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Travel Guides for Un-tourists

Itinerary

Chill Out in San Francisco’s Underrated Beachside Neighborhoods

by Liz Shemaria

posted on April 03, 2019

Photo Courtesy: iStock

Quiet, perpetually blanket in fog, and heavily residential, the San Francisco’s Sunset and Richmond districts are often skipped by tourists, but are beloved by locals looking for a mellow day spent amongst natural splendor. Venture here via the N Judah train or hop in a car to begin your explorations; our itinerary will take you everywhere from a wildly-popular Burmese restaurant to the ruins of a century-old bathhouse.

Itinerary Details

9 Places
5 Hours

Photo Courtesy: littlelim22

Start your morning at Trouble Coffee, a tiny coffee shop with a serious mission, a pared-down menu, and excellent espresso. Come here for the positive vibes and its signature toast: a ridiculously-thick slice of bread slathered edge to edge with butter and cinnamon sugar. For the full works, go with “build your own damn house,” a combo of toast, coffee, and a coconut.

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Cinnamon toast, latte, coconut

Walking Distance

0.01 Miles

Photo Courtesy: micaelahoo

Step next door to peruse the wares at the General Store, an Outer Sunset boutique where eco-chic clothing and homewares stand out amongst the muted earth tones of its interior. The shop also offers up a well-curated collection of vintage books, and is the perfect place to spend a foggy morning searching for that special something you didn’t even know you wanted: A ‘70s-era guide to maintaining your hot tub? Mermaid Hair Oil? A perfect pair of clogs? Here you’ll find it all.

Walking Distance

0.47 Miles

Photo Courtesy: iStock

The ocean is only a few blocks away, and now that you’ve warmed up with your coffee, it’s time to brave the beach, no matter the weather (chances are, it’s foggy). If you’re feeling ambitious, stroll north towards the Cliff House, the next point on your itinerary; if not, hop on the bus or in a car after you’ve gotten your fill of the spectacular waves. If you’ve been blessed with a clear day, see if you can spot the Farallon Islands in the distance.

Walking Distance

2.14 Miles

Photo Courtesy: DavidCallan

After working up an appetite during your walk on Ocean Beach, head to the neoclassical Cliff House for lunch. Perched on a cliff (hence the name), the house has seen five incarnations since 1858 — most notably, it burnt down 11 years after having survived the great 1906 earthquake. The food here is decent, but the real draw is the view; if you’re lucky, you might spot a family of whales through the panoramic windows.

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Crab melt, raspberry cheesecake, mussels in onions and beer, shrimp and scallop scampi, spicy calamari

Walking Distance

0.12 Miles

Photo Courtesy: Unsplash / MontyLov

Up the road lie the ruins of the once-grand Sutro Baths, built in 1896 by Adolph Sutro, a former mayor of San Francisco, who was also an engineer. At the time, the baths were collectively the largest indoor swimming pool and were divided into a freshwater pool and six saltwater pools, using 1,685,000 gallons of ocean water. A happening aquatic playground for San Franciscans until 1952, they were sold due to declining popularity, and were officially shut down in 1966. Soon after closing, they burned in a suspicious fire, leaving the ruins behind. As you walk along the footpath to the ocean, you’ll see that what remains is a shadow of the grandeur that once was, but you can imagine what it might have been like to take a dip over a century ago.

Walking Distance

1.27 Miles

Photo Courtesy: Legion of Honor

Depending on the time of day, walk or take a car to the next stop on your itinerary, the Legion of Honor, one of San Francisco’s best art museums. A monument to soldiers who died in World War I, the building’s permanent collection spans 4,000 years of ancient and European art. Rotating exhibitions range from works by Klimt and Rodin, to sculptures and installations by Sarah Lucas and Urs Fischer. To avoid waiting in line, buy your tickets ahead of time.

Walking Distance

1.08 Miles

Photo Courtesy: iStock

After getting your fill of art at the Legion of Honor, take a sunset walk to Lands End Lookout. Trails wind through cypress and eucalyptus trees and along rocky cliffs; follow the path to the edge of the water to catch views of the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Walking Distance

2.44 Miles

Photo Courtesy: Violets

From Land’s End, head down to the Richmond District, and the center of its shopping and dining scene, Clement Street. Your destination: happy hour at Violet’s Tavern. As for what to drink, Violet Skies (mezcal, gin, hibiscus brandy, coconut liqueur, crème de violette, and lemon) or a its take on the Negroni (gin, La Quintinye Rouge, Alessio Chinato, and Campari) are good options. If you’re feeling peckish, order up some oysters or chips and dip.

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Pretty Bird, Violet Skies, grand seafood platter, smoked broccoli gratin, chips and dip

Walking Distance

1.88 Miles

Photo Courtesy: burmasuperstarsf

People have been waiting in long lines line for a table at Burma Superstar since 1992. And yes, it’s worth it. Famed for its tea leaf and rainbow salads, the menu is straight out of the streets and restaurants of Yangon. To cut down on your wait time, add yourself to the list through its website.

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Tea leaf salad, samusa soup, Burmese chicken and shrimp casserole, garlic and chili shrimp

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