San Francisco is known for our famously chilly weather, but is luckily also home to some world-class saunas and spas. From Finland to Mexico, saunas have been used for thousands of years. Beloved for their health and therapeutic benefits, especially popular in colder climates. Whether you’re looking for a quiet spa day by yourself or to sweat it out with the whole squad, there’s a sauna for every occasion.
Archimedes is a traditional Russian spa that draws influence from around the globe, creating something truly unique. Most of the complex is co-ed and clothing optional, so expect to see some skin even if you opt to leave your bathing suit on. It’s a communal environment where conversations are frequent, so don’t be afraid to bring a few friends. When you need a break from the heat, visit their rooftop patio that overlooks the bay and an on-site bar and restaurant, specializing in Russian treats like borscht, pierogies and plenty of smoked fish. If you’re feeling brave, take a trip to the two-story ‘Russian’ sauna, which reaches 190F, for a Venik Platza treatment. During this traditional massage, you’ll be rhythmically swatted and massaged with aromatic bundles of wet leaves, exposing your body to intense heat, before a refreshing plunge in an ice cold pool. A unique and unforgettable experience.
Location: 748 Innes Ave, San Francisco
Compared to more traditional spas, Reboot feels like something out of a science fiction movie. An infrared sauna offers penetrating heat that triggers the release of stored toxins, while cryotherapy lowers inflammation and boosts mood using gasified nitrogen at a crisp -220F. They also offer float therapy, where you climb into a private pod filled with body-temp water and 1,000lbs of epsom salt that allows your body to float like a cork. The result is a silent, dark and pleasantly warm environment that allows your body and mind to fully relax. As they put it “you’ll lose track of where your body ends and the water begins.”
- 810 Valencia St., San Francisco
- 1912 Lombard St., San Francisco
- 6239 College Ave, Oakland
Kabuki Springs has been an SF institution for the past 50 years, nestled in the center of Japantown. This traditional Japanese spa is an oasis from the outside world with soft ambient music, low lighting and a strict no talking policy. You’ll find sliced cucumbers for your eyes, salt scrubs, cool face towels and ample chaise longue to recline on. With a spacious dry sauna, steam room, cold plunge and hot pool, it checks all the boxes for a day of self-care. Tuesday is the only co-ed day with bathing suits required. Every other day is split evenly between men-only and women-only days, where clothing is optional.
Location: 1750 Geary Blvd, San Francisco
This East Bay Oasis offers several private saunas and open-air hot tubs to rent for yourself or a small group. The very best move is to book the Combination Room, which includes a deep redwood hot tub and private sauna to move between at your leisure. Your private zone offers high walls and an open roof, so that you can gaze up at the stars and enjoy the cool night air between the soak and the sauna.
Location: 3939 Piedmont Ave, Oakland
5. Good Hot
Located on the shores of SF bay in Richmond, CA, Good Hot has quickly become one of most sought after sauna experiences in the Bay Area. Beautiful and unique wood saunas are modern and minimal, allowing you to sweat in style between refreshing dips in the bay, an important counterbalance to the intense heat of the sauna. It’s a great activity for a day-trip from the city and a beautiful venue to connect with friends, nature and a little detox. Good Hot is a worker-owned cooperative, with a strong focus on inclusion, especially in LGBTQIA+ causes, racial justice and diversity of abilities. They’re walking the talk and have created and maintained a safe space for everyone in need of a good sauna and a breathtaking view. Each sauna is available for private or small-group rental.
Location: 1950 Stenmark Dr, Richmond
Featured Image: Dimik_777 on Shutterstock