San Francisco's Ultimate 2021 Summer Bucket List
San Francisco's Ultimate 2021 Summer Bucket List

San Francisco's Ultimate 2021 Summer Bucket List

The bay is back with a live-life-to-the-fullest vengeance. πŸŒπŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆπŸ¦­ Check out 27 of the latest in-season gems.

Published May 13, 2021

We left our hearts in San Francisco...and we’re ready to pick them up now and enjoy! After over a year of social distancing and serious emotional wreckage, we’re ready to make up for lost time in the California sun with loved ones and loved events and hot spots (!!) this season.  

You’ll find no shortage of waterfall hikes, surfable beaches, outdoor bars, and boats (and seaplanes!) to enjoy this summer. And, with a tentative back-to-normal date of June 15th, we can expect the beloved return of our dearly missed stadium games, concerts, and churches-that-hold-roller-discos (a city staple anywhere, if you ask us).  

Be sure to bookmark this guide as we’ll be continuing to update it with new events, experiences and discounts all. summer. long.

Soar 15 stories in the SkyStar

Credit: SkyStar

The SkyStar Wheel, which provides riders with sweeping views from the ocean to downtown San Francisco, has extended its stay another four years! The 150-ft glowing wheel was installed last year as part of Golden Gate Park’s 150th Anniversary celebration, but largely did not operate due to COVID. Grab a gondola to celebrate. 

When: 12PM - 9PM
Where: 1 Bowl Drive, San Francisco, CA 94121 

Movies Under the Stars at Lark Drive-In

Credit: Lark Drive-In

Grab a blanket, some snacks, and a spot in front of the big screen to watch crowd favorites at Lark Drive-In. Tickets are valid for 1 vehicle at just $27 at

When: Fridays & Saturdays
Where: Lark Drive-In, 1557 Redwood Hwy, Corte Madera
PROMO: Use code BUCKETLIST below for 25% OFF

Bonfire at Ocean Beach

Credit: Kimson Doan on unsplash 

Our perfect summer sunset? Bundling up with friends and grabbing some firewood for a sunset bonfire at ocean beach. Fires are officially allowed on Ocean Beach for eight months, March through October.

When: March through October
Where: 1000 Great Hwy

Hike to Twin Peaks from the Castro

Credit: Cedric Letsch on unsplash 

Hikes don’t always have to be backcountry affairs. Starting at the intersection of Market and Castro street, eventually rising 900 feet, this urban hike peaks on a magnificent 360-degree view of the city. We recommend the step-by-step route from the late SF native Bill Choissier, and bringing a jacket (wind is a constant) for the top.

When: Year-round, but May-Oct is prime weather conditions.
Where: Market Street & Castro Street

Plan a Luxury Picnic in Golden Gate or Snow Park 

In the backdrop of the global pandemic, Picnics in the Bay was founded by a husband and wife team with the principle goal of bringing some much needed luxury and relaxation to Bay Area residents. Enjoy a made-for-you pinterest-worthy escape with picnics tailored to fit a variety of events and occasions, from that special 1st date or 50 year wedding anniversary, to birthday parties, bridal showers, family gatherings, or just a simple meet-up amongst friends.

Go On a California Roadtrip 

A road trip along the CA coast can easily consist of visits to exotic beaches, alpine resorts, world-class theme parks, and otherworldly natural features all in one go! Yet as the famous Ralph Waldo Edison quote–or was it our 2006 Tumblr bio?–goes: It's not the destination, it's the journey. Therefore, while road trip stops listed below may ultimately be the photos making the gram, the memories (read: inside jokes) you make with your friends on the road are just as important.

Read our Ultimate 2021 CA Roadtrip Guide.

Late Night Drinks at Charmaine’s Rooftop

Credit: Charmaine's

Head over to Charmaine's outdoor rooftop bar to cheers with the city skyline. Open during these warmer months (weather permitting), we suggest you find a spot before dusk to catch the sunset, and stay into the late hours of the evening.

When: Monday-Tuesday 4PM-10PM, Wednesday-Friday 4PM-12AM, Saturday 2PM-12AM, Sunday 2PM-10PM | Brunch: Saturday-Sunday 8AM-2PM
Where: 1100 Market Street Entrance, 45 McAllister St at, San Francisco, CA 94102 

Catch a Warriors Game at the New Chase Center

Credit: Corleone Brown on Unsplash

The GS Warriors are welcoming Dub Nation back to Chase Center for the summer (after 409 days fan-free games!) Attendees will just need to take an at-home COVID-19 test within 48 hours of the game, or be fully vaccinated and 14 days past your final dose.There’s not a bad seat in the house, due to the stadium’s compact bowl shape, the biggest scoreboard in the NBA, and a star-studded performer lineup if you’re not a basketball junkie.

