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Dolores Park.
AP Photo/Linda Wang

13 best SF spots for hosting a picnic

Where to show off your hickory-bold barbecue skills

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Dolores Park.
| AP Photo/Linda Wang

Now that Karl has made a welcome return to San Francisco, it’s time to gather your friends, pack up a hoodie and scarf, and head outdoors to fire up the grill.

There are plenty of spaces within San Francisco's parks where you can have a fun outdoor event, perfect for preparing summertime snacks or for simply chilling out. We've done the legwork for you and compiled this map of 13 places where you can relax across the city.

Please be advised: Some of the bigger parks—i.e., Golden Gate Park, John McLaren—tend to have more grills available for public use, and some require permits with large groups. San Francisco Recreation and Parks will let you know how to proceed.

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West Bluff Picnic Area and Beach

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Possibly one of the most visually stunning picnic spots in the world—the Golden Gate Bridge is right in front of you—this spot near Crissy Field (also featured on this list) doesn’t come equipped with a grill, so you’ll have to bring your own. But they do have picnic tables, so there’s that.

A post shared by fiona & albert (@alfilee) on

Crissy Field

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They provide both picnic tables and grills. Just get there early because the place fills up right-quick, especially during holiday weekends. It also features a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Beautiful place to chill.

A post shared by Oliver Guide (@oliver.guide) on

Baker Beach

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Is a park a beach? Sure, why not. This "park" provides charcoal grills should you be so inclined, or you can bring your own. And at the risk of making any hot dog puns, this is also one of San Francisco’s nude beaches. Be sure to cover up any private bits that might fall victim to grease splatters from the grill.

Photo by Felix Castor

Lafayette Park

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Don your finest threads, grab your Burberry picnic blanket, and get your charcoal grill ready to fry up some meat in one of the chicest parks, located in Pacific Heights. Excellent views of multi-million-dollar houses that border the park are not to be missed. Bring your dog, too.

A post shared by Kevin ⛅️ (@kyoza) on

Yerba Buena Gardens

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For true downtown city dwellers, the place to go when the sun breaks through is Yerba Buena Gardens. Not the best spot for grilling, but ideal for a picnic. It features expansive lawns, pocket gardens, terraces and plazas, and views of St. Regis Tower, St. Patrick's Catholic Church, and the Four Seasons.

A post shared by TRAVELEGLOBE (@traveleglobe) on

South Park

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The recently renovated, oval-shaped park (the oldest in San Francisco, dating back to 1852) has a fresh look and new features. Helmed by award-winning design firm Fletcher Studio, the new park comes with a new jungle gym for the kids, picnic tables, and wide swaths of grass. Close proximity to AT&T Park also makes it in ideal spot for a pre-game picnic.  

A San Francisco playground with a curved jungle gym. Photo by Patricia Chang

Golden Gate Park

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There are so many places in Golden Gate Park to grill up some meat that they have a dedicated site showing you where they all are. But the best way to BBQ here is to bring your own. The entire park is ideal for it.

We recommend hitting up the areas near Stow Lake; the windmill; or the buffalo, gifts to the park from Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

A post shared by Rebecca (@cylon08) on

Ocean Beach

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While the beach doesn’t provide any grills, you can bring your own charcoal one inside one of their designated picnic areas. Come nighttime you can also enjoy blazing up a fire in one of the fire rings provided, between stairwells 15 and 20. (While BBQing isn’t recommended with the beach fire pits, we won’t stop anyone wishing to roast marshmallows.)

Ocean Beach. Photo by Micaela Blondet

Mission Dolores Park

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This is a tough one. While almost anything and everything goes at the city’s most popular park—from the selling of cannabis-laced truffles to semi-nudity—the park doesn’t come equipped with BBQs (and portable grills are not allowed at Dolores Park). Just be sure to clean up your mess. Seriously.

Precita Park

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Picnic area near the children’s playground make this an excellent spot for family-grilling time. Even without a family, it's an excellent (and woefully underrated) park. Grills not provided; bring your own. Bring your dog, too.

A post shared by ❤️ (@kat_uh_roo) on

Holly Park

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This small Bernal Heights park provides its own grills, not to mention choice views of the city. It also has areas for baseball, basketball, and tennis should you want to work off those five chili hot dogs. Great for families.

