SF’s best neighborhoods for runners
San Francisco is a great city for runners. If you enjoy pounding the pavement, rather than a treadmill, for exercise, here are some areas of the city where you might want to consider renting an apartment. If there’s one group of people who wholeheartedly appreciates San Francisco’s lucid weather, it’s runners, who enjoy the cool temperatures and overcast skies year round.
Essentially, the best places for starting good long runs around the city are all on the outskirts. Some neighborhoods that I would not recommend for runners include the Mission, SoMa, and the Castro, because they are so locked in with city streets and it will take you a very long time to jog to anywhere pleasant.
Two neighborhoods that offer the greatest variety for runners are Sunset and the Outer Sunset. From here, you have easy access to Golden Gate Park, Lake Merced Park, and the Great Highway along the ocean where many of the longer races are routed. You’ll have many options for great long runs and will see plenty of other runners out and about no matter what route you take.
I’ve always enjoyed running in Golden Gate Park, and all of the Richmond District neighborhoods – inner, outer, and central, have easy access to the park. Depending on which point of entry into the park you choose you can check out the trails around one of the park’s three lakes. Just be sure to stay off of the golf course, they don’t like runners sneaking on there.
Closer to downtown, the Marina, Telegraph Hill and North Beach runners make their way down to the waterfront every morning (and on weekend afternoons). You’ll be joining a horde of other joggers here so be sure to be ready to see and be seen.
San Francisco has a variety of running competitions throughout the year, including several marathons and half marathons, and of course the legendary Zazzle Bay to Breakers and one of my annual favorites, the Emerald Across the Bay 12K. Running across the Golden Gate Bridge is so much fun!