Bikers and hikers traverse the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, bound for the Marin Headlands or the winding trails of the Presidio. Runners, strollers, and cyclists head for Golden Gate Park's wooded paths, and water lovers satisfy their addictions by kayaking, sailing, kite-surfing, and even swimming in the bay and along the rugged Pacific coast.
Prefer to watch from the sidelines? The Giants (baseball) play in San Francisco, as do the Golden State Warriors (basketball; at the Chase Center in Mission Bay); the A's (baseball) play in Oakland; and the 49ers (football) are based in Santa Clara. But the city has plenty of other periodic sporting events to spectate, including that roving costume party, the Bay to Breakers race in May. For events listings and local perspectives on Bay Area sports, pick up a copy of the San Francisco Chronicle (www.sfchronicle.com), SFGate (www.sfgate.com), or the San Francisco Examiner (www.sfexaminer.com).
Oakland Athletics. Baseball's Oakland Athletics, also called the Oakland A's, has a loyal following among locals in Oakland and enjoys a fierce rivalry with the San Francisco Giants just across the bay. The team hopes to move from its RingCentral Coliseum stadium to a proposed new waterfront ballpark at Jack London Square, perhaps in 2023, but Major League Baseball is also allowing the team to consider relocating to another city; stay tuned. RingCentral Coliseum, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, California, 94621. 877/493--2255; mlb.com/athletics.
San Francisco Giants. Three World Series titles (2010, 2012, and 2014) and the retro-modern design of Oracle Park lead to sellouts for nearly every home game the National League team plays, so make plans in advance. Oracle Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, between 2nd and 3rd Sts., SoMa, San Francisco, California, 94107. 415/972–2000; www.mlb.com/giants.
San Francisco is known for its treacherously steep hills, so it may be surprising to see so many cyclists. This is actually a great city for biking—there are ample bike lanes, it's not hard to find level ground with great scenery (especially along the water), and if you're willing to tackle a challenging uphill climb, you're often rewarded with a fabulous view—and a quick trip back down.
San Francisco 49ers. State-of-the-art Levi's Stadium, 45 miles south of San Francisco, has more than 13,000 square feet of HD video boards. Home games usually sell out far in advance. Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com) and StubHub (www.stubhub.com) are sources for single-game tickets. Levi's Stadium, 4900 Marie P. DeBartolo Way, from San Francisco, take U.S. 101 S to Lawrence Expressway and follow signs, Santa Clara, California, 95054. 800/745–3000; 866/788–2482; 415/464–9377; www.49ers.com.
San Francisco is spectacular for running. There are more than 7 miles of paved trails in and around Golden Gate Park; circling Stow Lake and then crossing the bridge and running up the path to the top of Strawberry Hill is a total of 2½ miles. An enormously popular route is the 2-mile raised bike path that runs from Lincoln Way along the ocean, at the southern border of Golden Gate Park, to Sloat Boulevard, which is the northern border of the San Francisco Zoo. (Stick to the park's interior when it's windy, as ocean gusts can kick up sand.) From Sloat Boulevard, you can pick up the Lake Merced bike path, which loops around the lake and the golf course, to extend your run another 5 miles.
The paved path along the Marina provides a 1½-mile (round-trip) run along a flat, well-maintained surface and has glorious bay views. Start where Laguna Street meets Marina Boulevard, then run west along the Marina Green toward the Golden Gate and St. Francis Yacht Clubs, near the docks at the northern end of Marina Boulevard. On weekends beware: you'll have to wind through the crowds—but those views are worth it. You can extend your Marina run by jogging the paths through the restored wetlands of Crissy Field, just past the yacht harbor, then up the hill to the Golden Gate Bridge.
The San Francisco Bike Map & Walking Guide, available at booksellers or through the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (sfbike.org/resources/maps-routes), which indicates hill grades on city streets by color, is a great resource. Online, check the San Francisco Road Runners Club site (www.sfrrc.org) for some recommended routes and links to several local races.