Insider's Guide to the Outer Sunset

  • 01 of 09

    The Low Down

     Sure, this neighborhood is on the outer fringes of city limits, but that doesn't mean it's not worth the trek out here. This neighborhood boasts beaches, parks, and a surfer chill vibe that rivals anything you'll find in Southern California. And because we're still in San Francisco, there's amazing food, shops, and some great bars to boot. 

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  • 02 of 09

    Location

     Go west. No, keep going. Until you hit the ocean. There! There is the Outer Sunset. It’s full of surfers and has the laid back vibe to go with them. It’s a no frills side of San Francisco and you will slowly (or quite quickly) fall in love with all the chill restaurants, bars and shops that come with it. 

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  • 03 of 09

    History

    ••• Found SF

     This chunk of the city used to be nothing more than endless sand dunes. Then the city dumped a bunch of old horse-drawn carriages out on the beach and the swatters moved in, unofficially deeming their neighborhood “Carville.” It wasn’t until after the big quake of 1906 that people saw the potential in the Outside Lands. So track homes were built side-by-side, the signature of the neighborhood today. 

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  • 04 of 09

    Eat: Breakfast

    ••• Coffee at Andytown.

     Nothing beats a hot cup of joe on a foggy Sunset morning. The thing is you have so many options to choose from. Andytown is a local’s favorite, with a slightly bitter roast and killer cornmeal blueberry muffins (okay, all their pastries are killer). But Devil’s Teeth Bakery is the breakfast heavyweight with the loaded breakfast sandwich. Bacon, eggs and cheddar on a house made biscuit. Simple and delicious. 

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  • 05 of 09

    Eat: Lunch

    ••• Christa L. via Yelp

     We’re going to suggest you go vegan, just for the lunch hour. We know, we know. You’re giving the computer screen a look of utter disgust. But hear us out: Judalicious is delicious. And you’d be surprised to see how much variety there is on the menu. But how good does coconut rice with fresh veggies, sprouts, and a tamari sauce sound? Okay, what about the No Shoes, No Shirt, which is essentially a Mexican combo platter? You will fill up but there will still be room for dinner, which you’ll be thankful for in this neighborhood. 

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  • 06 of 09

    Eat: Dinner

    ••• H.Y.K. via Yelp

    Oh, the options!

    For Getting Fancy: Head to Outerlands. It’s absolutely packed on weekends, but you might be able to snag a seat at the bar on weekdays. You’ll be rewarded with black rice porridge and pork loin with swiss chard in the reclaimed, wooded interior.

    For Casual but Delicious:  Terra Cotta Warrior offers refreshing take on Chinese food that’s spicier and more sour than your traditional variety. 

    For Late-Night Bites: Toyose offers a much mellower atmosphere. It’s somewhat hidden (you might mistake it for a garage on first glance), but inside feels like you’ve been transported to a boat party. Order anything with kimchi and don’t skip the chicken wings.

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  • 07 of 09

    Drink

    Bars are few and far between, but the bars that are there are worth a stop by. 

    For Beer: If you like Devil’s Teeth Bakery, you’ll like Sunset Reservoir Brewery. What do a brewery and a bakery have in common? The same sourdough starter (go for the wheat beer). The tap consists of five brews ranging the flavor spectrum and the high ceilings and ample vining plants give the place a cool warehouse vibe.

    For Margaritas: You can’t go wrong at Celia’s By the Beach. This restaurant has been a neighborhood staple since 1960. That’s over half a century of goodness. Margaritas are served frozen in cactus cocktail glasses and we dare you to not order a platter of the enchiladas to go with it.

    For Anything: Like the phoenix, The Riptide rose from the ashes. After a fire last year that basically destroyed the place, it’s reopen for business and just as honky-tonk as ever. Snuggle up by the fire and wait around for bingo hour to make some new friends. 

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  • 08 of 09

    Play

     If you’re a fan of the outdoors, this neighborhood is your oyster.

    For the Beach: Ocean Beach stretches for 3.5 miles and serves as a refuge for the Snowy Plover, a tiny shorebird you’ll find skittering across the tideline. You’ll also see a ton of surfers in the swell. You might mistake their wetsuit-clad bodies for seals, although there are some of those in the water too. Bring a blanket and a picnic but keep your eye out for wandering off-leash dogs.

    For the Park: With winding trails and open fields, Golden Gate Park has all the things. There are museums, gardens, and wildlife galore. Check out our guide to the park to get an idea of all that the park has to offer.

    For Both: Watch hang gliders catch the drafts off the cliffs of Fort Funston. With 200-foot high sandy bluffs this national park has the beach, the dunes, and plenty of forested areas to explore. It’s a fun stroll with friends and definitely bring your dog along. 

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  • 09 of 09

    Shop

    ••• Establish SF

     It might not look like there’s good shopping out in this foggy district, but there are unique mom-and-pop shops sprinkled throughout the neighborhood.

    For Interiors: Across from Devil’s Teeth Bakery, you’ll find Establish, a store filled with plants, vintage clothes, sweet-smelling candles, and all sorts of fixtures to help warm your home. The best part? The shop owner usually has cider ready in the winter months and sangria in the summer for you to sip out of a mini mason jar while browsing.

    For Souvenirs:  Since you’re out where the locals are, you might as well get souvenirs for yourself (and friends) that represent a truly local brand. San Franpsycho is best known for its screen-printed tee-shirts of the bridge and some Giants gear. They also have fantastic beanies, in case your noggin gets cold.

    For Art: Three Fish Studios is run by a husband and wife duo of artists who specialize in printmaking and painting. Invest in an “I Love California” bear or find your own home state.

    For...MORE Surfers: Anyone in need of a new surf wax or fins finds their way to Mollusk Surf Shop, but they’ve got more than just the gear. This spot has beautiful screen-printed shirts, well-made wind breakers and swimsuits galore.