Pacifica: Sleepy, But Far From Boring

Pacifica: Sleepy, But Far From Boring


So many of us venture over a bridge or down the windy Highway 1 for weekend escapes. But how about saving some gas and spending a few easy-going hours in San Francisco's coastal neighbor, Pacifica? Just 15 miles south of the city, and founded at the same time as San Francisco, in 1769, by Spanish explorers, Pacifica is a sleepy coastal town with bohemian charm and many hidden gems. Sleepy yes, boring no. Even though Pacifica means “peaceful” in Spanish, it's fast growing as a surf town and affordable staycation destination.

Water sports, yoga, dining, bowling, wine tasting, hiking, biking, fishing, shopping, golf, and relaxing, Pacifica is a NorCal up-and-comer for those seeking unpretentious refuge. Little did we know, there's lot going on and you can scout it all out on the newly revamped tourist website: Keep an ear out for The Surf Spot in the next year — an outdoor space by the Sea Bowl bowling alley, with fog-resistant heat lamps, featuring live music and cool events. Until then, here's a rundown of some food, shopping, and fun things to help you get to know low-pro Pacifica.

Food & Drink

Nick's Seashore Restaurant: Pacifica's most iconic dining experience with a throwback vibe. Best place to catch a sunset and do a little dancing. The crab and tomato sandwich and New England Clam Chowder are winners.

Salada Beach Cafe: Tasty and friendly breakfast and lunch in a historic building. Book exchange and hard-to-find Salvadorian Pupusas.

A Grape in the Fog: Pacifica's only wine bar with happy hour every day, live music Saturday nights, gourmet suppers, art openings, and endless special events.

Barolo Restaurant: A modern, yet cozy Italian joint right behind Fresh & Easy.

Fresh & Easy: Grab cheap and perfectly-packaged groceries post-surf.

Granucci's: Mediterranean Pacific fusion restaurant on the northern end of Pacifica. Pizza and brunch also served.

Gorilla BBQ: Chow down on some ribs after a successful surf.

La Playa Taqueria: Right next to Gorilla, a simple taqueria with outside seating and generous servings.

The world famous Taco Bell: If you must.

The Best Western Lighthouse Inn: A new restaurant is in the works...


NorCal Surf Shop: Surf, SUP, kiteboarding, and skate lessons, board and wetsuit rentals, beach bum clothing, cool sunglasses, extensive flip flop selection.

Sonlight Surf Shop: Surf and paddleboard rentals and sales, a good selection of women's wetsuits.

Annabee's Doggie Boutique & Cafe: Handmade eco-friendly dog accessories and toys, kitty corner, doggie cafe serving organic baked goods and entrees.

Sirens: Beachy gift shop with oodles of ocean-inspired lotions and soaps, cute kids items, and wine accessories.

Fitness & Fun:

Surfing Linda Mar, Rockaway, and Pacifica Pier: Beginners enjoy party waves at Linda Mar, while more seasoned surfers tackle Rockaway and the Pier.

Hiking: Tons of walking and hiking options. Notable trails are along the Milagra Ridge, Mori Point Headlands, and Sweeney Ridge.

Pacifica Dunes: Frolic in the soft, super fun sand dunes.

Ocean Yoga: Super zen studio in Sharp Park with yoga, pilates, bellydancing classes, and massage.

Sharp Park Golf Course: 18 holes with seaside views and a resident fox.

Segway rides: Cruise Pacifica’s beaches and hills on a silly Segway.

Pacifica Skate Park: With views of the Pacific, the park has a cement street course and half pipes.

Fishing: Catch salmon and striped bass from the Pacifica Pier.

Paragliding: Enjoy an adrenaline rush and coastal beauty from a birds eye view.

Horseback riding: There are two horse-riding trails in The Crystal Springs Reservoir. Giddy up.

Sea Bowl: A modern 32-lane bowling alley inside a retro facade; right in the heart of Pacifica.

Upcoming Pacifica Events:

Every Wednesday - Coastside Farmer’s Market at Rockaway Beach from 2:30 - 6:30PM.

Sept. 24, 25 - 26th Annual Annual Pacific Coast Fog Festival on Palmetto Avenue in Pacifica. The festival was created in 1986 to promote Pacifica’s coastal climate, and include a parage, sand castle contest and marching band competition. Arts and Crafts booths, F&B offerings, and the famous FogCutter cocktail define this street fair extravaganza.

Oct. 17 - The First Annual Golf Tournament at Sharp ParkGolf Course includes 18 holes of golf (best ball), lunch and dinner at the course, along with awards and prizes. Early registration is $150 before Sept. 10; $170 thereafter. For more information, call 650-355-4122 or email

Samantha Durbin ( is a lifestyle writer who honed her blogging skills as Editor of Samantha graduated from The Fashion Institute of Technology, and also writes for San Francisco magazine and Gilt City.

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