Ocean Beach (Courtesy of Esther Cuan)

Modern Guide to the Outer Sunset: Surf, Sand, Craft, and Cafes in SF's Quintessential Beachside 'Hood

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This sleepy neighborhood has all the dreamy beachside vibes (even if it is foggy AF), and makes for the perfect getaway from city life.

Waiting for you in the Outer Sunset are rows of candy-colored bungalows, long stretches of sand and surf, and some of the coziest coastal cafes, coolest surf shops, and boutiques and workshops for lovers of craft and design. This 'hood is also home to the original $4 toast.


Shopping in the Outer Sunset, San Francisco

Mollusk (4500 Irving St.) has cornered the market on California's best waves as a one-stop shop—with everything from wetsuits and surf boards to casual summer wear and sunglasses—with locations in SF, Venice Beach, and Silver Lake. Look for their shows of surf-themed art. // General Store (4035 Judah St.) is beloved among boho jetsetters with an eye for well-made goods, be they vintage or modern furniture, flowing dresses, boyfriend jeans, household items, jewelry, or small treasures. Head out back to their photogenic garden. // Just up the block, grab a stack of books from Black Bird Bookstore's (4033 Judah St.) light-filled, minimalist shop—be sure to check out their events, too. // Stop by Woodshop (3725 Noriega St.), a workspace and showroom offering custom hardwood furnishings and high-performance wooden surfboards, all created by four artists with a shared love of design and craft. // Nearby on Noriega, Establish (3811 Noriega St) has a handpicked selection of vintage clothing, jewelry, home goods—and even design services—in an aesthetically pleasing, succulent-filled setting. // Interior design studio and home goods shop Field Theory (3600 Lawton St.) is a must. // Rent a surfboard, shop custom apparel, and grab a spam musubi or avo toast at the coffee-slash-surf-shop Avenues San Francisco's (3606 Taraval St.). // Artists will love Case for Making (4037 Judah St.) for handmade watercolors, art supplies, and various workshops. // Don't skip a visit to 3 Fish Studios (4541 Irving St.), the light and airy printmaking studio and gallery known for its iconic "I Love You California" prints.

Outer Sunset's Best Restaurants + Bars

Sister spots Java Beach Café (1396 La Playa St.) and Beachside Coffee Bar & Kitchen (4300 Judah St.) serve easy American fare made with locally sourced ingredients—think granola bowls and croissants, sandwiches, fresh salads, bagels, and burgers—perfect for a quick pre-beach brunch or lunch. // Longtime fans of the homey, seaside fare (hearty grilled cheese with soup for lunch; Dutch pancakes in a cast iron pan for brunch; sausage and clams for dinner) flock to Outerlands (4001 Judah St.) any time of day. Looking to brunch here on the weekend? Come early and plan to wait. // Vegans—and even carnivores looking for a beach-ready meal—will love the heaping açaí bowls, fresh juices, and raw, plant-based dishes at Judahlicious (3906 Judah St.). // Visit neighborhood favorite The Pizza Place (3901 Noriega St.) for dinner and order a large Spicoli—"Who ordered the double cheese and sausage?"—or create your own pie from a list of more than 30 toppings. // Or, if you're in search of a slice of 'za on the go—plus burgers and sandwiches—stop by SF Hole in the Wall Pizza (1825 Irving St.). // Ever dreamed of drifting off to an unpronounceable place, catching fish, and living off the land? Christian Morobito actually did it (for three months). Now, he's co-opened Hook Fish Co. (4542 Irving St.), where you can eat seafood caught right off the Californian coast, in the form of poke burritos, trout salads, and delicious fish-and-chips. // The multi-million dollar An family restaurant empire (which includes Polk Street's Crustacean and food truck An The Go) all started with Thanh Long (4101 Judah St.) in 1971. Their roasted crab and garlic noodles with tiger prawns are still worth the wait. // Cure the foggy day blues with the heaping plates of enchiladas and fajitas—and plenty of margaritas—at Celia's by the Beach (4019 Judah St.).

