14 Best Things To Do In South San Francisco, California - Updated 2021

things to do in south san francisco california

South San Francisco is a hidden gem located on the Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area. A world-renowned city, this is a dream travel destination for many people, one you ought to visit at least once in your life. Its identity is marked by the Golden Gate Bridge, but this is just a small fraction of what San Francisco is known for. While on a trip to sunny California, you should stop by South San Francisco and enjoy its Mediterranean weather, coves, parks, and piers. Who knows, you might find your new favorite place. To help you plan your trip, check out this list of things to do in South San Francisco, California.

1. Plymire-Schwarz House Museum: take a walk down history lane

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

The garden room, quiet before storm. 2019 Victorian Tea Fundraiser July 20, 21, 27 & 28.

Posted by The Plymire-Schwarz House on Thursday, August 1, 2019

There’s so much history inside the Plymire-Schwarz House Museum that it’s a must-see when exploring South San Francisco. The house dates back to the early 1900s when it first opened its doors as a hospital. Later, it became the home of Dr. H.G. Plymire and then Ernst and Marguerite Schwarz’s private residence. Its history didn’t stop there, so the house was eventually turned into a museum to preserve the many stories of industrial South San Francisco.

Plymire-Schwarz House Museum

Address: 519 Grand Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080

Website: Plymire-Schwarz House Museum

Price: Free

2. K1 Speed: for the competitive, fun-seeking kid in you

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Nothing worse than talking trash and then getting dusted tag your friends are all talk - - - - #k1 #k1speed #karting #gokarting #racing #friends #squad

Posted by K1 Speed on Thursday, January 14, 2021

We all love a little competition from time to time. Whether you’re a karting rookie or already a pro, the Arrive & Drive program at K1 Speed in South San Francisco will get your adrenaline pumping. Racers hit the tracks in groups of up to 12 people, competing for the fastest lap time. If you’re part of a bigger group, there’s always the option of renting the place entirely for one or more hours to enjoy the tracks for yourselves as you race.

K1 Speed

Address: 160 Beacon St, South San Francisco, CA 94080

Website: K1 Speed

Opening hours: Mon: 5:30pm - 10pm; Tue - Thu: 12pm - 10pm; Fri: 11am - 11pm; Sat: 10am - 12am; Sun: 10am - 10pm

3. Sign Hill Park: hiking and wildlife viewing

Sign Hill Park in South San Francisco
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tim Adams used under CC BY 3.0

Whether you’ve been to South San Francisco before or you’re planning to visit, you’ve surely seen the giant letters on Sign Hill. But, there’s so much more to Sign Hill Park than just this tourist attraction. The park boasts a total of 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) of hiking trails that offer beautiful views all around. Sign Hill is also home to wildlife and bird species galore, offering its visitors the chance to spot the endangered Mission Blue Butterfly, egrets, and many more. Poppies and wildflowers paint the entire landscape in vibrant colors, making the whole experience all the more enchanting to the senses.

Sign Hill Park

Address: 650 Poplar Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080

Website: Sign Hill Park

4. Westborough Square: it's shopping o'clock

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Take a day for yourself while in South San Francisco, and go shopping at Westborough Square. The shopping center features a grocery store, a drugstore, and lots of dining options. Although parking can be an issue as the spots are tight and it can get crowded on weekends, it’s an excellent choice if you need to run errands during the week and want to grab a bite to eat too. From pizza to Chinese cuisine, you’ll find lots of diversity there.

Westborough Square

Address: 2234 Westborough Blvd, South San Francisco, CA 94080

Website: Westborough Square

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

5. Cafe 382: for breakfast and brunch

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Cafe & Taproom will be CLOSED Thanksgiving Day.

Posted by Cafe 382, Downtown SSF on Sunday, November 22, 2020

Start your day with a warm cup of coffee and a hearty breakfast at Cafe 382. Situated in downtown South San Francisco and boasting a casual atmosphere, the café serves American comfort food with a twist. Their dishes are cooked with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Some of the most popular choices include Eggs Benedict, French Toast, Bananas Foster Brioche Pancakes, and Buttermilk Fried Chicken.