Where: 1 Warriors Way

Or A Giants Game at Oracle Park

Credit: Unsplash Mick Haupt

A classic summer activity, snag a seat and a beer to watch a game at Oracle Park. This season, seating will be socially distant with all fans 12 years and older required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test or a full COVID-19 vaccination to gain entry. However, we’d say that’s a small price to pay for some garlic fries and hotdogs. 

When: See full schedule here 
Where: 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94107 

Have Happy Hour on the SF Bay with Adventure Cat

Experience the beauty of San Francisco right from the water. Aventure Cat’s spacious catamarans take guests on a 90-minute cruise to enjoy the fresh pacific air and outstanding views from their covered cabin, along with a complimentary bar drink and snack. You’ll see Alcatraz island, sail directly under the GG Bridge, and head back admiring the city’s famed skyline.

When: 1-1.5 hour sails
Where: Pier 39, SF

The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit

Credit: Immersive Van Gogh

From the flagship exhibit seen by over 2 million people in Paris and Toronto, and featured in Netflix's Emily in Paris, The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit has landed in San Francisco. SF residents can now be bathed in full-room projections of the animated, jaw dropping works of the legendary Vincent Van Gogh. 

When: Extended through September
Where: SVN West San Francisco (Formerly The Fillmore West), 10 S Van Ness Ave

Bike the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito

You’ll see Angel Island, Alcatraz, and the city skyline across the ocean all on top of a great workout. Our favorite master plan? Bike over the bridge and down into the seaside town of Sausalito (worth a day trip in and of itself), returning to the city by ferry.

When: Open 5:00 AM—6:30 PM
Where: Check out this Parking Guide from Fog City Secrets.

Take a Beach Trip To Montara State Beach

California is known for its beaches and just because we're not in So-Cal doesn't mean you can't take a beach day. One of our favorites is Montara State Beach for its picturesque cliffs and secluded feel.

Where:  Half Moon Bay on State Route 1

Rock out at Phoenix Hotel

Credit: Phoenix Hotel SF 

The iconic Tenderloin hotel has hosted rock musicians and celebrities since the 50s. Legend has it that Neil Young lived here with his pet bush babies while recording Deja Vu. Fast-forward to today, the Phoenix hotel hosts a summer series of day parties in its courtyard. Complete with up-and coming EDM DJs, multiple bars, cabana options, and an absolutely clutch BBQ station.

Where: 601 Eddy St

Go Camping at Kirby Cove

Nestled in Marin Headlands, relax from the city hustle at Kirby Cove with a more than perfect beach and one of the most unique views of The Golden Gate Bridge. Pro-Tip: Be sure to make a reservation if you plan on camping, as spots fill up quickly. COVID procedures are currently in place: You must stay with members of your own household and there is no water at the campground; bring your own water, hand soap, and hand sanitizer. 

When: Can be booked through August 10, 2021
Where: 948 Fort Barry, Sausalito, CA 94965

Picnic in Mission Dolores Park

Credit: Mission Dolores 

Boasting the warmest weather in the city and large enough to handle its huge weekend crowds with ease, there’s no SF summer without dolo days. Bring your friends to enjoy drinks under a shady palm tree, spectacular views of the downtown skyline, and extra-eclectic people watching.

Where: Dolores St &, 19th St.

Visit the Giant Trees of Muir Woods

Credit: Muir Woods National Monument 

For a natural wonder, walk among the towering old-growth coast Redwoods in Muir Woods. The luscious forest is home to these Sequoia sempervirens trees, ranging from 400 and 800 years old (the oldest is at least 1,200 years old), with heights up to 250 feet. Trails stretch for miles under the canopy, and you’ll never feel smaller than you do walking amongst the primeval giants.

Where: 1 Muir Woods Rd

Wine taste on Treasure Island

Credit: The Winery SF 

The man made Treasure Island has become a hub for wine appreciation. The spacious, industrial design of each winery is like a breath of fresh air—and they’re all short walks apart from one another. Choose from Sol Rouge, the french-focused gem, ?Vie Winery, for tastings with a side of Bocce Ball, Sottomarino, for drinking in a WWII Submarine (awesome), to create your perfect day.

When: Most wineries operate from 12 PM—5:30 PM Saturdays and Sundays. 
Where: The Winery SF at 30 Avenue G is a good place to start.

Or Take A Day Trip To Napa

Credit: Hall Wines 

One of our favorite summer activities. Grab a car and drive out to Napa or Sonoma and spend the day tasting some of the best wines in the world.

