Fun places to stroll around SF on Thanksgiving weekend


Sometimes a long holiday weekend with friends, family, and feasting can become too much of too many good things.

What to do when the stomach and the house are too full? Go outside! Fresh air and scenery can relieve stress and get your metabolism going again.

Got people in town who aren’t used to the hills of SF? Set off on one of these eight hiking trails on flat, easy terrain found throughout the city.

8 Flat and Easy Places to Walk in San Francisco

The SF Turkey Trot is a Golden Gate Park tradition, held at the park’s polo fields. On the race’s Thanksgiving “menu” are a timed 5-mile trail run, a 3-mile untimed walk, and a kids’ “Gobbler Chase” that’s just 100 meters long. No runner? Join the spectators seated on the sidelines and watch the fun. It’s a great way to spend the morning before filling your plate.

The turkey trot in Golden Gate Park is a San Francisco Thanksgiving tradition. | Alexandra Kenin

Glen Canyon Park is one of the best places in town to feel like you are Not In the city. This 66.6-acre gorge has two flat, wide dirt tracks that run on either side of Islais Creek. The more adventurous can head to the upper trails for a close-up look at the rock formations. Coming from Glen Park BART, take the Glen Park Greenway and don’t miss the newly painted Burnside Stairway.

The JFK Boardwalk is a 1.5-mile paved street in Golden Gate Park that has now been fully opened to pedestrians and cyclists following the recent election. Along the promenade, walkers, bikers and skaters pass the Doggie Diner heads, various art projects, food trucks, live music and even a beer garden.

Artworks line JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park, now that it will be permanently car-free. | Alexandra Kenin

Stow Lake is a micro-adventure in Golden Gate Park. Walk around the flat, cobbled path that circles the lake, or use one of the two bridges to go up Strawberry Hill, where you can circle the island on a dirt track. Those with extra energy can climb to the top of the hill to reach the park’s highest point — and those who want to skip the walk altogether can rent a rowboat or pedal boat and float the route.

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Like the JFK boardwalk in Golden Gate Park, SF voted to keep portions of the Great Highway closed to cars at all times and open only to cyclists and pedestrians. Drive to the Great Highway between Lincoln Way and Skyline Boulevard to enjoy 17 acres, 2 miles of open space that is flat and paved for a scenic drive on a clear day.

Now that SF voters passed a measure to keep a portion of the Great Highway car-free, the area is a great hiking, biking, and skating destination. | Alexandra Kenin

The Presidio Promenade is a 2.1-mile walking trail that takes you from the Presidio Main Post to the Golden Gate Bridge. On your way you will see the San Francisco National Cemetery, the old Cavalry Stables, Crissy Field from above and of course the bridge. But you might get no further than the new Parks Tunnel Tops and Battery Bluff, which greet you at the beginning of the trail. The path up to the bridge has a few meters in altitude, but it is paved, so that families with prams or wheelchairs can also have fun on it. And of course, prepare to walk 4+ miles if you plan to do a round trip.

The Presidio Promenade walking trail offers excellent views of Crissy Field and downtown. | Alexandra Kenin

This classic San Francisco walk with views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the bay never disappoints. Begin your walk at Crissy Field East Beach or west of Crissy Field Marsh and turn back at Fort Point or anywhere before. If it’s a cold day, treat yourself to hot chocolate in the Warming Hut.

Salesforce Park brings some much-needed green space to downtown San Francisco. This 12-acre, 4-block rooftop park is reminiscent of New York’s High Line. Sitting four stories above the busy city streets, the park is laid out with 600 trees and 16,000 plants in 13 mini botanical gardens that shimmer in the reflection of the surrounding office towers.

Salesforce Park is an urban oasis south of Market. | Alexandra Kenin


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