7 Laid-Back Thing to Do in Sunset, San Francisco



Ever wish you could step back in time? Well, you can and it's called the Sunset District of San Francisco. Set in the southwest corner of the city, bordered by the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Park, the time-warp effect starts from its geographic isolation. Add to that the residents' phobia of chain businesses, and what you get is a diversity of laid-back funky cafes, ethnic restaurants and shabby-chic shops.

There are two Sunsets — Inner and Outer. Both are grittier than the rest of city, but there is one thing that connects the two — an almost perpetual blanket of fog. But that doesn't mean Sunset is without its charms. Head there for long walks on the beach, concerts at Stern Grove, the SF Zoo, bird watching at Mt Davidson, or to watch hang gliders launch from the cliffs at Fort Funston.

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Fort Funston

Fort Funston

A 200-foot bluff + beach = a hot location for hang gliders. Sure, you can glide in the sky, but you can also play it safe on the dunes at ground level and watch the dramatic launches or walk on the paths and head to the beach.

If you're a hang glider you'll know that the best times to visit are March and October. Fort Funston was once a military reservation, today it's protected by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Shopping on Irving Street

Shopping on Irving Street

Head to Irving between 19th and 27th avenues for thrift & boutique clothing stores. You can find everything from vintage overalls to designer labels. Kids and teens will love the classic comic book stores, bike shops & novelty stores. And you'll like the lovable names of the neighborhood's popular non-chain restaurants — Tart to Tart Bakery, The Yellow Submarine Shop, Park Chow, and Peasant Pies to name just a few.

Lake Merced

Lake Merced

Urban lake + Parkland = Magnet for walkers, joggers, boaters, fishers, golfers. Since the 1860s Lake Merced has been an important supplier of water to the city of San Francisco. The large lake is found just on the other side of Fort Funston and its windy oceanside landscape is a popular playground for off-leash dogs (and their walkers), bird watchers, and hang gliders.

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Mount Davidson Park

Mount Davidson Park

Attention all bird lovers! At 928 feet, the summit of Mount Davidson is the highest point in the city making it a challenging yet pleasant hike to the top with great views as your reward.

From a bird's eye view, you would see a clear divide between eucalyptus forest on the westside and coastal scrub to the east. The diversity makes it an ideal habitat for a diverse range of migratory and resident birds.

San Francisco Zoo – An Urban Oasis

San Francisco Zoo

Head to Sunset to get your fix of koalas, lions, meerkats, kangaroos, penguins, primates and penguins. Kids love the Petting Zoo, Little Puffer Train and Family Farm. Big kids love the education center where they get to learn first hand about animals, the environment & conservation.

The zoo is nestled against the Pacific Ocean and home to over 1,000 animals set in acres of peaceful gardens.

Stern Grove

Stern Grove

Home to the popular, free, performing-arts festival, held each summer, the Stern Grove Festival is the longest running festival of its kind.

Experience world-class music and dance in an unparalleled outdoor setting. But there's more than music here as an attraction. There's also an outdoor recreation center with a children’s playground, tennis courts, croquet court, area for horseshoes & a dog play area

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Harding Park Municipal Golf Course

Harding Park

Low greens fees + 18 holes + great views = A Sunset district icon. Golfers rave about the fantastic layout, and its history of hosting the PGA Tour Lucky Strikes Open in the olden days.

Built in 1925, the course had its heyday in the 1960s, then came budget cuts and a sharp decline. Now, it's back in top form with record numbers flocking to take advantage of the reasonable green fees and terrific views.

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