” selling cannabis-laced edibles out in the open. It’s probably a good idea to stock up on some munchies at Bi-Rite Market before you indulge in any marijuana treats. (Eating edibles can be potentially dangerous. So please, enjoy safely and responsibly. This blog post is not an endorsement.)

6. Naked Picnic (Marshall’s Beach, The Presidio)

A view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Marshall's Beach.
A view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Marshall’s Beach. Photo: @ianteraoka, Instagram.

Even if nudism isn’t your thing, you must admit you have briefly (perhaps even seriously) considered adopting a naturalist lifestyle after spending just one sweltering day in the City. You can find out if it’s for you at Marshall’s Beach, a small and secluded beach at the end of the the Batteries to Bluffs Trail off Lincoln Boulevard. Here, you’ll get a taste of the Garden of Eden, before the fall of man, and find incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge without all the crowds at Baker Beach. Be sure to pack a blanket (to avoid getting sand anywhere you don’t want it), food, and drinks.

7. Boozy Picnic (Alamo Square Park, Alamo Square)

Sunset over Alamo Square Park.
Sunset over Alamo Square Park. Photo: Kyle Legg,

By boozy picnic, we mean a chill boozy picnic, not a bad and boozy Dolo rager, okay? Alamo Square Park is the place to go for a boozy, chill vibes only picnic. Why do you think the Tanners spent so much time there? Pick up a bottle (or five) of rosé of champagne at Bi-Rite Market on Divisadero, or Tim’s Market on Hayes and Fillmore, and cool off with a strictly liquid diet. In the event you do need to line your stomach with some grub, hit up SouvlaNamu Stonepot, or the Bi-Rite Market Deli on Divisadero.

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