San Francisco is one of those places that is perfect for city hiking all year round.  It has perpetually cool and cloudy weather, which is nice while walking along the waterfront and climbing those famous hills.  Plus it fits Jim’s criteria for what makes a city great for
strolling: quiet, good street engagement, and people.


I’ve recently had a couple of long layovers in San Francisco, which gave me time to explore the city on foot. Here’s an interactive google map of the first city hike I did. It was basically a big loop beginning and ending at my crew hotel. It hit most of San Francisco’s major sites (with the notable exception of Chinatown, which could be easily added with a little bit more time).

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This hike is fantastic. It’s a good mix of urban with nature. It highlights an abundance of parks, shopping districts, tourist attractions, city architecture, regular neighborhoods, and more.

Here is a gallery of some of the highlights. (Click on image to enlarge and create slideshow).

The route basically went like this:

Nob Hill. Civic Center. Alamo Square and the Painted Ladies. Buena Vista Park. Haight and Ashbury.  Golden Gate Park including the Conservatory of Flowers, de Young Museum, and Lloyd Lake. Richmond District. Presidio including Golden Gate Bridge and welcome center. Crissy Field. Fort Mason Center. Ghirardelli Square.  Maritime National Historic Park. Fisherman’s Wharf. Pier 39. Lombard Street. Russian Hill. Nob Hill.

Probably my favorite part was seeing Golden Gate Bridge from all sorts of angles.

The hike was about 13.5 miles and was supposed to take 4.5 hours. I had six hours, which I thought would be plenty of time. But there was so much to check out along the way, I started running out. So I rented a bicycle at Golden Gate Park to speed things up (one of the many advantages to a city hike is that it is extremely flexible). I returned it to their booth at Fort Mason Center, then walked the rest of the way back to my hotel.

All in all it was an excellent city hike.

— Laura Rowley


Written by Laura Rowley

I am an artist, flight attendant, and travel blogger.

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