You’ve been to the Ferry Building, ridden a Cable Car, and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, and you’re looking to spend a day getting to know San Francisco a little better: Head to Outer Sunset.
The Westernmost parts of San Francisco are often foggy and windswept, but on the day we visited last weekend, the sun was out! Either way, the Outer Sunset and its bordering beaches and parks are some of the most beautiful spots to spend a low-key day in the city.
Aron used to live in the Outer Sunset, and I confess I wasn’t always a fan when I’d come to stay with him and his roommates: that cold fog could really get you down if you let it. But now, as a visitor, I’m much more keen on appreciating that fresh ocean air.
It’s a quick drive from the Golden Gate if you’re on that side of town, and it’s a great place for families. Residents are friendly and welcoming—the laid-back surfer vibe is strong here; parking is relatively easy to come by; and kids will love riding the N Judah train—which runs the length of neighborhood and connects with other lines—straight out to the beach.
We were taking the Quinny Yezz stroller on a test spin and we loved using it here—it’s super-light, folds up easily, and is highly maneuverable—so it made getting around simple.
Our first order of business was to get on the list at Outerlands for brunch, which—particularly on Sundays—can have extremely long waits. The trick is to show up before they open (we got there 15-20 minutes early) and write your name down on the clipboard. Otherwise, just enjoy the wait because there’s so much great stuff in that little block of Judah street to look at—and you can quell your caffeine craving at Trouble Coffee just a few doors down.
4033 Judah St.
A serious coffee spot with a cult following, Trouble is possibly the epicenter of the whole toast craze. Order the “Build Your Own Damn House”―a whole young coconut, a cup of the house blend, and a thick piece of cinnamon toast (that Aron is still talking about)—and grab a spot on the parklet out front. Bonus: they gave the kids very cool shark stickers.
4001 Judah St.
Dave Muller’s and Lana Porcello’s driftwood-filled, homey restaurant has practically reached pilgrimage status. They’ve expanded the once-8-table restaurant into the space next door and serve weekend brunch, as well and lunch and dinner on weekdays. Everything is delicious, but we especially loved these eggs-in-jail. On a foggy, cold day you might want to add a cup of cider, possibly spiked with bourbon.
Case For Making
4037 Judah St.
We picked up a coloring book and some pencils at this creative supply shop (that specializes in holding process-based workshops) before breakfast, but ended up saving them for Hudson’s birthday.
The General Store
4035 Judah St.
A perfectly curated selection of California-Modern goods. There’s a lot to tempt little fingers in there, so Aron and the kids hung out in the back garden (with its big, communal table and sweet little greenhouse) while I browsed coffee table books and beautiful housewares. You’ll want everything. (Or, actually, maybe you’ll be inspired by the bohemian-aesthetic to want less.)
3 Fish Studios
4541 Irving St.
A husband and wife printmaking and painting team operates a shop and collaborative workspace out of this light-filled studio on Irving. You’ll no doubt recognize some of the prints from shops around town. It’s a lovely spot to pick up a souvenir and chat with the owners about the neighborhood—and maybe sign up for a class.
4500 Irving Street
Remember that gorgeous surfing lookbook I shared a while back? Mollusk is a local surfing institution that was started by Johanna St. Clair and her husband, John McCambridge. You’ll find boards and wetsuits, but also other great apparel—most locally designed, most ’60s inspired—and a rotating art show. I picked up a swim cover-up that I ended up wearing for Hudson’s birthday party.
Devil’s Teeth Baking Company
3876 Noriega St.
We saw folks enjoying plenty of mouth-watering, savory sandwiches on this spot’s parklet, but we left with bags of sweets. On Sundays, you can get made-to-order beignets (doughnuts doused in powdered sugar), so we couldn’t resist. But even better was the giant cinnamon roll and the doughnut muffin. Hudson was a fan of their frosted shark cookie.
Polly Ann Ice Cream
3138 Noriega St.
The ice cream list at this decades-old shop reflects the Asian-influence of the once mostly Chinese-American neighborhood with flavors like sesame seed, durian, and lychee—and some really good green tea. Hudson is a chocolate kid, however, through-and-through.
Finally, a trip to the Outer Sunset isn’t complete without a stop at Ocean Beach. We folded up the Quinny Yezz and hurried over the hot dunes, headed for the surf.
It’s rarely as warm and sunny as it was on this particular day, but there’s almost always enough wind for a kite! We hand-carried this pirate ship back from Bali nearly three years ago but this was its maiden voyage! We discovered that cool kites rank up there with puppies for making new friends.
From there the possibilities are endless. You’re close to Golden Gate park and some fantastic dumpling houses. Or you can drive up the coast to Lands End, for views of the Sutro baths and the Golden Gate Bridge.
I highly recommend spending a day in the Outer Sunset (even at its foggiest).
Tell me: what neighborhood gems have I missed?
Thank you to Quinny for sponsoring this guide and providing product. We used the Quinny Yezz all day and have been raving about it ever since. It’s great for tall guys like Aron but is still light and completely foldable (you can see it slung over my shoulder). It has earned itself a spot in our trunk because it takes up so little space. I would have loved having it when we lived in New York—or in our teeny-trunk when we were driving in Europe.