There’s no better place to soak in the spring than San Francisco. As free-spirited as the city itself, the Bay Area’s fabled foggy weather means that piles of layers are the go-to local fashion trend for most of the year. But springtime in this pacific haven is the one season you can count on for a mild climate, clear skies, and endless outdoor things to do until the fog rolls in again over the summer. But if your time is limited to just a long weekend, check out some of our favorite fun-in-the-sun activities to do in San Francisco this time of year.
Spend a Day in Golden Gate Park
Even if you’ve already planned for a 72 hour getaway, you’re going to want to book an extra day or three in San Francisco once you discover all that Golden Gate Park has to offer. With over 1,000 acres of forests, open fields, sail-worthy lakes, a landmark flower conservatory, a100-year-old carousel packed with 62 colorful animal figures, a Japanese tea garden bursting with cherry blossoms that strut their stuff every spring, one-of-a-kind art and science museums, and a 150 foot tall ferris wheel that offers jaw-meet-park views from downtown SF out to the Pacific Ocean, there’s no end to what this urban oasis has to offer. Grab some wheels from the Baywheels Bike Share System for an easy (not to mention super fun) way to get around!
Oh wait, did we mention the herds of bison whose ancestors have called this park their home since the 1890s? Well, don’t judge us – we haven’t got time to cover even half of the attractions in this man-made wonder, so just get out here and see it all for yourself. Like, now.
Cruise Castro Street
You can’t confuse the Castro with any other part of San Fran. Once you hit the rainbow banners hanging from the streetlights, you’ll know you’ve made it. Stroll down the rainbow-painted sidewalks in one of the first gay communities in the country. When the US military began to discharge soldiers during World War II for homosexuality, thousands of gay and lesbian service members headed to the Castro District to build new lives. Today, the Castro remains one of the most prominent symbols of LGTBQ activism in the world.
This lively neighborhood is filled with tons of bars, the welcoming Harvey Milk Plaza, the landmark Castro Theater, places to amp up your spring wardrobe, and one of the most unique parks in the city. And this being San Francisco means it’s really unique.
Play Ball at Oracle Park
If baseball is your game, head over to Oracle Park to experience one of the best baseball stadiums in the country – a good match for the SF Giants which are known as one of the best teams in baseball. Famous for its stunning water-front views and unique food options (sushi, cheese plates, and fish tacos, anyone?), this privately financed ballpark is a great place to spend an iconic afternoon in the Bay Area. And whoa, calm down – yes, you can get hot dogs there as well.
Paddle In McCovey Cove
And if stadiums aren’t your thing but you’re still craving the game, rent a kayak and cruise the cove for a true NorCal experience. Behind the right field wall of Oracle Park is the fun-filled McCovey Cove – a bustling little part of the San Francisco Bay that’s typically full of baseball fans cruising around in hopes of catching one of the home runs known as “splash hits.” Even if you don’t catch a stray ball, however, you’ll enjoy an afternoon spent paddling around the cove and hearing the roar of the crowd from the packed stands. Game on.
Explore the Cherry Blossom Festival
Spring is your chance to celebrate one of the largest cherry blossom festivals outside of Japan. The Annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival takes place over two weekends in April in one of the only three remaining official Japantowns in the US. Take in the Grand Parade’s taiko drummers, dancers, and decorative floats, enjoy Japanese delicacies, watch martial arts demonstrations, and listen to live music that celebrates the iconic culture of Japan. And just when you think your day can’t get better than that, you find out that entry is free to the public.
Watch Opening Day on the Bay
The start of boating season in San Francisco comes each year in late April. You don’t need to be a sailor to enjoy watching the boat parade, as your spot from the shore will allow you to see hundreds of ships in all their glory. Historic fireboats, workboats, and towboats will set sail from the historic Palace of Fine Arts and end at fun-filled Pier 39 in an eclectic display of maritime love. If you’re a diehard fan of the sailing community, you can even snag a spot on one of the sailing yachts to immerse yourself in the fun.
Take a Tour with San Francisco City Guides
Whether you’re a San Francisco native or you’re visiting the city for the first time, you’ll love the historic tours offered by San Francisco City Guides, many of them free of charge. The Bay Area has gone through countless transformations over the years, giving you decades of rich and layered history to explore. Discover the Bawdy and Naughty Barbary Coast, the Arts & Crafts Bungalows of Westwood Park, and the Diego Rivera Mural to learn more about this vibrant city.
Go For Full-on Fun at Fisherman’s Wharf
And if you’re looking for a classic San Francisco experience, there’s no place better to soak in the Golden State vibes than the famous Fisherman’s Wharf. Don’t avoid this popular spot just to escape “the T word.” So many destinations are known as tourist spots because of the endless fun activities they offer, and Fisherman’s Wharf is definitely one of them.
If you think this iconic waterfront neighborhood is all bread bowl chowder and vociferously vocal sea lions, think again. Classic seafood restaurants, a winery collective, a mirror maze known as “the most psychedelic place one can legally reach within the city limits,” crazy-fun shops and even crazier-funner museums – including the Musée Mécanique which is loved by tourists and locals alike – fill the neighborhood. And don’t forget to take a walk through Aquatic Park, where you’ll be treated to amazing views of the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge along with the world-infamous Alcatraz Island, and the stunning city skyline – all right from this serene beach.
And okay, yes, you can still enjoy bread bowl chowder and the 1,000+ sea lions that call this area home when you’re here. We just wanted to let you know there’s even more to this eclectic seaside community than those two beloved attractions.
Stay in the Neighborhood
And soak in even more iconic views when you stay at The Alton Hotel, one of Kimpton’s newest hotels. Hailed as one of the 5 Best New Hotels in the Bay Area, The Alton is the perfect hangout for the perfect San Francisco escape.