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What to see and do in San Francisco this Labor Day weekend

From beaches to barbecues, here’s how to spend the chilly weekend in the city

People sitting on the grass of a large park with Salesforce Tower, the city’s tallest tower, in the background.
Salesforce Park.
Photo by Brock Keeling

Everyone in know the knows that San Francisco is at its best during Labor Day weekend, that special time of year when denizens leave town for a party in the desert or a day trip over the bridge. It’s when city streets and sidewalks are quieter. It’s when public parks urban tourist traps prove a calmer affair. It’s when the city can breathe.

Don’t believe it? Check out the list below, which is full of ideal ways to spend the holiday weekend. Because now is the time to take advantage of outdoor activities. (The weekend calls for warm albeit cloudy weather.)

Parks for BBQs and picnics

There are plenty of hot spots in San Francisco where you can fire up the grill for some good food and smoky fun. We've done the legwork for you and compiled this map of 13 places where you can grill across the city.

San Francisco's best secret gardens

We’ve mapped the city’s more gorgeous historic gardens—from a preserved patch on Alcatraz Island, a forest in the Tenderloin, a mini park rich with flowering foliage on an otherwise nondescript Sunnyside residential street, and more.

Photo by Adam Brinklow

Tour the city’s best overlooked murals

The Mission District has roughly 450 murals. SoMa has over 130. And the Tenderloin boasts nearly 100. We’ve done the legwork and mapped out the 13 most overlooked gems in San Francisco.

Ditch Dolores Park in favor of Golden Gate Park

The city’s preferred park can get messy on warm weekends. For greener pastures, check out Golden Gate Park. San Francisco’s largest park has much to offer, much of it you might not even be aware of, from roaming bison to spectacular windmills.

Head up to the new Salesforce Park

Now that worker drones and burners have taken flight elsewhere, head over to the East Cut to walk around and enjoy the new Transbay Terminal and Salesforce Park, the city’s newly reopened raised park.

Hit the beach

From tide pools and family-friendly shores to secluded spots and and clothing-optional fun, we've come up with the top 10 Bay Area beaches for soaking up some vitamin D. Feel free to skip Dolores Park this weekend in favor of sun-drenched scenery on the sand.

Get lost in Chinatown’s best alleyways

There are 41 alleys in Chinatown, but there’s more to these small stretches of street than sensational tales exoticized in the pages of tourist guides. We’ve mapped out a few notable paths for you to follow.

Tour San Francisco’s most underrated architecture

Curbed SF readers revealed the buildings they love most but don’t get their due—which is to say, buildings other than the Transamerica Pyramid, the Shell Building, Conservatory of Flowers, or the Sentinel. (Those structures are already iconic.) See for yourself why these buildings are some of the city’s finest.

The Castro’s queerest locations

The world’s queer mecca has more to offer than two-for-one drink nights. We rounded up the most significant locations in the neighborhood that have contributed to the importance and stronghold of queer identity. A must for any San Francisco resident.

Watch the Giants win?

What started out as a rough season has turned into a nail-biter. Will we make wildcard this year? Don’t jinx it by thinking about it too much! Instead, head down to South Beach to support the greatest baseball team inside the greatest ballpark. We could still make it to postseason. Stranger things have happened. Just get ready to rally those caps.

Julia Morgan’s masterpieces

Revered as one of the greatest female architects in history, Julia Morgan’s designs will inspire any architect trying to break into the male-dominated field.

Cupid’s Span with the Bay Bridge in the background. Photo by Shawn Clover

San Francisco’s best public art

To learn more about the artistic side of the city, we've compiled a map of San Francisco's most notable public art pieces.

Get out of town

If the FOMO proves to be too much and you simply can’t bear the thought of staying in the city, check out one of the Bay Area’s cutest small towns. In need of a laid-back beach day? Try Stinson. Or, prefer to party in the middle of the woods? Check out Guerneville. No matter where you choose to visit, the Bay Area is lucky to have a number of quaint towns.