Caloric Blast Seeks Feast for Eyes

Never does a gym membership look so unappealing as when the winter rains subside, temperatures pull out of the low 40s, and the sun comes out to play. A gorgeous day in San Francisco offers a multitude of options for how one can spend the day… brunching on an outdoor patio, picnicing at the beach, playing a round of frisbee-golf in Golden Gate park (or not), walking the shops that line Union and Chestnut streets, sunbathing in Dolores Park… you get the idea, the list goes on.

But when fitness is on the agenda, the city magically transforms into your very own treadmill-stairmaster combo of awesomeness… and, most will agree, a much better view than watching beaded sweat fall from the some kid at the gym attempting to lift twice his body weight ten feet to close to you.

This weekend, I set out from my apartment in Nob Hill and took a stroll to the Golden Gate Bridge. A little over 7 miles in all, this gorgeous stroll satisfied my visual appetite (starved from weeks of rain and near-freezing temps, no doubt you understand), and burned just over 900 calories in two and a half hours. If you’re looking for a new route, I’ve included detailed directions below… complete with places to rest heels and fill tummies along the way.

7 Mile Marina Jaunt

Sizing It Up

  • Level of Difficulty: Easy… it’s all about endurance, baby.
  • Time Warp: 2 hr 30 min
  • Feel the Burn: ~900 calories
  • Essential Accessories: sunscreen, layers, water bottle, comfortable shoes
  • Neighborhoods Hit: Polk Gulch, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Wharf, Marina, Cow Hollow

Setting Out: Streetside to Beachside in 20 Minutes

  1. Head North on Hyde to Beach Street — Along the way, stop for coffee and a breakfast burrito at Nook or try the hipster-approved fresh roasted drip at Contraband; keep your head craned to the East for views of Coit Tower and all things North Beach once you cross Union Street and move into the Russian Hill area. Stop for a quick walk down San Francisco’s memory lane and visit the Balclutha and other historic shipping vessels on Hyde Street Pier at Beach Street.
  2. Beach Street through Aquatic Park to Fort Mason — Heading West on Beach Street through the Aquatic and Maritime National Historic Park area, admire views of Alcatraz island and groups of brave souls swimming in the bay; old men passing the day playing bocce ball; and the view of Fort Mason as you wrap around the edge of San Francisco on your trek to the Marina. Stop for a picnic lunch at the Safeway on Laguna Street and Marina Blvd. before continuing to the Golden Gate Bridge.
  3. Fort Mason down Marina Blvd. — From the base of Fort Mason, hop onto Marina Blvd. for a 4 mile stretch along the bay to the bridge. Prepare to experience some serious house and boat envy while admiring kite flying, t-ball lessons, dog parks, and volunteers keeping the beach clean. Along the way you’ll see unbelievable views innumerable spots for that picnic lunch, so be patient and choose wisely, although… honestly, there really isn’t a bad choice.

Closing the Loop: the Marina and Cow Hollow Shopping Districts

Instead of retracing your steps, veer off of Marina Blvd. to experience luxuries offered by the Marina and Cow-Hollow district shopping promenades. From Marina Blvd., head up Divisidero Street and marvel at the gorgeous houses until you hit Chestnut Street. Hang a left and you’ll find yourself in the heart of the Marina’s main shopping district.

At Chestnut and Fillmore Street, turn right and follow Fillmore to Union Street for the boutiques of Cow Hollow. Union Street will take you back to Polk and, after a stroll past Cole Hardware, Russian Hill Books, and Miller’s Deli (you know, just in case you’re still hungry… like I was), you’ll find yourself home at the intersection of Polk and California Street. Better for the ware, no doubt.

Important Readers’ Note: calories consumed while standing, walking, basically doing anything active, don’t count. It’s a scientific fact. Swear…

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