There may not be another race in America quite like Bay to Breakers. San Francisco’s beloved spring tradition is more than 100 years old and is only getting more popular. Competitive racers and costume-clad runners from around the world take to the city’s beautiful streets and celebrate all the way to Ocean Beach.
Your 12K might take an hour — maybe a bit more. But the bookends to your race experience through San Francisco can be just as important. Whether you just flew in or call the Bay Area home, you’d be a costumed fool not to take advantage of this active city. Before and after the race, we’ve got just the place to fuel up or unwind — here’s your healthy guide to Bay to Breakers.
Did you forget something for the race at home? Sports Basement is your go-to for any last-minute needs (OK, or your wants). There’s a location in the Presidio (perfect for taking a warm-up run) and one in SoMa for whatever you might need — be it shoes, a new sports bra, compression shorts or even just socks.
Fitness-lovers will want to stop by this sporting-goods outlet by Lake Merced. It has everything you need for training and for race day. On top of the obvious running gear, it carries camping gear, outdoor gear and apparel for pretty much every other sport you can think of.
This mecca of running gear is just across the Bay Bridge in Berkeley. Its staff can give you a full gait analysis in 12 minutes with its Shoe Dog fitting experience. Our favorite part of Road Runner? Its VIP Family return policy — if you don’t love your shoes after 90 days, bring ’em back, no questions asked.
Eating a healthy, nourishing meal the night before the race is an easy task at this Hayes Valley eatery, just a block off the B2B course. Everything on the menu is free of gluten, refined sugar and dairy. Get your carb load on with the curried cauliflower and sweet potato rice bowl (without that heavy, bloated feeling afterward).
If toast is your go-to, race-day breakfast, head to NoPa as soon as The Mill opens. The Four Barrell Coffee will perk you up and a slice of the house-made, whole-wheat bread with almond butter will power you to the finish line.
Stumptown Coffee may come from Portland, but it’s a signature brew at this Lower Pac Heights cafe. The almond milk latte is to die for. Consider popping in after the race for brunch (or anytime you’re in the area).
The best part of Bay to Breakers? The whole city is out and the run ends near this popular Outer Sunset eatery early enough that you may not have to sit through the long wait for brunch. You’ll want to try the eggs-in-jail and most likely the Dutch pancake, too. So be sure you work up an appetite during the race.
If anything gets us to the finish line of the race, it’s breakfast — and specifically, breakfast sandwiches (so satisfying after an 8 a.m. 12K). Trust us and stop by this Outer Sunset staple for its breakfast sandwich (two scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese and applewood smoked bacon on a homemade buttermilk biscuit). If you want to keep it lighter, the eggs in a bowl and homemade granola and yogurt are yummy options.
You’re going to need coffee after running seven-plus miles up and and down (but mostly up) all those hills. Put your name in at Outerlands for brunch and then head here for a warm corn muffin and a signature Snowy Plover (a shot of espresso mixed with San Pellegrino, housemade brown sugar syrup and thick whipped cream).
If it’s fermented, it must mean it’s good for us, right? We’ll keep that train of thought as we taste our way through this watering hole’s ever-revolving draft list (with a cider and sour thrown in for good measure) in this buzzy new Civic Center spot.
One of our favorite places on sunny days (especially sunny Sundays) is the roof of this Latin American eatery in the Mission District. Margaritas, mimosas and bloody Marias — what’s not to love? The menu is pretty great, too — think huevos rancheros, buñuelos (the Latin answer to the beignet) and plenty of guacamole.
Is laying out in the sun and just chilling your idea of relaxing post-race? Yeah — ours, too. From 2–7 p.m. on race day, post up at the Presidio to soak up some of those California rays, drink some kombucha and snack your way through the food trucks. Not only do you get your pick of some of the best culinary delights in San Francisco, but you’ll feel like a local, too. When you’re done, you can walk it off on one of the Presidio’s miles and miles of trails.
Here’s a little secret to some of the best sightseeing in the city: You’ll get the full Bay Area experience when you take the ferry here from the Ferry Building or just across the water in Tiburon. Hike around the island, see some abandoned buildings (including the Ellis Island of the West), and get those Insta-worthy views of San Francisco and the whole Bay.