SF day trip: Guide to Golden Gate

Golden Gate
Juliet Hemmati/Staff

By now, most of us have experienced the “touristy” parts of San Fransisco, from the Embarcadero and Fisherman’s Wharf to Union Square. With summer upon us, there’s no better time than now to venture out a bit further into the city. For your next San Francisco day trip, grab some friends and head over to the Northwest side of the city, just hugging the Golden Gate Bridge. Don’t know what to do there? Here are some ideas for fun activities in Golden Gate Park, the Presidio and the Marina. If you’re wondering — yes, they can all be done in one day. Just remember to grab some breakfast before you head out.

Golden Gate Park

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Juliet Hemmati/Staff

Start your day off at Golden Gate Park. The park has over a thousand acres of gardens, museums and trails that you can explore. It’s home to the San Francisco Botanical Gardens and the California Academy of Sciences. But for your first visit, nothing can be more relaxing than renting a rowboat with three of your best friends and cruising around the park’s Stow Lake. You’ll get a nice look at many parts of the park, including the Japanese Tea Gardens. Once you’ve worked up your appetite with all that rowing, grab a quick bite from one of the food trucks located nearby. Our personal favorite is the take-out samosa served by Annakoot.

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Juliet Hemmati/Staff

Presidio

Next up, head over to the Presidio. This park and former army base has dazzling views of the Bay Area. There’s something for everyone here as the terrain ranges from lush forest to tranquil beach. However, the main attraction of the area is that it’s the entry point for walking the Golden Gate Bridge. The 1.7-mile walk is windy, but the city sites you can only see from there will be well worth it. Be sure to pack a jacket.

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Juliet Hemmati/Staff

Marina District

End your day in the laid-back Marina District. Although the area is possibly best known as the home of young people on the professional rise, it offers so much more than just nightlife. It houses the Palace of Fine Arts, built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. Walk its artificial lake and take truly Instagram-able photos. For dinner, head over to the nearby Pacific Catch, where you can have a taste of a wide range of seafood dishes. Just be wary that if you’re here at the weekend, almost any restaurant in this district is going to be packed.

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Juliet Hemmati/Staff

Now the next time you go to SF, you can mix up your trip with some pretty sites and some pretty good food along the way.

Contact Juliet Hemmati at [email protected].