The San Francisco Wellness Guide
San Francisco has been a long-time pioneer in the world of health and wellness, putting many a food trend on the map before it ever went mainstream. It doesn’t hurt that the city is surrounded by some of the country’s best surf breaks and hiking.
In honor of our San Francisco goop MRKT, we put together a list of the city’s best healers, facialists, bodyworkers, and restaurants.
Coastal Trail Presidio ParkBaker Beach, Presidio
The California Coastal trail is actually one giant mega-trail connecting Mexico to Oregon. For this segment in the Presidio (the park and former army base that make up a protected area around the Southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge), you'll walk a 2-3 mile stretch from Baker Beach to the Golden Gate Bridge along the rocky coastline. With views of the bay throughout, it's a gorgeous way to approach the bridge; plus, it's much less touristy than the other walking approach, which starts in Fisherman's Wharf. This route is a great little hike for wearing out the kids, and the Presidio offers a lot of other side trails, too, if you're hoping to string together a longer morning run.
BolinasBolinas Lagoon, Bolinas
About a 40-minute drive up Route 1, Bolinas is one of the best longboarding beaches in the area, with a long, relaxed wave that you can ride for ages. The town has a '60s-style hippie vibe—the beach has an old sign announcing naked surfers, though the waters here are way too cold to surf without a wetsuit, no matter what time of year it is. Speaking of, 2 Mile surf shop in town has great rentals and lessons for first-timers.
Lifted600 14th St., Duboce Triangle | 415.570.9887
The concept behind Ryan Allen’s 90-minute strength training class is brilliant in its simplicity: Small group strength training (no more than six people per session) means you get a ton of personal attention and the instructors can customize each individual exercise on the spot; the fifteen-minute cool-down includes a guided meditation to cement the mind-body connection.
Maiden Lane Studios80 Maiden Ln., Union Square | 415.274.9940
While we're partial to this airy space because it’s set up mere steps from our San Francisco goop MRKT, the semi-private, private, and group class menu, which ranges from Pilates to barre to yoga, really is one of the best in town. They also offer one-on-one fascial stretch therapy—pretty game changing for anyone discovering the joys of fascia.
Muir BeachHighway 1, Marin | 415.388.2596
Just across Highway 101 and over the Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Beach is an easy (but still totally idyllic) day trip from the city. The beach itself is a classic Northern California cove, with tall rocks and green hills on either side and boulders jutting up from the shallows—the surrounding area is home to plenty of wildlife, too. In the colder months, take the long pedestrian trail from the parking lot to the coastal trail and hike along the cliffs, which offer gorgeous views of the beachfront; be sure to pack layers, as winds can get cold. In the warmer months, it's perfect for sunbathing, and there's even a clothing-optional sunbathing and skinny dipping area past the line of rocks on the northernmost end of the beach. Afterwards, grab lunch at the Pelican Inn, a traditional English-style pub in the tiny nearby town.
Pacifica State BeachLinda Mar Beach, Pacifica
The great thing about Linda Mar is that it's the kind of place that's good for beginners and advanced surfers alike—the waves on the South end of the beach are mellow and beginner-friendly, and they increase in size as you move north. The town itself is a short drive south of the city (on the way to Silicon Valley), and the beach is famously home to a Taco Bell with a hilariously good location right on the sand. We like Norcal Surf Shop for rentals and lessons, but no judgment if you just want to relax on the beach with a Crunchwrap Supreme.
Tennessee ValleyTennessee Valley Rd., Sausalito | 415.331.1540
The Tennessee Valley is in the same direction as Muir Beach (over the Golden Gate bridge and along Highway 101), and its' encyclopedic list of hiking trails is another excellent way to explore the Golden Gate Recreation area. Advanced hikers can explore the hills around the valley while beginners and families can take the almost two-mile trek to a little cove—locals know it's best to time a hike with the low tide when you can actually see the shipwrecked engine of the SS Tennessee, which sunk near the beach in 1853. In the spring, the valley is home to gorgeous wildflowers, including buttercups and poppies, and in the summer and through early fall you can find fruit on the blackberry bushes. Remember: No dogs allowed.
Yoga Tree182 6th Ave., Richmond | 415.752.4707
Husband-and-wife duo Tim and Tara Dale co-founded the original Yoga Tree studio in 1999, and over the years have fully refined the offering—you'll hear modern playlists just as often as traditional Indian music, and there's a range of teaching styles on the menu, including Kundalini, Vinyasa, Hatha, and more. The studio also has a robust workshop and retreat program, plus well-respected teacher training for those who want to take their practice to the next level.
Point ReyesMarin | 415.464.5100
About an hour and a half north of San Francisco proper, Point Reyes is a popular day trip for great hiking and sea kayaking (there's also good camping here, though campsites can only be reached by foot so it's best to steer clear unless you have some backpacking experience). The park is famous for its historic lighthouse, which also happens to be an excellent place to whale watch and see elephant seals in the summer months. Point Reyes is home to some of the area's best hiking—we like to send first-timers to the Bear Valley Visitor Center, where you can find an education center and plenty of rangers to fill you in on interesting facts and help you get your bearings when it comes to the many hiking trails that leave from that point. History geeks might want to take a detour near the town of Inverness on the way up, where you can explore the beached remains of the SS Point Reyes, which shipwrecked in Tamale Bay more than 100 years ago. Remember to bring some cash to cover entrance fees.
Salt327 Divisadero St., NoPa | 415 529.2721
This local spot for full-body workouts offers intense choreographed classes. Their session roster has a little bit of everything: ballet barre with kickboxing and isometric strength exercises, conditioning with resistance bands and sandbags, a 60-minute prenatal "Salt Bump" cardio class, etc. You can pay per class, purchase a class pack (5, 10, 20 sessions), or sign up for a longer commitment—they have a discounted trial package for newcomers that's a nice option.
Pilates Proworks563 Commercial St., Financial District | 415.795.1893
Oscar Sanin began his pilates practice as a way to heal his body from injuries sustained from a serious accident. In 2010, he founded Pilates Proworks along with his wife, Taylor Carter. They offer mat and reformer pilates classes, which use Proworks' own custom designed reformer machine, TheFitFormer, for seamless transitions during class sessions. They also have a handful of classes that mix pilates with other workout traditions and routines. Their matBox class combines mat pilates with kickboxing and yoga; another class combines pilates with barre. Proworks also has pre-natal and mommy-and-me classes, as well as a second location in the Marina.
the COMPANY386 Moraga Ave., Main Post | 415.683.6832
Dance meets barre meets cardio at the COMPANY, which offers four weekly classes (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday). Their barre-focused class is 45 minutes long and combines elements of low-impact dance with body sculpting exercises, all set to music. COMPANY's other music-driven class is 60 minutes long and a mix of dance and high intensity cardio. Their studio is an awesome, bright, open, airy space in Presidio—but note that Sunday's class is currently held at Sweat Republic.