By Melanie Graysmith

San Francisco, with its mild weather, plentiful parks and open spaces is a stellar choice for picnics with family and friends for any occasion. A small picnic just requires finding the perfect available spot. Find San Francisco Parks picnic areas here; click the “Picnic Areas” box to highlight citywide picnic locations. But when planning a larger picnic the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department allows you to rent a right-sized spot to accommodate a party or event or large gathering, which makes enjoying the picnic practically a done deal. There are site fees for events requiring music and sound equipment set up, food trucks, cooking, tents, and more. Check the SFR&P Picnic Area Rental page here for full details and to get started.

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Golden Gate Park
501 Stanyan St.
San Francisco, CA 94117

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco’s largest and most well-known park, is a gem for its abundant hiking and biking trails, floral areas, museums, cultural sites, dog parks, and a multitude of yearly events. Locals and tourists enjoy the park’s many picnic area options, such as Hellman Hollow, below. Check for all of the park’s picnic sites at the Golden Gate Park picnic area map, here.

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Hellman Hollow
50 Overlook Drive
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 831-2700

Hellman Hollow Meadow is a lovely green space with pretty vistas and all the right amenities for a comfy picnic stay. Conveniently located near 25th Avenue and Fulton Street, the site offers lots of picnic tables, cooking grills, and the big bonus, bathrooms are right there too. Plus, there is a ton of open space to run around and play to burn off those big lunch calories. There is no playground nearby, so bring a bouncy house or softball for the kids.

Mission Dolores Park
19th and Dolores St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 554-9521

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Everyone loves Mission Dolores Park in the lively Mission District, one of the City’s best weather neighborhoods, known for sunny days, diverse residents, and eclectic and delicious eating spots. This vibrant park has it all: lush lawns, tall shading palm trees, tennis courts, a soccer field, a dog park, and a vast picnic area with wonderful views all around. Mission Dolores Park definitely reflects its surrounding, vital neighborhood.

Yerba Buena Gardens
750 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 820-3550

If you work in or around the downtown area, this mid-city green spot is an oasis just steps from your office, and an ideal setting to enjoy lunch surrounded by an urban landscape. Grab a lunch-to-go from one of the many cafés and sandwich shops that fill the area, and then retreat to the Yerba Buena Gardens for a relaxing break from the weekday hustle. With the annual Yerba Buena Gardens Festival running May – October 2017, it will be a great time to take in some of the festival’s famed music, dance, theater, or cultural programs offered free to the public, but expect the crowds. If solitude is your lunchtime fare, then plan to enjoy the Gardens accordingly, and have a picnic lunch on a quieter day.

Palace of Fine Arts
3301 Lyon St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 601-7277

An incredible beauty, and the jewel of San Francisco, the Palace of Fine Arts is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and a relaxing picnic spot overlooking the beautiful lagoon with elegant swans moving gracefully by. As far as picnic spots go, this is an awesome place to indulge in lunch for two or more friends. Be sure to take lots of pictures by the lagoon, and of course of the magnificent Rotunda, the jewel, to send to envious friends in cold, wintery places.

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West Bluff Crissy Field
Marine Drive
San Francisco, CA 94129
(415) 561-4323

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If amazing, up-close views of the Golden Gate Bridge is on your picnic bucket list, then satisfy that goal here in the city’s historic Presidio, part of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. This spot is postcard perfect, with an incredible expansive view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the Bay and downtown. There are picnic tables, BBQ grills, an open field, and a convenient parking lot, but be warned this is a popular spot and an early arrival –- think 9 am — is a must to score a table and a grill, so plan ahead. If relaxing on the grass is your style, a picnic blanket will do. Note: bring along a light jacket as this can be a windy and foggy spot as the day wears on.