Hanging out in Mission Bay. (CC) Bhautik Joshi
One of the fastest changing parts of San Francisco is Mission Bay, a South-of-Market shoreline neighborhood in the midst of a redevelopment boom. Start this three-mile jaunt at AT&T Park, crossing McCovey Cove on Third Street to reach China Basin Park, a thin strip of green space facing the home of the World Champion San Francisco Giants. On game days, the park is crowded with fans and the energy level can get frenetic, but at other times, you and your dog can explore the Giants History Walk or simply cuddle on a bench and enjoy the spring sunshine and the views.
Follow the shoreline south, past Piers 48 and 50, and pick up the San Francisco Bay Trail (mostly on sidewalk in this section) to access Bayfront and Agua Vista parks. Don’t have high expectations: aside from a public fishing pier, a couple of picnic tables and views of ships in dry dock at Pier 70, this 7.5-acre space is a work in progress. But it’s also just a short stroll from your goal: Mission Rock Resort, a locals’ hangout since long before the Giants moved downtown.
Like so much in SoMa, Mission Rock has been recently renovated, with food and ambience much more upscale than before. The views of a sailboat marina and nearby shipyards remain the same, however, and make a visit here feel like a real getaway. Come during happy hour (Monday-Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.) to enjoy 99-cent oysters and $5 draft beer. Sunday brunch is another good option.
On the stroll back to the ballpark, head inland a few blocks and make for Mission Creek Park, three rolling acres of grass, trees and pathways set about with benches on the banks of Mission Creek. Did you know that San Francisco has a houseboat community? It does, and you’ll see the decked-out vessels moored right here. Cross the creek on Fourth Street and follow the walkway to the park’s northern sector, which boasts a fenced, off-leash dog park. It’s small but well maintained space with a gravel surface, a bit of grass and some shaded benches. Need a pick-me-up? The nearby Berry Street location of Philz Coffee is so dog-friendly it even gives out treats!