Living in a metropolitan city such as San Francisco, there is ample opportunity to improve your health and fitness with the simple and free exercise of walking. No matter which neighborhood you’re in, there are plenty of blocks full of scenery, as well as established parks, trails and beaches with open access for walking. During peak hours and on weekends, the downtown area, financial district and Embarcadero are bustling with great local attractions and exercise enthusiasts. Don’t let the business areas or the overwhelming amount of tourists stop you. From the high-rise buildings to the Ferry Building at the water that looks upon the bay bridge, San Francisco is a great place to walk for exercise. If you make it down to the Ferry Building, they have open markets with beautiful handcrafted jewelry and local artists on display to attract you when you have finished. The Ferry Building lines up with the long stretch of the Embarcadero, which is a popular jaunt for runners, walkers and bicyclists.
If the downtown area as a whole is not so much your cup of tea, there are always more remote areas with wonderful scenes. Golden Gate Park is popular for bicyclists, but its sister park, the Panhandle, is located next to it running parallel to Haight Street. The Panhandle acts as an exercise enthusiast’s candy store, offering an assortment of tastes, depending on your activity of choice. The paved trail runs myriad with walkers, runners and bicyclists. The Panhandle also has a basketball court with open run every day, but it is used primarily on the weekends. A great attribute of this particular park is that they offer a bathroom, which is necessary for longer workouts and outings.
On the other side of town towards Visitacion Valley is John McLaren Park. This is more offbeat and more secluded than the Panhandle. For those who don’t like walking and exercising in a busy location, John McLaren is a great solution. They have walking trails and mild hiking available. Keep in mind that this is a large park, so remember where you start! The best time to go to McLaren Park is morning or afternoon. I would not recommend night use, especially for the ladies, unless you’re with a few people.
Other great places for you walkers and fitness enthusiasts to check out include Ocean Beach, Lands End and the numerous local parks.
Remember to set small goals, focus and enjoy the process.
Happy walking, San Francisco!