Cafe 382

Address: 382 Grand Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080

Website: Cafe 382

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 8am - 8pm; Sun - Mon: 8am - 3pm

6. Wind Harp: not the kind of sculpture you'd expect

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Probably not what you’d expect when you hear the word “sculpture,” but that’s because it’s even better. Perched atop Oyster Point, the Wind Harp is a unique sculpture by design and features, not to mention it’s one of the tallest aeolian harps worldwide. On windy days, the air movement makes the harp sing, creating quite the spectacle. Since it is situated on a hill, the panoramic views of South San Francisco are not to be ignored either.

Wind Harp

Address: 500 Grand View Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080

Website: Wind Harp

7. 47 Hills Brewing Company: where innovation and tradition meet

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

With a history of almost a decade, 47 Hills Brewery was born when two friends realized that they share the same love for beer. As they were looking for the perfect location to open their craft beer business and start brewing, it was a warehouse in South San Francisco that they found to be the perfect location. Today, the warehouse is home to the brewery, a taproom, a beer garden, and a cafe. The beer is made on-site and served with locally sourced food for the perfect experience. The beer variety available on tap includes Industrial Slime, a tropical, fruity IPA, Farmhouse Ale, a Belgian Style ale, and Yelling At Cars, an unfiltered lager.

47 Hills Brewing Company

Address: 137 S Linden Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080

Website: 47 Hills Brewing Company

Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 3pm - 8pm; Sat - Sun: 12pm - 8pm (closed on Mon)

8. Luminous Day Spa: it's time to unwind and relax

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Luminous Day Spa on Sunday, March 20, 2016

Take a break from all the adventure and outdoor activities that South San Francisco has to offer and pamper yourself with a day at the spa. Luminous Day Spa opened its doors in 2006 and has become a spot for their clients to relax and unwind ever since. They offer an upscale experience, from the warm atmosphere to the deluxe treatments that clients get. The list of services provided includes facials, massage therapy, body treatments, waxing, acupuncture, and chiropractic services. If you’re looking to surprise your bestie, you can get her a gift voucher, or you can gather the girls for a private spa party at Luminous Day Spa.

Luminous Day Spa

Address: 204 Grand Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080

Website: Luminous Day Spa

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 8pm; Sat - Sun: 10am - 6pm

9. Oyster Point Park: go for a stroll along the shorelines of San Francisco Bay

Oyster Point - The East Side - Paradise Valley (South San Francisco, California)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Sharon Hahn Darlin used under CC BY 2.0

Oyster Point Park is a waterfront park and public marina spreading along San Francisco Bay’s western shoreline. The park offers its visitors outdoor activities galore. You can go for a stroll and admire the boats docked at the marina and take in the bay views, have a barbecue in one of the designated picnic areas, or start the day early on the fishing pier. The park also has a family-friendly beach, Oyster Cove Beach, where swimming is safe. Public parking and restrooms are available.

Oyster Point Park

Address: South San Francisco, CA 94080

Website: Oyster Point Park

Opening hours: 5:30am - 10:30pm (daily)

10. Gray Whale Cove: the cove of all coves

Gray Whale Cove State Beach 2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user John Kim used under CC BY 2.0

California is known for hiking and I love hiking. Some of these places are gems and are waiting to be discovered. Gray Whale Cove State Beach is one of those places and is absolutely beautiful.

Similar to Yosemite National Park except it is a sunny beach, Gray Whale Cove has amazing weather and is a must-see when you are in South San Francisco. It takes some walking so do not forget to wear your walking shoes - you’ll have to park across the freeway and walk down some stairs, as well.

Accommodations might have to be booked, but this is a place you have got to see! It is also connected to McNee Ranch State Park, so you can bust out two parks in one day in just under a few hours by visiting both of these!

Gray Whale Cove

Address: Hwy 1, Montara, CA 94037

Price: free.

