It's starting to feel like an early 2000s Nelly song both inside our domiciles and while out running errands. In lieu of air conditioning and open public swimming pools, here are a few socially distant ways to keep yourself cool during this heat wave — that’ll last for at least a few more days.
Looking for a way to escape the malice that is the 80-plus-degree air filling your bedroom? How about finding some outdoor respite from the ungodly temperatures on the otherside of your front door? Alas, there is a bevy of ways to beat the heat in San Francisco — all of which you can do while practicing proper social distancing.
I’ve lived in San Francisco for 22+ years and there are two things I genuinely do not ever recall experiencing before today:— Ethan Weiss (@ethanjweiss) August 15, 2020
1) Seeing a Trump 2020 hat
2) Being overwhelmed by the heat at Ocean Beach pic.twitter.com/pxx1mkS3uq
Here are five ways you can cool off around our seven-by-seven-mile slice of NorCal, sans close contact with others.
Go on a (Shaded) Socially Distant Hike
There's no shortage of hiking trails nestled in and around the Bay Area. But San Francisco, specifically, has more than its fair share of trailheads hidden beneath sprawling, dense canopies.
The pathways snaking through the Mount Sutro Hill Open Space Reserve are incredibly well shaded, and a traversing of the Batteries to Bluffs Trail, though not as sheltered from the sun, will put you in the way of some cool ocean breezes. Crissy Field, as well, always maintains a cold brisk, so a socially distant walk around the green space — which includes a 2.5-mile stretch of the San Francisco Bay Trail that sits between the foot of Fort Mason to the Warming Hut — can offer some relief from the heat.
Become a New Plant Parent
Nurseries are again open for business — which means you can find some sweat-free solace whilst picking out a brand new succulent to place on your WFH station.
Many of our top picks — Flora Grubb Gardens, Succulence, Sloat Garden Center — are still open for business amid the pandemic. Pro horticulture tip: aloe veras, ferns, and snake plants actively aid in cooling small indoor spaces.
Go Underground to Escape the Heat
Going beneath the soil during this heat wave seems like a reasonable coping mechanism. Though there are some ten or more publicly accessible caves in and around the Bay Area, only the hidden cave at the Sutro Baths is within SF city limits. Nevertheless, it’s an unfrequented bastion at Lands End... where you can mop your forehead at and stay for a while to calm your sweat glands.
A climb down to sea level from the Lands End parking lot lets you investigate the cave where you can meditate, read a book, or generally just chill — literally and figuratively speaking. Another, more urban spelunking endeavor can be had at the Broadway Tunnel (a.k.a the Robert C. Levy Tunnel) which features outboard sidewalks, where you can experience some quick relief from the sun if you’ve been walking around Nob Hill or Russian Hill.
Treat Yourself to One or Seven Scoops of Ice Cream
San Francisco’s brimming with ice cream parlors; a good amount of them are still operating during the global health crisis with both in-store ordering and takeout options.
Miyako Old-Fashioned Ice Cream, the only Black-owned ice cream parlor in San Francisco, is synonymous with sublime sub-$4, full-fat ice cream; The Castro Fountain is now open for pick up orders Wednesday through Sunday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Bi-Rite Creamery is selling their small batched, "happiness by scratch" ice cream for takeout.
Trek to the Beach — Close to Nightfall
As we've learned this weekend: San Francisco's beaches are insanely congested come late-morning and afternoon during this heat wave, people noting that it's hard to maintain proper space between other beachgoers. However, opting to forego sunbathing and, instead, head out to these shorelines after the sun has gone down offers you the best chance to enjoy the ocean — sans crowds. For safety reasons, stick to the beach or only go into knee-deep water; riptides — especially those off Ocean Beach — are notoriously dangerous, only made worse in the dark when it's hard to spot them.
And with nightly temps this week expected to still sit in the mid- to high-70s, a well-spaced beach trip will definitely help out. Heads up: China Beach is arguably SF's least-visited oceanfront, so it's your best bet to ensure your evening seaside break is socially distant.
Image: Priscilla Du Preez