The Outer Sunset can feel like a little beach town nestled in San Francisco. This little corner of the city is full of artists, surfers, families, and countless other folks that felt the call of the sea. Whether you live there, wandered out to catch the sunset or you’re attending a summer festival in Golden Gate Park, here’s a handy guide to finding the hidden gems.
Breakfast and Coffee
There’s no shortage of great coffee in the neighborhood but the most popular is easily Andytown. Stop in for one of the famous Snowy Plovers, a creamy espresso soda, and one of their freshly baked scones before you head to the beach.
If you want to grab a quick bit before catching Muni, try a slice of focaccia toast and a cortado at DamnFine Coffee which offers limited indoor space but a spacious parklet to enjoy. If you’re on the hunt for a good book, check out Black Bird Bookstore and Cafe. Their back garden is a great place to enjoy a coffee and hide out from the fog.
For something a bit healthier, Judalicious specializes in raw and vegan bites, with a focus on fresh smoothies, juices, acai bowls, and other healthy treats.
For something a little heavier, Devil’s Teeth Baking Co. makes an extraordinary breakfast sandwich with their house-made biscuits. Expect a line but know that it’s worth the wait. If you want the full brunch experience Underdogs Too is a great choice. Their breakfast burritos and chilaquiles pair equally well with a cup of coffee or michelada, depending on your mood.
No trip to the neighborhood is complete without a stop at General Store, a shop that offers a curated selection of vintage and modern fashion and home goods with a focus on thoughtful, functional design. Next door you’ll find Case For Making, which is a charming art supply store that hand-makes its own watercolors and serves as a default community center for neighborhood artists.
Every seaside neighborhood needs a good surf shop and Mollusk is one of the best in SF. It’s a great place to pick up a new or used surfboard, wetsuit, and wax along with books, clothes, and other sundries. The shop is beautifully designed and worth a stop, even just to browse.
Tunnel Records is a great spot to score some new (and used) vinyl for your collection. They have a great collection of music alongside a curated collection of home goods and unique gifts that reflect the artistic beach town vibe perfectly.
Outerlands is an essential stop on your Outer Sunset journey. Grab a grilled cheese sandwich on house-made bread and early girl tomato soup. The restaurant feels like a modern beach shack with wood walls, rounded corners, and a grand driftwood sculpture above the bakery.
Palm City Wine specializes in creative and delicious hoagies, which pair beautifully with their abundant wine selection and airy interior.
If the seaside is making you crave a little seafood, Hook Fish Co. has you covered. Locally caught fish tacos and poke burritos are house favorites, as is their house carrot habanero salsa.
Public art and activities
On sunny days, Ocean Beach is an ideal spot to work on your tan, relax with friends, or go enjoy a day of surfing. The beach is massive, backed by picturesque sand dunes, and only gets crowded during a heat wave.
On foggy days when the beach is less appealing, Golden Gate Park offers ample opportunities to explore. There are two windmills, a herd of bison, a soccer field, a golf course, an outdoor archery range, and several playgrounds that are a short walk from the beach.
On an uncommonly warm night in the neighborhood, nothing beats a few tacos and a frozen margarita at Sunset Cantina. Snag an outdoor table and enjoy beautiful ocean views down Judah St, which is especially pretty at sunset.
If you’re in the mood for pizza, DamnFine makes some of the best wood-fired pizza in the area, and also features an excellent wine and cocktail menu.
For a late-night feast, Toyose is spot. This Korean restaurant serves tasty stews, noodles, and hot pots alongside Korean beer and soju.
If you’re feeling thirsty on Taraval Street Whitecap is a charming little cocktail bar with an indoor fireplace, a creative menu, and a great selection of spirits. Just down the street you’ll find an Outer Sunset legend, The Riptide. It’s a nice little dive bar with tons of live music and a good selection of draught beers.
On Judah Street, you’ll find Woods Outbound, with a selection of house-brewed beer, wine, cider, and a selection of empanadas from El Porteño. It’s a minimalist space with clean lines and a great vibe. If you’re looking to watch the game check out Pitts Pub is a classic dive bar with a pool table, a few pinball machines, plenty of barstools and a rotating selection of draught beers.
Featured image by Grant MacHamer