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Great Places to Eat Lunch Outside in SoMa

Updated on February 4, 2011

You can enjoy the great outdoors - even during the workweek!

You may sit in an office all day, but that doesn’t mean that you have to eat in it if you bring your own lunch. Likewise, you are not limited to crowded restaurants and cafes if you’re eating out in the afternoon. SoMa is full of lovely outdoor lunch spots for those who take-away or pack their noontime meals. Some of them, surely, you know well, but perhaps some of these lovely spots will surprise you!

Lovely lawn area - perfect for a picnic!
Lovely lawn area - perfect for a picnic!
One might also enjoy a view of SF MOMA from another location
One might also enjoy a view of SF MOMA from another location

Yerba Buena Gardens

An obvious choice and complete must in this overview is Yerba Buena Gardens. Yerba Buena Gardens offers one of the most popular outdoor eating spots in SoMa. There are many benches and boulders to perch on, however many opt to enjoy their snacks and noontime meals from the beautiful green lawn, amongst the softly rolling mini-slopes.

Keep in mind that the gardens can be enjoyed from many vantage points- benches along the outside of the grassy area, on the grass itself, or even above the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial with its fountain, either on the more general benches near the water or on the patios by B Bar and the Samovar Tea Lounge. No matter where you sit, you’ll have a lovely view and see a flowing stream of interesting people ambling about.

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There are some lovely restaurants around the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and both shady and sunny spots to take a breather.The area in front of the museum offers many benches and a fountain.Don't forget to grab a cream puff at Beard Papa's!
There are some lovely restaurants around the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and both shady and sunny spots to take a breather.
There are some lovely restaurants around the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and both shady and sunny spots to take a breather.
The area in front of the museum offers many benches and a fountain.
The area in front of the museum offers many benches and a fountain.
Don't forget to grab a cream puff at Beard Papa's!
Don't forget to grab a cream puff at Beard Papa's!

In front of the Contemporary Jewish Museum

This sunny area has lots of space, water, shade, and sunshine, as well as plenty of benches, making it a popular lunch spot for those who have brought their own lunches, as well as snacks purchased at nearby restaurants (perhaps a cream puff form Beard Papa’s)! As it’s also somewhat of a thoroughfare, it makes for good people watching.

A
contemporary jewish museum:
Contemporary Jewish Museum of San Francisco, 736 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

get directions

B
yerba buena gardens:
Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

get directions

By Golden Gate University

This lunch spot, also complete with greenery and a fountain, is somewhat removed from the street, affording it a calmer, more reclusive feel.

Shaded as it is form excessive sunshine and direct street noise, one can have a little scape in this enclave, though one might feel somewhat outnumbered by busy students cramming for their next quiz.

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Cool statue!Modern benchesLovely trees!
Cool statue!
Cool statue!
Modern benches
Modern benches
Lovely trees!
Lovely trees!

Next to 555 Mission

This lovely spot offers interesting bench configurations as well as a lovely mini sculpture garden in what could easily have become an unfriendly corridor.  As this area is closer to where the new Transbay Terminal shall be constructed, it may be more vulnerable to dust and noise pollution over the next couple of years, however the area is meticulously maintained by a staff of very friendly people, and is certainly a lovely place to have a break and snack on something delicious.

Aha! The Mixt Greens line is loooong today!
Aha! The Mixt Greens line is loooong today!

Outside 560 Mission

This outdoor, corridor complete with a moving statue, is quite the place to see and be seen around lunch time, when the area is packed with Pilgrims in line for their Mixt Greens. There are few benches, but the edges of the fountain offer ample seating, and one will be thoroughly amused by the well-heeled parade of Corporate Types that busily marches by.

One of the major benefits to this space is it sees a bit more shade than many of the other outdoor lunch spots available, which is a bonus when you’re trying to polish that pasty office glow of yours and stave off skin cancer. Keep in mind, however, that because Mixt Greens is a very popular lunch spot, this place will be quite crowded around lunch time, so it’s more of a tuck-in-and-watch-the-crowd-go-by place and less of a get-some-space-to-oneself lunch spot.

A
555 mission sf:
555 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA

get directions

B
560 mission sf:
560 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA

get directions

C
golden gate university sf:
Golden Gate University, 536 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105-2968, USA

get directions

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What a nice spot!And nobody would suspect it's over a parking garage!
What a nice spot!
What a nice spot!
And nobody would suspect it's over a parking garage!
And nobody would suspect it's over a parking garage!

Above the 100 First Public Parking Garage

This is a pleasant little bench, fountain, and garden area where one can enjoy a sunny lunch amongst the elevated shrubberies in an area that is typically not all that scenic.

Though this rooftop garden can get a bit toasty on warmer days, it’s a great destination for those cooler SF afternoons we sometimes get - at least it’s marginally closer to the sun than many other places around.

Happy Lunching!

No matter where you eat, I hope you enjoy a lovely lunch.  If you enjoy it somewhere pleasant, you'll find you're more productive when you get back to the office!

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