The hustle, the bustle, the twists and the turns: we love pretty much everything about San Francisco’s eclectic vibe. While this bayside city might conjure up images of busy bridges and a vibrant social scene (plus some of Pressed Juicery’s most-loved outposts!), sometimes the best way to take it all in is to simply stop and smell the roses…or pack a picnic! Ana Kamin is the mastermind behind Fluxi On Tour, a San Francisco based lifestyle blog focused on travel, city hotspots, people and delicious food. Being Angelinos, we knew the best way to find the prettiest San Francisco picnic spots would be to ask this passionate local where she likes to plant her blanket and basket. Looking to wind down on your lunch break? Take a cue from Ana and get some grass time!
Being an expat from Northern Germany, San Francisco’s weather is all the healthy lifestyle a girl could wish for. Less rain, lots of lush parks, and plenty of opportunities to truly live well! This bay-side city is beautiful in so many ways, but one thing I really love about San Francisco is the endless green spots all over the city, which invite you to stop for a second, sit down and relax from the everyday bustle. I was so excited when The Chalkboard Mag asked me to share my favorite hidden (and not-so-hidden) outdoor gems to have a lunch and unwind.
I have been capturing my San Francisco discoveries on my blog, Fluxi On Tour. I love to share all the great spots this city has to offer and inspire others to spend more time outdoors. In the middle of rushing from meetings to errands it’s so important to take a break and concentrate on yourself and your healthy lifestyle. And what better way to do that than surrounded by nature? No matter where you choose to take a break, San Francisco is always showing it’s best side. And although the famous culinary scene here is to die for, it’s a nice break from the norm to take your lunch or dinner to one of San Francisco’s many outdoor spots. I cannot imagine a more perfect lunch date than one taken sitting on the green grass, breathing in the fresh air, and enjoying some good food.
Whether you are a local or just visiting for few days, I’ve scouted five spots just for you. I also came up with this super easy, healthy and tasty soba noodle salmon salad with Greek yogurt dill dressing to tote along in your picnic basket. It only takes less than 20 minutes to make, which means more time in the sun and less in the kitchen. So grab your blanket, your lunch box and let’s go to the park!
5 Top San Francisco Picnic Spots
- Ladies Lunch: Alamo Square
This one is not a hidden gem, but it’s definitely one of my favorite spots to enjoy a healthy lunch with one of the most amazing views of San Francisco. The view of the old Painted Ladies in front of a breathtaking skyline is something no restaurant can offer. Luckily, Alamo Square is rarely crowded, so find a nice green spot and spread your blanket, or just sit on the green grass and soak in the the moment. If you haven’t prepared your own lunch, Bi-Rite Market is just around the corner on Divisadero with a delicious deli.
- Solo Mission: Corona Heights Park
On the west side of Corona Heights Park, there is one lonely bench under a pine tree overlooking Downtown, The Mission and Noe Valley. Peaceful and romantic, this is a great spot for a relaxed lunch or an evening snack with your bestie or darling. You can find this hidden spot by taking the steps up New Corona Heights Trail. You can’t miss it.
- Downtown Oasis: Yerba Buena Gardens
If you work downtown, step away from your desk and take your lunch to the Yerba Buena gardens. This green spot, surrounded by sky-high buildings, is the perfect place to refuel your energy and escape from busy meetings and the city bustle.
- Hidden Gem: Creek at the Presidio
San Francisco’s parks tend to be pretty crowded on the weekends, but not this one in Presidio Park. Just across the street from the Palace of Fine Arts, you’ll find a small park with a creek, lush green mini-hills and a pond. You probably won’t find quieter place to read a good book and snack on some homemade bites on a weekend.
- Walk and Watch: Dolores Park
If you’re looking for a lot of activity and great people watching while enjoying some munchies, Dolores Park is the place for you. With an eclectic mix of music, sports, fun and artists, Dolores Park is the real spirit of San Francisco. Hippies and hipsters, everyone is welcome. And if you snag a spot on top of the hill, you will also get an amazing view.
Soba Noodle Salmon Salad with Yogurt Dill Dressing
6.2 oz uncooked soba noodles
8-oz salmon filet with skin
3 Tbsp oil
4 Tbsp Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic
3 dill sprigs
Good pinch salt
Good pinch grounded pepper
Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the soba noodles according the package instructions. They only have to cook for about 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Place the salmon skin down in the pan and cook until salmon is done. About 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and cut the avocado into small squares. Wash and mince the dill. Peel the garlic and crush it with a garlic press.
In a large bowl, add and combine together yogurt, avocado, dill, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir well.
Add the soba noodles and mix all together so the noodles are covered with the dressing.
When salmon is done, use a fork to chop it into pieces. Gently fold salmon into the noodles, and your lunch is ready to go! Enjoy!