6 San Francisco To Do’s During Race Weekend
Written by Leana Lai. Leana is a 2019 Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon Ambassador and avid runner. You can learn more from her on Instagram at @lerunssf
For a lot of us running enthusiasts running The Biofreeze san Francisco Marathon, race weekend in itself is a big event. I like to plan my days leading up to the big day in order to physically and mentally prepare myself to conquer 26.2 miles around San Francisco’s neighborhoods. In addition to that feeling of accomplishment when crossing the finish line, I also like to plan out my post-race rewards. Whether you’re coming in from out of town or a Bay Area native, here are my Top 6 Musts for Race Weekend:
- Enjoy the Race Expo
If your schedule allows, I highly recommend getting to the expo early. Not only are there fewer crowds, but that way you can take your time walking through everything and really enjoy it. Go get your race packet first so you’ll have your bib on hand to take some pre-race pictures. Then fill up your goodie bag with vendor samples as you try out all the new products. Don’t forget to purchase your fuel of choice for race day — there will usually be at least one running store vendor on hand with a variety of options! Also, check out the schedule for guest speakers. There’s sure to be some interesting topics and inspirational stories throughout the duration of the expo. Finally, before you leave, stop by the course info booth to meet some of your race ambassadors and/or pacers to get insightful tips on the course and ensure there are no race day surprises (we also love meeting new people in the running community, so don’t be a stranger)!
- Carbo load at Boudin or one of North Beach’s best Italian restaurants (I recommend the Homemade Italian Company)
There’s a good chance if you’re running the full or ultra marathon that you already started carbo loading at the beginning of the week, but why not finish just as strong as you do on the race course and indulge in some of San Francisco’s best restaurants? Boudin is a San Francisco staple and their infamous sourdough bread dates back to 1849. Their clam chowder bread bowl is always a solid choice, but honestly, anything made with their sourdough bread is winning. North Beach is full of great Italian restaurants, and while I could go on and on about the pizza at Golden Boy or Tony’s, my carb of choice is pasta. My go-to for pasta is the Italian Homemade Company, which serves up the most amazing gnocchi with pesto, and their lasagna is some of the best I’ve ever had.
- Bus Tours
Let’s be real, you’re going to be pounding the pavement for quite some time on Sunday morning, so save your legs, but still see all the things San Francisco has to offer. MUNI/BART and our infamous Cable Cars can be great options for getting around without walking our entire 7×7 mile grid of a city, but a bus tour can help you get to those more out of the way locations. Plus, even though you’ll be passing by a lot of these iconic landmarks on your run, this way you can take your time and enjoy it without thinking about the seconds ticking away on your finish time.
For many people, half the fun of running all the miles is getting to eat back all those calories that were burned. If beer is your drink of choice, remember to grab some Sufferfest Beer once you cross the finish line. If you’re looking to try some more of San Francisco’s local brews, check out 21st Amendment, Anchor Brewing, Cellarmaker, or one of my local favorites for craft brews, Black Hammer Brewing. If brunch is more your thing, there’s a lot of options downtown within walking distance of the finish line. However, if you’re willing to venture out a bit, I’m quite partial to Mission Beach Cafe, Plow, and Nopa. Just be forewarned that brunch is an event in San Francisco and reservations are either not taken (it’s on a first come, first served basis), or reservations should be made well in advance.
- Recover and Relax
The great thing about San Francisco races in the summertime is that Karl the Fog usually visits us in the morning, cooling us off during those early start times, but then he burns off just before noon! Take advantage of the weather and enjoy some of the outdoor summer events going on later in the day! Off the Grid Presidio Picnic is a local favorite for gathering together friends and family for a picnic filled with games, sunshine, and food trucks! Or maybe you want to enjoy Golden Gate Park instead — hang out at Spreckels Temple of Music, nestled between the California Academy of Sciences and the de Young Museum. The Golden Gate Park Band is scheduled to have a “The Magic of Disney & Pixar” Concert in the Park that afternoon on race day.
- Enjoy the greater Bay Area
Maybe you’re from out of town and want to cover as much ground as you can while in the Bay Area or maybe you just want to escape the city hustle and bustle for a day. If you have a chunk of free time during race weekend, consider getting a car. You can drive North up to Napa/Sonoma wine country or make your way to Tomales Bay for the oysters and other fresh seafood. Stinson Beach is also another popular choice for a more low key version of the Mt. Tamalpais area. You can also drive South towards Half Moon Bay and enjoy some picturesque driving down Highway 1. There are lots of seaside restaurants and shops along the way.