Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family and copious amounts of food and drink. If you find yourself dodging holiday travel to stay local, we have some great ideas on ways to rediscover your town, and if you do it on foot, you’ll be able to burn off some of those Thanksgiving calories.
Explore the roads of San Francisco and beyond. Try an urban bike path through San Francisco called The Wiggle, it’s undoubtedly one of the most well-known routes in the city. And if you’re looking for some reflection time, a great solo-ride option is Hawk Hill just over the Bridge into the Marin Headlands.
Flower Power in Golden Gate Park
San Francisco’s Botanical Garden offers 55-acres with 8,000 different kinds of plants and flowers. Typically, there’s an $8 fee; however, on Thanksgiving admission is FREE, so make sure to take advantage of the lack of crowds and take your time exploring and taking in the sites and scents! Fun fact: The garden’s famous magnolias have just started blooming.
Soothing Sound of the Waves
Built in 1986, The Wave Organ has become a San Francisco landmark. The wave-activated acoustic sculpture is made up of 25 organ pipes built at various elevations, allowing for the rise and fall of the tide. The musical sound is created by the impact of waves against the pipes. Pro-tip: head to the Wave Organ during sunset, before dinner, for some of the most magical views in the city.
Take a leisurely stroll from the Wave Organ to Balboa Cafe in the Marina for a warming cocktail. Balboa’s famous holiday cocktails launch Thanksgiving and run through January 1st. Classics include Hot Buttered Rum, an Egg Nog Cocktail, Hot Toddy, Mulled Wine, and the Hot Nutty Irishman.
Remember all those times you told yourself you really need to check out the new SFMOMA or wouldn’t it be great to hike Lands End and then top it off with a visit to the Legion of Honor?? San Francisco has so many great museums and what better weekend to visit than Thanksgiving when the city has emptied out or is concentrated in Union Square for Black Friday. Here are some of our favorites: SFMOMA, Legion of Honor, de Young, Asian Art Museum and for the kid in all of us, The Walt Disney Museum in the Presidio (check website for hours).
Clean Food Inspiration
Let’s be honest, the days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s are filled with rich food and lots of it, plus many celebratory cocktails. There are holiday parties, office parties, gift-exchange brunches, happy hours and more. Get yourself to one of the many Farmer’s Markets San Francisco on the weekend after Thanksgiving and indulge in all of the cleansing winter fruits and vegetables to help give your body a rest before the marathon eating season begins in December.
The Bay Area is filled with so many holiday shopping options outside of the mainstream malls and busy Union Square. Support Small Business Saturday and do your holiday shopping at the many small shops and boutiques that are the backbone of our city’s neighborhoods. May we suggest skipping the big wine and spirits retailers, as well, for the smaller shops like PlumpJack Wine & Spirits in the Marina and Noe Valley?
Get out there and take advantage of your city, and if you’re visiting the Bay Area over Thanksgiving weekend, you’re smart, it’s one of the best times to visit. Cheers!