Length 4.76 km (3 miles), terrain goes up a big hill, total gain 122 meters
Pictures courtesy of the creative folks at Flickr Creative Commons. Thanks!
San Francisco running routes:
Best San Francisco Running Routes: Overview
Marina Green to Golden Gate
Ft. Mason/Fisherman's Wharf/Telegraph Hill/Lombard Street
Golden Gate Park
For more running routes, see Route List.
San Francisco has to be one of the most fascinating cities to run in. The terrain is varied, challenging and is full of natural and man-made scenic wonders. There are wonderful parks, beautiful neighborhoods, creative people, hilltop vistas and a seemingly endless shoreline.
Here is a route that will take you through the main downtown sights, through old San Francisco. We'll start in the heart of town, at Union Square, then run down the main shopping area, Market Street to the Embarcadero ferry terminal at the water. Then we'll head uphill through Chinatown to the top of Nob Hill, the ritziest part of town, before following the cable-car tracks back down to the start.
NOTE: if you don't feel up to the Nob Hill climb (a rise of more than 100 meters), just keep running north along the bayshore at the Embarcadero, and turn back whenever you choose.
|Union Square, photo by Wally Gobetz|
Turn to the east, with Macy's to your right, and start running down Geary Street. Run straight down the street until it merges into Market Street, where you then head northeast. You can see the clock-tower of the old Embarcadero ferry terminal straight down the street, our next destination.
Market Street is one of the busiest downtown streets, and forms the main traffic artery for downtown. But the amount of cars is surprisingly limited. There are lots of electric buses and bicycles fighting for the space.
|Historic trams along Market Street, photo by Paul Fenton|
After about 700 meters, Market Street ends at the impressive Embarcadero, terminal for ferries across the bay.
|The ferry terminal in evening light, photo by Michael Ball|
|Embarcadero from the bayside, photo by David Yu|
|Transamerica Building pyramid, photo by Scott Beale|
But first you get to enjoy the unique atmosphere of Chinatown. You will cross Stockton Street, which is Chinatown's main street, full of Chinese restaurants and food stores. Definitely plan time to come back!
|Chinatown, photo by David Yu|
In the next block, the houses start getting nicer, you're getting into Nob Hill, San Francisco's oldest exclusive neighborhood.
|Nob Hill, photo by Pablo Reyes Betanzo|
Now turn left on Jones Street and run one block to Clay Street, where you turn left and run back downhill one block to Taylor Street again (this is nicer than Jones).
Now turn right on Taylor and run the two blocks to the heart of Nob Hill, Huntington Park, with Grace (Episcopal) Cathedral on the right side.
NOTE: Some of the scenes of the movie Bullitt were filmed around this square, and Steve McQueen lived on Taylor Street in the film, if you're a fan like I am.
|Huntington Park, photo by Pablo Reyes Betanzo|
Now run downhill the one block to Powell Street and its cable-car tracks again, where you turn right and continue running downhill, southwards the four blocks back to Union Square.