North America

San Francisco, CA

One of the world’s most beautiful cities, San Francisco has it all for runners. Views. Ocean. Hills. Paths. Trails. Good Weather. Variety. Accessibility. For the runner who wants to experience some of the greatest urban running and some incredible trails within a stone’s throw of the city, put San Francisco on your running bucket list.

The highlight of San Francisco running is the trail from the Embarcadero, over Fort Mason, along Crissy Field and toward the Golden Gate Bridge. Running across the Golden Gate bridge and out to some of the view points is another must-do. Other spectacular runs include Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, and some fun urban hill running. Trail runners and those seeking a running adventure should experience the Marin Headlands adjacent to the Golden Gate Bridge. And for those who like hills, well…

  • All Routes
  • Iconic Routes
  • Where To Stay
  • Stores & Group Runs
  • Events

San Francisco definitely has its distinct areas/neighborhoods. It’s a bit of a challenge finding nicer hotels really near the best running areas. If you really want to be near one of the iconic routes, you might have to stay in a slightly less fancy hotel, a couple of miles away from where your meetings are going to be.

If you want to access the Chrissy field to Fort Point trails, try to stay in the Marina district inside Lombard St., or in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. There’s a cluster of ‘budget’ hotels along Lombard St. bordering the Marina and Pacific Heights, with good access to the Presidio

The North Beach and Financial district areas provide good access to the Embarcadero area for running. Try to avoid staying deep in Union Square area, because even though it is a popular destination for business travelers and shoppers, it is further from good running spots. A compromise area might be along Market St. close to the Embarcadero. It is a little over 1 mile from Union Sq. to Ferry Plaza at the Embarcadero

There are not very many hotels in the Ocean Beach area, or west of Golden Gate Park, and if you’re in SF for business, you’re fairly far from the central business area.sf-hotel-map-2

There are surprisingly few local running stores in the heart of San Francisco compared to other cities. Some best bets:

Marina/Crissy Field Area

Fleet Feet. Great local running store. Numerous events including “Wine Not Wednesdays” runs at 6:30om and Saturday morning 8:30 am along Marina Green and the Presidio. Also a location South of Market (SOMA).

Nike Store. Numerous events, some free others fee. Also a location in Union Sq.

Sports Basement. In the Crissy Field area. Not a running specific store but an incredible one of a kind sports store and worth a visit.

Union Square Area

Foot Race. On Polk & Sutter.

Finish Line in Macy’s

Presidio & Mission districts

A Runner’s Mind Local running store, with group runs Tuesday 7pm hill repeats, Thursday 7pm 3–6 miler, and Saturday 9am (long runs).

See Jane Run. Women’s focused running store in the Mission area. Fabulous store and folks. Tuesday evening and Saturday morning run clubs. Calendar.


Group runs to join when in San Francisco:

The two largest and most established run clubs in San Francisco are the Dolphin Run Club, which has numerous events throughout the week, and a Saturday morning group run in Golden Gate Park and the San Francisco Road Runners Club. Large organization, with many events. Also the Golden Gate Run Club.

A comprehensive calendar of events: Bay Area Running Events

San Francisco has a huge running community and there are events almost every weekend. Signature San Francisco running events include:

  • Bay to Breakers. May. The oldest continually run footrace in the world. 12k from the Embarcadero to Ocean Beach. Huge event running from Crissy Field to the ocean.
  • San Francisco Marathon. June or July.