Contact: (650) 726-8819

Website: Gray Whale Cove

11. Pacifica Pier: if you love piers and you love fishing

Pacifica Pier-002 (18316728073)
Source: Photo by user California Depart... used under CC BY 2.0

Fishing is family fun for everyone: friends or couples - especially early in the morning when the sun is barely rising. Piers are everywhere around San Fran so make sure you check this spot out.

This pier is especially meant for fishing, unlike Pier 31 (which is for shopping). Fishing is a fun experience for kids so if you want to have a little outing with the family - I would suggest this place. You can see all sorts of people here and have a great time meeting everyone, local or not.

Pacifica Pier

Address: 2100 Beach Blvd, Pacifica, CA 94044

Price: free.

Opening Hours: 4am - 10pm.

Contact: (650) 738-3760

Website: Pacifica Pier

12. Orange Memorial Park: a good, homely park

Orange Memorial Park 1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user BrokenSphere used under CC BY 3.0

What I love about this place is it is beautiful and scenic. It has a playground for the kids, or even adults if they want to and you can just have a picnic and hang out.

Areas for basketball, tennis and baseball, you can play sports and have a ball here with your family and just relax with a nice day to yourself. They even have an indoor aquatics center. The weather in San Fran is always so wonderful, sometimes in between cloudy and sunny - but sunset and sunrise are the most memorable. If you just want to go for a nice walk in the evening, this is the place for you!

Orange Memorial Park

Address: Orange Ave and Tennis Dr, South San Francisco, CA 94080

Price: free.

Contact: (650) 829 3800

Facebook: Orange Memorial Park

13. Oyster Point Marina: boating, boating and more boating

Oyster Point - The East Side - Paradise Valley (South San Francisco, California) (8291160599)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Sharon Hahn Darlin used under CC BY 2.0

This is a wonderful pier made for boating - but, if boating isn’t your thing you can hang around the marina and have a nice relaxing time here, too. You can fish here as well, making use of the 300 foot (91 meter) fishing pier or take your boat out using the boat launching ramp. If you brought your boat along with you and that is something your family loves to do - I would check this place out.

It can be windy, but everywhere around SF is windy, minus a few spots. They have grills and picnic tables for everyone’s needs so while you are boating and fishing - you can easily whip something up and have a nice day out. You can grill what you have caught then and there - or you can wait and bring other tasty food for your liking!

Surrounding this marina is a 33 acre (13 hectare) park with jogging and walking trails, making Oyster Point Marina an all around great place to visit, no matter your interest!

Don’t skip out on this place - you won’t regret it.

Oyster Point Marina/Park

Address: 95 Harbormaster Road, #1South San Francisco, California 94080

Price: free.

Contact: (650) 952-0808

Website: Oyster Point Marina/Park

14. McNee Ranch State Park: all the dreamy views a person could want

Coastal view from trail in McNee Ranch
Source: Photo by user Richard Thomas used under CC BY-SA 4.0

McNee Ranch State Park overlooks Gray Whale Cove and since they interconnect you can do both, one after the other. When you climb to the top you can see the fog and the wonderful views over San Francisco. The hike is one thing and can really get your energy up - but pictures must be taken at a place like this.

McNee can get busy so make sure you either get there early or park slightly far from the hike and park itself. The hike is easy and nothing too hard for a beginner who has never done a hike before. This is something everyone and anyone can do and there are even rabbits on the trail! You can bring your dog, but if it is likely they would run after the rabbits, that is something to keep in mind!

McNee Ranch State Park

Address: Hwy 1, Montara, CA 94044

Price: free.

Contact: (650) 726-8819

Embrace the views

San Francisco Bay aerial view
Source: Photo by user Robert Campbell used under CC BY-SA 3.0

South San Francisco is just as amazing as the Bay as a whole. You can never go wrong with a place like San Francisco, in California - if you ever have the chance to check out any of these places, please do. I challenge you to do all of the hikes because the views are something you will not want to skip out on. Please post pictures and let us know about your experience with these parks. Family friendly or if you want to go alone (make sure you are safe) these are great stops as well!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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