Just an hour away, this seaside spot is full of charm.
Courtesy of Pacifica Chamber of Commerce
9 a.m. Fuel up for the day at Moonraker Restaurant, where floor-to-ceiling windows offer breathtaking views of the beach and surf. To get a sense of the city’s true flavor, opt for the Dungeness crab eggs benedict. You can see locals catching the crabs off the nearby pier in the early morning. (650) 557-7025, moonrakerpacifica.com.
11 a.m. Tackle the waves with University of Surfing, which holds two-hour group lessons throughout the week for $100. Outfitted in a wetsuit, you’ll barely notice the chilly water, once you catch a wave and ride it to shore. Lots of newbies learn to stand up during their first class. (650) 556-6515, universityofsurfing.com.
1:15 p.m. A hopping new addition to the restaurant scene, Surf Spot is a fitting place to relax with lunch and a beer, after mastering the water. Locally sourced ingredients shine in offerings such as tangy kale salad and wood-fired pizzas, best enjoyed while listening to live music on a grassy hill in the expansive outdoor dining area. (650) 355-7873, surfspoteats.com.
2:15 p.m. Delve into Pacifica’s unique history with a visit to Sam’s Castle, a stone fortress built after the quake of 1906. Guides from the Pacifica Historical Society lead visitors on a 90-minute tour of the opulently decorated rooms, and may even share a little lore on the castle’s reported hauntings. (650) 359-5462, pacificahistory.org/castle-tour.
4 p.m. Explore more of Pacifica’s natural surroundings with a hearty hike up Sweeney Ridge to Bay Discovery Site. On the climb to the 1,200-foot-high summit—where a small monument recognizes Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portolà, who was the first European to see the San Francisco Bay—you’ll have endless views of the ocean and Mount Diablo in the distance. (415) 561-4323, parksconservancy.org.
5:30 p.m. Pacifica’s newest restaurant, Puerto 27, brings the flavors of Peru to another handsome space boasting striking ocean views. Order a clásico pisco sour, which comes with the number 27 “stamped” on the top with bitters, a spicy house maki made with aji amarillo–infused yellow potato puree, and any of the hearty Peruvian stews or fresh ceviche dishes. (650) 733-7343, puerto27.com.
9 p.m. Before calling it a night, stop by Nick’s for drinks and dancing. On Friday and Saturday nights, bands rock the stage, and couples crowd the dance floor to line dance, waltz, or just sway back and forth. If you’re feeling tipsy, head across the street to the Best Western Lighthouse Hotel for the night. (650) 359-3900, nicksrestaurant.net.