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Ideas and inspiration for walking in San Francisco during shelter-in-place and COVID-19

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UPDATE: Be sure to read our more recent post re: walking during shelter-in-place to keep in mind as you plan your walks. We also have a new post with ideas for solo walks.

We can still walk… and thank goodness

In the immediate aftermath of Monday’s citywide order to shelter-in-place due to COVID-19 and the word “lockdown” on everyone’s lips, I wondered what it meant for walking in San Francisco.

It was more than a relief to read the entire order and see that walking is considered an essential activity, and therefore exempt from the ban on travel. Here’s exactly what it says in Section 10:

To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Section, such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, or running.  

Remember: you must always maintain a 6+ foot distance from others in order to abide by current health requirements.

More than ever, we need to walk. The list of health benefits of walking has always been long, from boosting your immune system to fighting heart disease to reducing stress (obviously a more important benefit than ever).

But I’ve been experiencing other benefits of walking. Simply seeing people, even at a distance, heartens me. Witnessing magnolias in bloom in Golden Gate Park soothes me. Being out on foot feels like a gift… and such a powerful reminder of how walking is part of our shared humanity.  

So I wanted to share some ideas for walks big and small. I also encourage you to share photos and tips from your walks on social media with #IWalkSF. 

Big walks 

You can of course do short sections of any of these walks, or piece the entire walk together over multiple days.

Shorter walks

San Francisco is a walking city, and these lists of course barely scratch the surface. An excellent resource is The Walker’s Map of San Francisco, which you can order from Pease Press to be sent right to you since stores that carry it are currently closed.  

I hope you’ll share your ideas for walks on social media using #IWalkSF.

Banner image: Jason Henry for the New York Times for the article A 17-Mile Hike to Unite San Francisco