FIT IN: San Francisco

Erica Bellman
by Erica Bellman
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FIT IN: San Francisco

Every city has a heartbeat, but what keeps it pumping? FIT IN takes a health-conscious approach to exploring the city by the bay, revealing the top spots for sleep, fitness, activity and nutrition.



Best Tune Out & Drop In Spot: Reboot Float Spa

Enter a sensory deprivation pod at Reboot, filled with glowing epsom-salt infused water, and let the benefits work their magic. Stephen Curry has been visiting this off-beat spa all season. The magnesium in the water alleviates soreness, while the floating action decompresses the spine and induces a relaxation so deep it lowers cortisol and melts away muscle tension.

Best for a Midday Snooze: DozeSF

If you’re seeking enhanced mental clarity and increased productivity, a nap could be an answer. Surprisingly, the best place to get undisturbed rest when you’re away from home and short on time is in the midst of San Francisco’s bustling financial district. DozeSF is a sleep studio that features futuristic sleep pods available on a walk-in basis for up to an hour at a time. Complete with Bose QuietComfort headphones, your pod is the ideal place to meditate, rest or just … zzzz.



Best Run with a View: Lyon Street Steps

For a cardio workout with sweeping vistas of the bay, the Marin Headlands and the Palace of Fine Arts, jog over to Pacific Heights for a few rounds up and down the Lyon Street steps. Join locals on this rite of passage; it climbs past some of the city’s most stunning, historic homes. Don’t forget to pause for a selfie at the top of the 332 steps — no one will judge you.

Best for Aspiring Action Heros: Dogpatch Boulders

Located in up-and-coming district The Dogpatch, this bouldering gym is the largest of its kind in the country. Climb 14,000 square feet of routes without rope or harness to work your upper body, core and mental acuity. Climbers of all levels are welcomed. Bonus points: the gym’s crowd-pleasing music selection, which ranges from indie rock to 90s hip-hop, and cardio machines you can use between climbs.

Best Place for a Plunge: The Dolphin Club

The Dolphin Club has been offering SF residents and visitors a unique setting to row and swim since 1877. Located in Aquatic Park with views of infamous Alcatraz, this non-profit, public athletic club rents kayaks and rowboats, and maintains a quarter-mile swimming course in the bay. Come prepared for the plunge: Temperatures can dip to 50 degrees in the winter, so consider a wetsuit, and warm up in the sauna afterwards.  



Best Urban Hike: Climb Mt. Sutro

The slopes of Mt. Sutro feature swirling fog, towering eucalyptus trees and 360-degree views of San Francisco. Pair the natural setting with a climb that’ll get your heart rate pumping and legs burning, and you have arguably the best urban hike in the west. Tackle the summit by foot or rent a mountain bike at nearby Avenue Cyclery.

Best Rise-and-Sweat: Daybreaker SF

You have to try Daybreaker to believe the hype. Sweaty dancing, yoga classes, DJs, cold brew coffee, fresh squeezed juice … all before 10 a.m.? It’s all true. Check the Daybreaker website for the next SF event. They fill up quickly, so grab your ticket, dance your face off with new friends, and throw caution to the wind.

Best City Swells: Surf Ocean Beach

San Francisco is a surfer’s city. Ocean Beach, located on the westernmost edge of SF, boasts some of the most challenging, consistent and scenic surfing in Northern California. Those seeking an iconic break in the shadow of the Cliff House should head to Kelly’s Cove at Balboa Street. This spot is said to have been the birthplace of San Francisco surf culture. Rent a board and wetsuit at Aqua Surf Shop on Judah Street — they even offer yoga classes for a pre-surf stretch.



Best Cultural Sips: Samovar Tea Lounge in Yerba Buena Gardens

Opt for one of the traditional food and tea pairings Samovar offers. From the Japanese option (steamed rice, mineral-rich seaweed salad and a protein paired with antioxidant-packed Ryokucha green tea) to the Russian (Vitamin C-rich Borscht, tea-smoked chicken salad and black tea), this outpost overlooking parks and museums has a healthy, clean menu that will satisfy every palate. There’s even a Paleolithic pairing with Lacinato kale and your choice of protein.

Best Mexican Food with a Twist: Gracias Madre

Vegans and meat-lovers will obsess over Gracias Madre’s plant-based dishes. Every item on the inventive Mexican menu is delicious (we’re in California, after all). Highlights include butternut squash quesadillas with cashew “cheese” and crispy flautas de camote: tacos filled with sweet potato and caramelized onions.


Staying fit in San Francisco doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the festivities and sightseeing around the city. Add any of these activities to your itinerary and you’ll have the ideal experience in the bay: days packed with fitness, photo ops, delicious food and plenty of time to rejuvenate and soak in the best that the city has to offer.

Also in this series: FIT IN: Las Vegas

Have some favorite healthy spots to share? Tell us your favorites for San Francisco, and nominate where we should go next in the comments below.

About the Author

Erica Bellman
Erica Bellman

Erica Bellman is a San Francisco-based writer and editor. An avid hiker, trail runner and yogi, Erica’s favorite thing about San Francisco is its proximity to nature. Next on Erica’s West Coast bucket list: hiking the John Muir Trail, summiting Mt. Shasta, and perfecting her veggie chili recipe.


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