My heart is always left behind when I go to San Francisco.

San Francisco felt like it should be home on my very first visit in 2000. It was my first trip outside the Midwest (unless you count Disney World and I don’t) and my first trip on a plane. It was colder than I had anticipated for California in July and we stayed at a hostel in the Mission. It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. But it was the first time I really felt at home, like I belonged.  Springfield has always been home but I’ve never quite felt like I was meant to be here. In San Francisco I blend. I mesh. I can breath.

Our most recent trip at the beginning of the month was a short one, just over a weekend, but it felt so good to relax into the flow of the city again. Since we were only there for a day and a half, I gave no pretense that I would work out while we were there. I knew I would walk for miles so I wasn’t worried about a couple of days of indulgence in some of the best food in America.

Staying fit in San Francisco is easy. Just like Manhattan you should see the city on foot. But San Francisco will give you an extra challenge with all those hills! If you have more time to spend there (which I highly recommend) here are some other great ways to stay fit in the City by the Bay.

  • Take a little hike or run with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge via the Presidio Coastal Trail. The trails provide the perfect interval workout with plenty of hills and stairs interspersed on paths that wind around the coastline and down to Old Fort Point. Just be warned – if you go all the way down to Old Fort Point you’ll have to back track from whence you came to reach the parking lot or Muni stop.
  • Need more workout clothes while you are there but don’t want to spend a fortune?  Target has a C9 store attached to it’s City Target near Yerba Buena Gardens. C9 makes durable, fashionable and reasonably priced workout clothes. I love their workout pants that come in short (my size), regular and long, making it easier to find the right fit for every body. The store is much bigger than the little patch devoted to C9 at my local Target.
  • Get the freshest fruits and veggies at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. As I said, we’ve been to San Francisco several times before. Yet this was my first visit to The Ferry Building. I was in awe at the size and selection. You can get everything from oranges to Indian chutneys to oysters with a chance to sample many things before you buy. Eat a light lunch before so you can try their wares without going too crazy.  Be armed with cash because many vendors don’t take plastic. Be sure to stock up on trail mix, dried fruit and roasted almonds for snacking on later or for the plane ride home.
  • See the sites on a bike. This is one thing in San Francisco we’ve never done but I am dying to try! Bike tours are available starting at Fisherman’s Wharf and at the Golden Gate Bridge. Peddling those hills will leave your calves and quads ready to relax in the hotel hot tub.
  • Our hotel had a gym but if yours doesn’t, check out Crunch for free! Stop by the Lucy apparel store at the Embarcadero Center and pick up a free 5 day guest pass.  Or just run the spiral staircases in the Embarcadero Center and replenish afterwards with a protein frozen yogurt at Yogen Fruz.

Do you love San Francisco as much as I do? What fit adventure did I miss?

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