John McLaren Park

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The city’s second biggest park, it comes equipped with grills and tables. Lots of them. Perfect opportunity to finally check out this lovely park that often gets ignored for its big brother, Dolores Park.

A post shared by Rex (@uxguy) on

Bayview Park

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Great alternative to the city’s more populated park, Bayview allows for charcoal grilling. Also of note? The excellent views of the bay.

West Bluff Picnic Area and Beach

Possibly one of the most visually stunning picnic spots in the world—the Golden Gate Bridge is right in front of you—this spot near Crissy Field (also featured on this list) doesn’t come equipped with a grill, so you’ll have to bring your own. But they do have picnic tables, so there’s that.

A post shared by fiona & albert (@alfilee) on

Crissy Field

They provide both picnic tables and grills. Just get there early because the place fills up right-quick, especially during holiday weekends. It also features a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Beautiful place to chill.

A post shared by Oliver Guide (@oliver.guide) on

Baker Beach

Photo by Felix Castor

Is a park a beach? Sure, why not. This "park" provides charcoal grills should you be so inclined, or you can bring your own. And at the risk of making any hot dog puns, this is also one of San Francisco’s nude beaches. Be sure to cover up any private bits that might fall victim to grease splatters from the grill.

Photo by Felix Castor

Lafayette Park

Don your finest threads, grab your Burberry picnic blanket, and get your charcoal grill ready to fry up some meat in one of the chicest parks, located in Pacific Heights. Excellent views of multi-million-dollar houses that border the park are not to be missed. Bring your dog, too.

A post shared by Kevin ⛅️ (@kyoza) on

Yerba Buena Gardens

For true downtown city dwellers, the place to go when the sun breaks through is Yerba Buena Gardens. Not the best spot for grilling, but ideal for a picnic. It features expansive lawns, pocket gardens, terraces and plazas, and views of St. Regis Tower, St. Patrick's Catholic Church, and the Four Seasons.

A post shared by TRAVELEGLOBE (@traveleglobe) on

South Park

A San Francisco playground with a curved jungle gym. Photo by Patricia Chang

The recently renovated, oval-shaped park (the oldest in San Francisco, dating back to 1852) has a fresh look and new features. Helmed by award-winning design firm Fletcher Studio, the new park comes with a new jungle gym for the kids, picnic tables, and wide swaths of grass. Close proximity to AT&T Park also makes it in ideal spot for a pre-game picnic.  

A San Francisco playground with a curved jungle gym. Photo by Patricia Chang

Golden Gate Park

There are so many places in Golden Gate Park to grill up some meat that they have a dedicated site showing you where they all are. But the best way to BBQ here is to bring your own. The entire park is ideal for it.

We recommend hitting up the areas near Stow Lake; the windmill; or the buffalo, gifts to the park from Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

A post shared by Rebecca (@cylon08) on

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach. Photo by Micaela Blondet

While the beach doesn’t provide any grills, you can bring your own charcoal one inside one of their designated picnic areas. Come nighttime you can also enjoy blazing up a fire in one of the fire rings provided, between stairwells 15 and 20. (While BBQing isn’t recommended with the beach fire pits, we won’t stop anyone wishing to roast marshmallows.)

Ocean Beach. Photo by Micaela Blondet

Mission Dolores Park

This is a tough one. While almost anything and everything goes at the city’s most popular park—from the selling of cannabis-laced truffles to semi-nudity—the park doesn’t come equipped with BBQs (and portable grills are not allowed at Dolores Park). Just be sure to clean up your mess. Seriously.

Precita Park

Picnic area near the children’s playground make this an excellent spot for family-grilling time. Even without a family, it's an excellent (and woefully underrated) park. Grills not provided; bring your own. Bring your dog, too.

A post shared by ❤️ (@kat_uh_roo) on

Holly Park

This small Bernal Heights park provides its own grills, not to mention choice views of the city. It also has areas for baseball, basketball, and tennis should you want to work off those five chili hot dogs. Great for families.

John McLaren Park

The city’s second biggest park, it comes equipped with grills and tables. Lots of them. Perfect opportunity to finally check out this lovely park that often gets ignored for its big brother, Dolores Park.

A post shared by Rex (@uxguy) on

Bayview Park

Great alternative to the city’s more populated park, Bayview allows for charcoal grilling. Also of note? The excellent views of the bay.