Where: See below for some of our favorite Napa & Sonoma wineries

Escape from Alcatraz

Credit: Unsplash by Carlas Rabada

Tour one of the most notorious federal prisons in our nation’s history: Alcatraz Island. A $39 ticket provides a boat ride from Pier 33 and audio tour headphones, so you can walk the decaying prison walls and hear stories from former inmates and correctional officers that lived on the island—including famous escape attempts and solitary confinement woes.

When: Departures are available about every half hour throughout the day beginning at 8:45am.
Where: Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing

Stroll, Skate or Bike the Still-Open John F. Kennedy Drive in GG Park

Credit: SF Bike

Last spring, mayor London Breed closed a large portion of John F. Kennedy Drive in GG Park to vehicles. While the higher-ups are debating reopening: walk, run, skate, hang glide—whatever you can think of—the beautiful open road. Enjoy stops at the Redwood Grove, Prayer Cross, and Bison Paddock along the way, and consider a reward beer (or three) in Park Chalet’s garden. 

Celebrate #SFPride51

Credit: SF LGBT Pride 

The San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee has announced that #SFPride51 will take place ALL month of June 2021! After a year of physical distancing, the Bay Area’s queer communities will be able to gather again in limited in-person events (while adhering to current safety protocols). While we’ll miss the traditional grand parade, it's amazing to celebrate in diverse and vibrant community events.

Stay updated on their site for upcoming event details, but two to expect are:

  • Movie Night at Oracle Park (June 11 and June 12), and 
  • Black Liberation Event with the African American Art and Culture Complex (AAACC) on June 18th.  

Take a Seaplane Tour over the GG Bridge and Bay

This 30-minute EPIC flight will take you over all the gems of our SF, starting with a take off from the Seaplane Adventures seabase in the bayside village of Sausalito. Fly along the coast over the Golden Gate National Reserve past, Baker Beach and the Pt. Bonita Lighthouse, then left over the legendary Golden Gate Bridge herself! Continue above Crissy Field, Downtown SF, AT&T Park—and more. Finally your flight will be completed with a pass by the historic Angel Island and a smooth landing back in Sausalito’s Richardson Bay. To book a full tour of the NorCal Coastline, click here. Otherwise, book below for a tour over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Day Drink at The Lot

Credit: The Lot

As bars are tentatively scheduled to be back to business-as-usual starting June 15th, keep your eyes peeled for a July reopening of the marina outdoor hot-spot for rosé and pups galore. Bring friends, try to snag a coveted German long table, and choose from bottles of sparkling wine to split, a spicy Peacekeeper or even a “Lot Croix,” if you really miss flexing those tech-bro muscles after a WFH year. 

When: Season TBD, but once open, its open every Saturday from noon “onward”
Where: 2101 Lombard Street

Surf at Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz County

The small surf community of Pleasure Point is located in Santa Cruz County, nestled between Moran Lagoon and 41st Avenue. Nearly a dozen famous surf breaks make this an ideal destination for skilled surfers. For a classic experience, head to Pleasure Point Beach to surf the day away. Note: We use the term “beach” loosely, as there’s little to no sand to sit on—you’ll go directly from an immersed rock shelf to waves. 

After, enjoy the classic beachside town (filled with trinket and surf gear shops), and some of Santa Cruz County’s favorite eateries: The Penny Ice Creamery, Pleasure Pizza, and direct access to the weekly Live Oak Farmers Market.

Where: Pleasure Point Beach, East Cliff Dr. and Pleasure Point Dr.

Cheers to Happy Hour With Tacos at El Techo

Credit: El Techo 

This rooftop bar is one SF resident's favorites for a few reasons. First, it’s in the always-sunny and bustling Mission (atop sister restaurant Lolinda). Second, there’s the sublime city skyline views. And lastly, it's filled with delicious cocktails by the pitcher and Latin American street food that’s perfect for sharing, which makes it ideal for groups of friends.

When: Monday - Thursday 4PM - 10PM, Friday 4PM - 11PM, Saturday 11AM - 11PM, Sunday 11AM - 10PM
Where: 2516 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Roller Disco at Church

Credit: Church of 8 Wheels

After fear of being torn down last year, SF's beloved Church of 8 Wheels is now open at a limited capacity, hosting disco-fueled sessions for those looking to get funky.  

Where: 554 Fillmore St 
When: Open Friday nights 7-11 PM and on Saturday (with skate lessons from 1-2 PM). A public session from 3-5 PM and an adult night session from 7-11 PM. 


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