United States

San Francisco, CA

See Also Running Guides For SF North, Silicon Valley, East Bay, Santa Cruz, Big Sur/Monterey, Napa/Sonoma

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 incredible trails within a stone’s throw of the downtown, our guide to running in San Francisco should be on your running bucket list. Note that San Francisco weather can be cool and changeable –bring layers–even in summer! And be prepared for some hills!

The highlight of San Francisco running is the myriad options around the Golden Gate Bridge: starting at the Embarcadero, over Fort Mason, along Crissy Field, toward the GG Bridge, and across it. There’s also great running in the Presidio, and down to Lands End and over to Ocean Beach. Golden Gate Park is one of the country’s great urban parks. We’ve also mapped out several terrific SF neighborhood routes, including Twin Peaks, Nob Hill, Sea Cliff, and Noe Valley. For a gorgeous destination run, take the ferry to Angel Island.

These San Francisco routes form part of a huge collection of wonderful running routes in the ‘Bay Area’: See our separate running guides for North San Francisco, Silicon Valley, East Bay, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Monterey/Big Sur, Napa, and Sonoma.

See Our Other Area Guides

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  • 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

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. Second location on Bryant Street.

Union Square Area

Finish Line in Macy’s

Nike Store. Numerous events, some free others fee.

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).

Berkeley

Since 1983, Road Runner Sports has grown from selling running shoes out of a garage to over 40 locations across America today. After 35 years, they are still family-run and proud of it! They are committed to fitting runners, walkers, and gym goers in perfect fitting shoes. There are no locations in the city, but stores can be found in Berkeley, Concord, and San Carlos.


Community

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.

Looking for road or trail races in this area? Find them on RaceRaves, the best online race calendar and reviews community for runners!

Browse RaceRaves in San Francisco, CA

A comprehensive calendar of events: Bay Area Running Events

San Francisco has a huge running community and there are events almost every weekend. DSE Runners host very cheap races every Sunday.

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. Part race, part fancy-dress parade. A good opportunity to run naked in public.

San Francisco Marathon. June or July. Includes 2 half marathons (1st half, 2nd half).

Oakland Marathon – March. The city that SF loves to hate throws a mean marathon! Called the ‘Oakland Running Festival’.

The Giant Race – August. 5k,10k or Half , ending on the field at AT&T Park.

Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon. February. Flat and fast! It’s PR territory. Golden Gate Park.