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Food & Drink

Sick of the cold? Try one of these warm and toasty things to do

Ellie Williams (left), Cantwell Muckenfuss (center) and James Brennan (right) dine at 20 Spot in San Francisco. | Juliana Yamada/The Standard

Love it or hate it, San Francisco has pretty much the same weather all year—and that weather is not supposed to include near-freezing temperatures, thank you very much.

So for the Bay Area folks who can’t take another day of sleet, wind and icy air, here are some warm and toasty ideas for ways to spend your day.

Hot chocolate at La Oaxaqueña in the Mission | Olivia Cruz Mayeda/The Standard

Sip Some Cocoa 

Whether you prefer your hot chocolate scooped instead of poured, or you’re looking for a spot you can settle into late at night with friends, check out this list of the best hot chocolate destinations.

Dry Out in a Sauna

Everyone in North Beach knows the public pool has a sauna. It’ll be crowded, but it’s a steal if you need a super dry spot to relax. 

City Lights Bookstore on Columbus Avenue in North Beach | Camille Cohen/The Standard

Cozy Up With a Good Book

Any one of the 29 branches of the SF Public Library would be happy to host you for an afternoon of good books. Or if you need to add some volumes to your collection, aim for one of SF’s independent bookstores like Green Apple or City Lights.

Prost Over Schnitzel

Long before it became “Cerebral Valley," Hayes Valley was a destination for authentic German beer and food. Locals still cram into the tiny bar at Suppenkuchë to wait for a warm bellyful of sauerbraten and spätzle.

Patrons studying an artwork at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco. | Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

Bask in the Glow of Fine Art

Several “hot” museum shows are closing in the next few weeks. Don’t miss your chance to see “Joan Brown” at SFMOMA and “The New Black Vanguard” at MoAD. 

Try Hot Yoga

If you’ve never tried Bikram yoga, it’s the perfect weather to get sweaty. Body Temp Yoga & Wellness in the Marina specializes in teaching beginners and, true to its mission, offers hot Pilates, as well. But it's not necessary to head to Chestnut Street: There are hot yoga studios in every corner of the city.

Share a Hot Pot

There’s nothing like a steaming hot pot or Korean stew at Toyose to take the edge off a foggy night in the Outer Sunset. 

Owner Paul K. Miller changes the record at The Royal Cuckoo in San Francisco. | Juliana Yamada/The Standard

Listen to Some LPs

Why does vinyl sound warmer than digital? No one knows, but head to the Royal Cuckoo, the 20 Spot or another of these favorite watering holes that specialize in spinning records.

Dip Into Fondue

The Matterhorn Restaurant makes you feel like you’ve stepped off Van Ness and into a Swiss chalet. The creamy cheeses, fresh-baked bread, peppercorn steak and broths will warm your entire being.

Golden spiral sculpture, colorful flowers, and a white domed conservatory under a clear blue sky.
The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park on a sunny day | Courtesy SF Arts Commission | Source: Courtesy SF Arts Commission

Stroll Through a Hot House

The balmy floral oasis at the Conservatory of Flowers is always a good 10-20 degrees warmer than any San Francisco cold front.  (How else can you keep it from becoming a "Little Shop of Horrors"?!)

Escape Into a Virtual World

Sandbox VR delivers a full-body virtual reality experience that’ll raise your body temperature while you battle aboard Davy Jones’ pirate ship, fight off space aliens in Amber Sky or blast through terrifying zombies in Deadwood Valley. 

A man pours coffee into a line of clear glasses on a bar.
Bartender Paul Nolan makes Irish coffees at the Buena Vista Cafe. | Paul Chinn/The Chronicle via Getty Images | Source: Paul Chinn/The Chronicle/Getty Images

Down an Irish Coffee

While the Buena Vista Cafe didn’t invent the Irish Coffee, it’s the establishment most associated with the whisky-laden drink, which has been serving it up in its signature glass mugs since 1952. 

Soak in Hot Springs 

Dip into hot and cold tubs, relax in the dry sauna, detox in the steam room and take advantage of a massage or facial at the spa at Kabuki Hot Springs.

Putt Around

Urban Putt features a unique 14-hole indoor mini golf course paired with informal American grub and beverages in the Mission. The entire course takes about an hour during which you’re usually elbow-to-elbow with other golfers, making for a cozy round of 18.

The Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar in the Fairmont Hotel | Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Pretend You’re in the Tropics

Sip umbrella-topped Polynesian-fusion cocktails and mai tais to your heart’s content at Last Rites or the Tonga Room. Just ignore the fake rain.

Shelley D. Fargo contributed additional research for this story.