Coffee and Treats

Devil's Teeth Baking Company's (3876 Noriega St.) sweet and savory treats have proven to be the tastiest in the Outer Sunset. Get the special breakfast sandwich—two scrambled eggs, pepper jack cheese, avocado, and bacon on a buttermilk biscuit with lemon-garlic aioli—or stop by on a Sunday morning for a cheddar bacon beer muffin. // A neighborhood success story turned Bay Area phenomenon, Trouble Coffee (4033 Judah St.) has its OG HQ here in this tiny spot built from wood sourced at nearby Ocean Beach. But you're not here for the atmo: Grab your espresso, a fresh coconut, and a thick slice of cinnamon-sugar toast (yep, they pretty much started the toast trend) and take it outside where you can perch on a piece of driftwood in the parklet // Spend a grey afternoon in a coffee-scented nook at Andytown Coffee Roasters (3629 Taraval St. & 3655 Lawton St.). Make sure to try to Irish soda bread, a nod to co-owner Michael McCrory's Irish roots, and the Snowy Plover, an espresso soda topped with whipped cream. // If you're lucky enough to find yourself in the Outer Sunset on a sunny day, be sure to grab a freshly made scoop at Polly Ann Ice Cream (3138 Noriega St.)—spin the flavor wheel if you're feeling adventurous.

Drinks + Late Night Eats

Trade your ideas of a sand-filled surfer bar for a more grown-up beachside feel with cozy, low lighting and open seating at cocktail bar White Cap (3608 Taraval St.). // Or grab a drink, sit by the roaring fireplace, and take in the live music at Riptide (3639 Taraval St.), the Bay Area's "best little honky-tonk by the beach." // For a selection of beers on tap and tasty bar bites—think battered mushrooms, fried chicken sandwiches, and wings—stop by After Hours (3044 Taraval St.). // Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company (1735 Noriega St.) serves up seasonal California comfort food in a two-story space. Grab a craft beer (or a few) or a mimosa with brunch. // Quite literally a hole in the wall—the restaurant is in a converted garage—and with a kitchen open until 2am, Toyose (3814 Noriega St.) is one of the city's best spots for late-night Korean comfort food and sake. // Nothing says late night like $2 street tacos and $4 Dos Equis drafts during Underdogs Too's (3600 Taraval St.) "reverse happy hour and a half" from 10:30 pm to midnight.

Things to Do in the Outer Sunset, San Francisco

A verdant oasis with steep, forested slopes, Pine Lake Park (Sloat Blvd. & Vale Ave.) is home to Pine Lake, one of the few remaining natural lakes in San Francisco. The park's main attraction, Sigmund Stern Grove, was private land until 1932, and since 1938, has been host to a series of annual free musical performances from June through August. // Ocean Beach, the Outer Sunset's 3.5-mile stretch of wide sand is one of the best parts of living in the city. Almost never crowded and too far away for many tourists, on any given day you'll find the shore dotted with runners, surfers, and dogs playing off their leashes. Chill at the beach at night and have a bonfire—just show up early to nab one of the designated bonfire pits between Fulton and Lincoln Streets. // Get your step count in and see the Sunset's grid-like layout from above with a trip to the tiled Hidden Garden Steps (1520 16th Ave.). // If the Outer Sunset's constant fog is too much for you, center yourself inside with a yoga class at one of the neighborhood's many studios. Ocean Beach Yoga SF (3925 Judah St.) offers classes ranging from Mom & Baby to Candlelit Restorative. // Or, sweat it out with a Vinyasa Flow or mat pilates class in Yoga Beach's (4501 Irving St.) well lit, tranquil space.


// Looking for your first home or your next home in the Outer Sunset? Start your search and find your home at zephyrre.com. Thank you to our sponsors at Zephyr.

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