Calling all San Franciscans who want to enjoy a little me time! Whether you simply prefer going solo, or you need some time to be with yourself, there are plenty of things to do alone in San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area. Take this as your friendly reminder to get out of the house and try something new–you may just find an awesome new hobby or escape. Thanks to our Instagram followers who gave us some great ideas to fill out this list. Read on for the best places to be a party of one in San Francisco.
Table Of Contents
Shopping alone in San Francisco
1. Discover a new vintage shop
Vintage clothing is always in. Whether you’re trying to channel the bright ’80s vibe, nail that ’60s Summer of Love look, or want to step into a hip speakeasy in your best ’20s flapper dress, San Francisco has a vintage clothing store for that.
2. Find your next plant children at an SF nursery
San Francisco is full of countless awesome plant stores and nurseries, and no matter who you are, you can surely appreciate the life and energy that these little green friends bring into your home. Below are some favorites but check out our plant store roundup for more.
- Arcana – also a wine bar, tea shop, you name it
- Succulence – check out their planting bar
- Flora Grubb Gardens
3. Take a lap around the Ferry Building
Every San Franciscan knows that the historic Ferry Building is home to dozens of exciting vendors and events. Here are some of our favorites:
4. Pick up a great read at a local bookstore
Many a San Franciscan loves to curl up with a good book and sip on a cup o’ joe from one of SF’s legendary coffee shops. Not sure where to find your next good read? These famous bookstores around the city are musts for any local bookworm.
5. Cruise around one of SF’s bustling open-air markets
These open-air markets in San Francisco showcase a diverse range of artists, makers, farmers, and other types of vendors. Whether you’re looking for a nice weekend farmers market to pick up some local produce, or a craft market to buy a unique gift, we’re sure these local open-air markets will put you in touch with the best SF has to offer.
Exploring alone in San Francisco
6. Expand your mind at one of SF’s many museums
Here in the Bay Area we’re undeniably lucky to have a wealth of resources in the worlds of art, culture, science, and technology. Here we’ve rounded up the most essential San Francisco museums that you’ve got to visit at least once, from SFMOMA to the Academy of Sciences.
- de Young Museum
- SFMOMA: Make sure you see Olafur Eliasson’s One-Way Colour Tunnel.
- Museum of the African Diaspora
- Free admission days: Many museums and gardens in SF offer free or reduced admission. You just have to know when to go!
7. Immerse yourself in a beautiful San Francisco garden
San Francisco is home to plenty of memorable gardens, but the most unique ones can take some digging to find. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of interesting and unforgettable spots for you to get a breath of fresh air.
- SF Botanical Garden: Make sure to visit its rare albino redwood tree!
- Japanese Tea Garden: Check it out during cherry blossom season.
- Unique gardens: Favorites include the Fragrance Garden and the Shakespeare Garden.
8. People-watch at a gorgeous public park
- Golden Gate Park: Some of our favorite spots include the Dahlia garden (June-September), the tulip grove (March-April), the bison herd, and the John McLaren statue.
- Presidio: Amazing hidden gems include Andy Goldsworthy’s famous sculptures and hidden lookouts. You can also check out kite surfing at Crissy Field Beach April-September.
- Salesforce Park: Look for free activities every single week including exercise classes, musical performances, garden tours, and so much more.
9. Sign up for a class at SF’s best pottery studios
Calling all creatives! These wonderful pottery studios in San Francisco are great for taking all-levels classes, perfecting your technique, or dropping into open studio hours. Check out a range of options including wheel-throwing, hand-building, project-based workshops, or group and team building.
10. Seek out some awesome ocean views
- Our favorite beaches: From Ocean Beach to Fort Funston, SF beaches are on another level.
- Waterfront restaurants: Enjoy a solo meal or cocktail and watch the waves at one of these local restaurants.
- Golden Gate Bridge: See it on foot or on a bike and try to spot some harbor porpoises while you’re at it.
- Go at sunset: Any ocean view goes up a couple notches with a sunset! Our list of sunset viewing spots has a few to get you started, such as Lands End, Baker Beach, and Muir Beach Overlook.
- Elephant seals: The best time for elephant seal viewing is from January-March during pupping season.
11. Find a new perspective on a city tour
- Fort Point Candlelight Tour: A unique night tour of Fort Point National Historic Site.
- Self-guided light art tour: 11 of the best light art installations in the city, reaching from the Bay Bridge to the Castro.
- SF Ghost Hunt: You’ll see the haunted trees of abolitionist Mary Ellen Pleasant, learn about the Chambers Mansion poltergeists, and more
- Outdoor spots for history lovers: Our roundup of outdoor spots for history lovers isn’t technically a tour, but save the map so you can check these places out when you’re in the neighborhood.
12. Explore SF’s eclectic public art scene
- Staircases: Favorites include the Hidden Garden Steps, Lyon Street Steps, and the Lincoln Park Steps.
- Mural collections:: Favorites include Balmy Alley and Umbrella Alley.
- Lesser known public art: Favorites include the Yoda fountain, the Venus statue, Drawn Stone, and the Harry Potter Door.
Exercising alone in San Francisco
13. Find your zen at an unconventional yoga class
- Yoga in the Garden at SF Botanical Garden: First Thursday of the month at 12pm
- Yoga on the Labyrinth at Grace Cathedral: every Tuesday evening from 6:15-7:30pm
14. Go for a relaxing bike ride
There are some very beautiful spots to take your bike for a spin, and the City has some stellar infrastructure for cyclists. Especially if you’re a first-time cyclist in the City, consider planning your next outing at these beautiful routes.
15. Enjoy a brisk walk through SF’s most iconic neighborhoods
Take this as your friendly reminder to get your steps in! Whether you need a new dog walking route or just need to clear your head, these places around the city will get the job done.
- Bernal Heights
- Pac Heights
- McLaren Park
- And more
16. Step it up a little on a local hike
Whether you’re looking for a quick stroll in the city or a more strenuous day hike in Marin, you’ll love these incredible hikes for a chance to stretch your legs.
Restaurants and bars to try alone in San Francisco
17. Treat yourself at one of the Bay Area’s most Instagrammable cafes
It’s not so hard to inject a dose of luxury into your coffee routine! These cafes around the Bay Area are great for delicious drinks and breakfast/brunch fare, but they especially stand out for their unique, eye-catching design elements. Whether you want an over-the-top garden oasis or an upscale minimalist space, these 10 cafes around the Bay are not to be missed.
18. Taste something new from one of the city’s beloved bakeries
San Franciscans with a sweet tooth have it easy in this glorious city, because SF bakeries absolutely do not mess around. We’re talking enormous flaky croissants, meticulously decorated cakes, buttery danishes, sweet and simple tarts, savory empanadas, SF-style sourdough bread, and basically anything else you can imagine.
19. Savor a massive ice cream treat
It’s hard to go wrong with ice cream, but there are a few places where you can certainly go right. Some of our favorites are below, but be sure to check our ice cream roundup.
20. Grab some food to go and enjoy a charming picnic with yourself
Whether you want to support a local cafe and get some amazing food to go, or you prefer to pack your own delicious recipe to enjoy out in the sunshine, you’ll love all of these great picnic spots around the city.
- Old Speedway Meadow
- Pine Lake Park
- Palace of Fine Arts
- And more