Location: The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA. 

Running along the Embarcadero is a popular venue to get your miles in any day of the week. The route is filled with a number of things to steal your attention away from your run or is an ideal location to focus your energy on the task at hand, depending on what works best for you.

For me, it is a combination of the two. At times, I’ll be running and get lost in watching a dog playing in the grass and think about how Mika would love to be out there with me; other times, I’ll see another runner maybe a quarter mile in front of me and focus on trying to catch up to them.

This past Saturday, I was along the Embarcadero running 13 miles with a couple friends. Six of those 13 miles were along the Embarcadero (roughly three miles each way as an out and back). With our run starting at 8am, the foot traffic was light coming through Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 and picked up a little near the Ferry Building (image above with nice stretch of the Emarcadero). Due to the Farmers Market, there were plenty of people along the way with the “Look at all the runners out today” faces, a common look among early morning tourists. 

After the ferry building (heading south-east) comes some great art: Louise Bourgeois’s Crouching Spider and Cupid’s Span (Bow and Arrow) by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, both with the backdrop being a fantastic view of the Bay Bridge. These are great locations to take a moment and stretch and enjoy outside art up close. 

After running along the Bay and below the Bay Bridge, the culmination of the Embarcadero run is AT&T park, home of Major League Baseball’s Giants. Sticking with the theme of art, there are a number bronze statues worth mentioning outside the stadium. One is at Second Street of Orlando Cepeda, another at the south-east corner of the park of Juan Marichal, another at McCovey Point of Willie McCovey, and the other is at the main entrance off 3rd street of Willie Mays. All are wonderful pieces of art and viewable outside the ball park free of charge. 

On the way back from the park heading towards the Marina, I tend to enjoy the views of Coit Tower, Alcatraz, and the natural skyline of downtown San Francisco. Sure you can view these things on the way to the park, but I like to divide the ‘out and back’ into 2 different experiences. Either way, it is a fantastic 3 or 6 mile stretch that includes a number of visual stimuli and a great running environment with wide sidewalks to allow for the number of runners, walkers, cyclists, roller-bladers and tourists all enjoying the scenery in their own special way… perhaps for the first time.
If you have some RAVE RUNS, as Runner’s World likes to call them, feel free to share in the comments below. Run Strong.