(credit: Thinkstock)

April 23rd is National Picnic Day, and what better city is there than San Francisco to celebrate the holiday. With year round mild weather, fantastic architecture, and natural beauty, the city has no shortage of scenic spots to plunk down for an al fresco meal. Pack up some sandwiches and a thermos of lemonade and head out to one of San Francisco’s best places to go on a picnic.

Crissy Field
1199 E. Beach Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94129
(415) 561-7690
www.presidio.gov/crissyfield

Located within the Presidio, Crissy Field borders the Bay shoreline and offers some phenomenal views of both the water and the Golden Gate Bridge. Picnic sites are available at East Beach and the West Bluffs. Designated spots include picnic tables, grills, trash receptacles and plenty of grassy areas to lay out a blanket. Restrooms are nearby both sites. For those looking for a lower-maintenance picnic in the park, check out the Beach Hut or Warming Hut Cafes for some take away noshes.

Strawberry Hill Picnic Area
Golden Gate Park
Stow Lake Dr.
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 831-5500
www.sfrecpark.org/strawberryhill

Nestled inside of Golden Gate Park, the Strawberry Hill Picnic area is a surprisingly rustic spot hidden in the urban jungle. This scenic spot is situated at the highest elevation in the park, and is surrounded by the 12-acre Stow Lake. There are no bathrooms or grills on-site, but small gas grills are welcome. The site also allows picnickers to bring in beer and wine.

Palace of Fine Arts
3301 Lyon St.
San Francisco, CA  94123
(415) 563-6504
www.palaceoffinearts.org

Just outside the Presidio, the Palace of Fine Arts is a San Francisco landmark, and arguably one of the most beautiful structures in the city. Originally constructed for the 1915 World’s Fair, the Palace has become a popular spot for wedding and engagement photography, as well as live events. Picnickers may enjoy a leisurely stroll around the lagoon, while observing swans, ducks and turtles. Remember a camera and blanket for a memorable meal in the grass.

Sutro Heights
Point Lobos Ave. and El Camino Del Mar
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 561-4323
www.parkconservancy.org/sutrohistoricdistrict

Adjacent to the historic Cliff House, Sutro Heights is the site of the former Sutro Baths designed by Adolph Sutro in 1894. After declining business and several failed ventures, in 1973 the site became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Visitors can now wander through the ruins of the original site, exploring the remains and enjoying the fresh ocean air. Picnickers will marvel at the expansive views from the top of the hill. To make time here truly magical, wear layers to insulate against frequent cold winds, and come for the afternoon on a clear day to watch one of the city’s most spectacular sunsets.

Mission Dolores Park
19th and Dolores St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 554-9521
www.sfrecpark.org/missiondolorespark

One of San Francisco’s most heavily used parks for festivals, recreation, and cultural events, Mission Dolores has something to offer to just about anyone. Come for a picnic lunch and stay to enjoy spectacular views of the city skyline. The almost 16-acre park has restrooms, a playground, and tennis courts. Make a group date of it, and enjoy some post-meal outdoor recreation on either the soccer field or basketball court.

Joanna Metheny is a freelance writer covering all things South Bay. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.