Johanna Quaas, the oldest active gymnast in the world (credit: WALTRAUD GRUBITZSCH/AFP/Getty Images)
With no shortage of weekend fun to be found in the City by the Bay, senior citizens have a wide variety of options to get out and about in San Francisco. Despite its reputation of steep hills and crowded tourist spots, the city has much to offer those looking to stay on flatter ground. With everything from walking tours to accommodate the more able-bodied to a comfortable neighborhood breakfast café spot, any senior can find a pleasurable way to spend a weekend day. Here is a compilation of some of the best San Francisco has to offer.
One Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111
A favorite of San Francisco natives and visitors alike, the Ferry Building marketplace draws upwards of 25,00 shoppers each week. Anyone who enjoys food and the fresh bounty of California will love browsing the myriad of merchants selling everything from local meats and cheeses to finely crafted pottery and artisan breads. In addition to two weekdays, the farmers’ market is open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Seniors can relax along the flat open stalls while doing the week’s shopping or browsing for unique ingredients for an afternoon picnic. If the market’s tacos, wood-fired pizzas and grilled meats don’t tempt, head indoors for some mouth-watering eats at local picks like the Slanted Door or Hog Island Oyster Company.
P.O. Box 470002
San Francisco, CA 94147
On The Level SF conducts walking tours in and around San Francisco on level terrain. A large number of tours are senior-friendly and welcome those using wheelchairs as well. The tours offer an opportunity for locals to delve a little deeper into their neighborhoods and perhaps lesser-known pockets of the city. Tour options include waterfalls and public roof gardens of downtown, the Presidio and Lucasfilm Empire, and the Barbary Coast and China Town.
2330 Taylor St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Nestled in North Beach, Pat’s Café is a cozy neighborhood spot great for grabbing a leisurely weekend brunch. With a regular breakfast and lunch menu on weekdays, Pat’s goes all out for weekend brunch. Diners can choose from crabcake benedicts or a shrimp scramble with tomato, spinach, basil and feta. A selection of mimosas are offered, including ones made with cranberry juice or pomegranate juice. A relaxed meal at Pat’s is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle from the nearby tourist-laden weekend crowds of Fisherman’s Wharf.
Hyde St. Pier
2905 Hyde St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
Local gem of the National Park Service, the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is the perfect spot for seniors passionate about history and all things nautical. Along Hyde Street Pier, visitors to the park will find a fleet of vessels ranging from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Ships range from the 300-foot Balclutha dating from 1886 to the 1907 steam tug Hercules. The museum houses the West Coast’s largest collection of maritime history and includes a massive number of ship plans, film, photographs, maps and more.
1199 9th Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94122
One of the many jewels of Golden Gate Park, the San Francisco Botanical Garden’s 55 acres include over 8000 different plant species. With an ideal year-round climate, numerous plants thrive in the garden. Guests can choose to stroll through a diverse number of collections including the Redwood Grove and California Natives or the High Elevation Palms. The museum opens at a senior-friendly 7:30 a.m. every day. There is a discounted senior admission for those over 65, but even better, entry is free for all San Francisco residents with proof of residency.
Joanna Metheny is a freelance writer covering all things South Bay. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.