Whether you’re a student looking for somewhere to crank out an essay, or you work from home and want a change of scenery, here are some great spots to visit and focus up.
If you work best in a quiet, studious area, these libraries might be for you. They all have public wifi and access to printers, scanners, fax machines, and copy machines. They also have an interlibrary book request system, so if you can’t find a specific volume at one library, you can request it from another one. You’ll need to make an account and get a library card to access the computers. SFPL has reinstated full in-person service at most of their branches, with more openings expected this month.
1. San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) Main Library
The Main Library of San Francisco Public Library is a beautiful building with 4 floors of resources. You can rent out a study room or meeting room, or simply set up shop at an available table among the bookshelves. The Poet’s Cafe on the lower level has a full coffee bar and snacks if you need a pick-me-up.
Location: 100 Larkin Street (enter via Grove Street)
2. SFPL Sunset Branch
This smaller library branch is one of the most highly-rated SFPL branches on Yelp. It’s located in a beautiful historic building, and is home to a large collection of Chinese-language materials.
Location: 1305 18th Ave
3. SFPL Bernal Heights Branch
This library in Bernal Heights has large tables to spread out your study materials, and boasts a pretty solid collection of Spanish language materials. Be sure to check out their monthly programming, which includes an open watercolor studio, an origami club, and a 22-year-old book club.
Location: 500 Cortland Ave
4. SFPL Presidio Branch
The Presidio Branch of SFPL is a clean, peaceful place to get work done. They have excellent customer service, a decent amount of outlets, public wifi, several big couches, and some long tables to work at.
Location: 3150 Sacramento St
Cafes and bars
If you prefer to work in a busier environment with easy access to coffee and snacks, these cafes recommended by locals are worth a visit.
This edgy spot is great for their all-day happy hour, which is 11:30am to 6pm Monday-Friday for when you have a light work day. You can bring your laptop and get some work done during the day while sipping a beer, or come in the evening for a fun atmosphere and fresh air on their Covid-compliant patio. The once-communal picnic tables are now separated into “booths” with plexiglass barriers, but the good vibes haven’t gone anywhere! Choose from their impressive lineup on 64 taps, or try their famous margaritas and Bloody Marys.
Location: 199 Valencia St
6. Daily Driver
This bagel shop in the Dogpatch is set up with plenty of seating across 2 floors. There’s a decent amount of table space and the open floor plan gives good breathing room between groups. The organic, wood-fired bagels are delicious! You can also find them at the Ferry Building.
Location: 2535 3rd St
7. Progressive Grounds
This popular cafe has good table space both indoors and outdoors to get work done, plus wifi and a lovely ambience. Their Moroccan-inspired food menu features delicious grilled lavash wraps, but you can also get a classic egg bagel or croissant.
Location: 400 Cortland Ave
Places with a catch:
These last few places are excellent work/study areas, but they all come with a catch, whether it’s a membership fee or wifi access. Read on to see if they’re right for you.
8. Salesforce Tower WeWork
Here’s the catch: The work spaces are only available if you pay for a day pass or a monthly subscription.
The WeWork at Salesforce Tower is absolutely beautiful, but it’s definitely in an elite league of San Franciscco work spaces. WeWork is a large network of flexible workspaces around the world, and if you open a membership for yourself or your team, it has excellent resources designed to be customizable for groups. Learn about the different membership and workspace options here.
Location: 415 Mission St
9. SFSU J. Paul Leonard Library
Here’s the catch: Wifi is only available for students.
This library at SFSU is must for many students, but it is open to the public as well. The catch is that university wifi is only available for students, so if you don’t have that access, it’s still a good spot to get reading and other types of work done. At the moment, summer hours are limited, so check back to updates to their fall hours as school gets back in session.
Location: 1630 Holloway Ave
10. Mechanics’ Institute Library and Chess Room
Here’s the catch: Must be a member or purchase a pass.
This beautiful building is home to San Francisco’s most avid chess fans, but it’s also a great place to work if you’re willing to purchase a pass or become a member. Membership costs $120 per year, but students can get a discount at $65 per year. There is a day pass available for $15 and a week pass for $45. If you want to walk around and get a feel for the space before committing to anything, you can grab a 15-minute visitor’s pass from the security desk or join the free tour on Wednesdays at noon.
Location: 57 Post St
Featured image: yhelfman via Shutterstock