I Spy: The Haute 5 Places to People Watch in San Francisco

People watching in San Francisco is about as easy as it gets. Our mercantile metropolis by the sea provides a plethora of attractive, interesting, colorful, or unique (read: totally crazy) individuals for your viewing pleasure on every chaotic corner. However, if you need a little guidance, because watching the homeless gentleman on Chestnut with a rat atop a cat atop a dog isn’t really your scene, then let today’s Haute 5 be your guide to public people perusal.


Prime placement on the Embarcadero makes Americano’s outside seating area the perfect people watching post on these long, lighter evenings. Americano is great place to catch up with the locals, with plenty of seating and a delicious menu. From runners to rollerbladers to gaggles of pretty people done with a day’s work, this is the place to sip a cocktail and perfect the art of peripheral vision.

Americano is located at 8 Mission St., 415.278.3777

Dolores Park

The sun is shining and the weather is sweet and Dolores Park is the best place for a viewers treat. This sprawling, green and palatial park just happens to be situated in a part of the city doused in sparkling sunshine and rarely in fog. That means a healthy clientele of young diverse and haute sun worshipers are out and about enjoying nature’s respite at any given time, making it a an ideal locale for a tasty and educational people-watching picnic.

Dolores Park is located at 18th St. and Dolores St.

Yerba Buena Gardens

Beyond being situated right next to the Asian Art Museum and the MOMA, which are major draws for interesting and intellectual people alike, Yerba Buena Gardens is a perfect place for a lunchtime lounge or a mid-day stroll. Fountains, greenery, statuesque artwork and loads of patrons make for plenty to see, hear and of course, watch.

Yerba Buena Gardens is located at 745 Mission St.

The Grove

The Grove is a grand place to grab a burger or a salad, situate yourself at one of their outside tables and watch the Marina stroll by while soaking in the afternoon sun.  Legions of Lululemon-clad ladies on their way to Pilates will jog by, while San Francisco’s hautest parents can be seen pushing their strollers up and down Chestnut Street. Not only is this an area with excellent food options, but it also boasts excellent shopping options, making it a destination on any given day of the week and ensuring that people watching will be plentiful.

The Grove is located at 2250 Chestnut St., 415.474.4843

Redwood Room

Right inside the Clift Hotel is a little lounge known as the Redwood Room. Not a secret so much as a society, the Redwood Room draws one of the hippest and hautest crowds in San Francisco. Posh patronage, luxurious decorations, and muted lighting makes the ambiance perfect for scoping and watching and generally enjoying your surroundings over a dry, delicious martini.

The Redwood Room is located at 495 Geary St., 415.929.2372