15 Best Things to Do in San Bruno (CA)

San Bruno is a quiet suburb in the Greater Bay Area that is family-friendly.

You can find great scenic hotspots all around the Bay, so head to the coast or to one of the scenic hillside parks. Enjoy the rugged beauty of the Bay.

Bruno is not only famous for his many natural beauty spots, but the city also has excellent links to the many museums, galleries and shopping areas that this area of California is known for.

These are the top 15 things to do around San Bruno, California.

1. Hike San Bruno Mountain

San Francisco Skyline from San Bruno Mountain State Park

This mountain, located in San Francisco’s middle, towers over San Bruno and offers a 360-degree view of the Pacific Ocean. The ocean fog is a hallmark of the San Bruno area. From the top of this mountain, it looks almost magical.

You can follow the trails to find wildflowers, rare plants and pickable fruits, or you can bring a bicycle and ride the hillsides. The fresh ocean breezes are a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of the city below.

2. Slide at Junipero Serra Park

Junipero Serra Park

Despite being in the middle of large areas of urban sprawl, San Bruno has many wonderful green spaces. Junipero Serra is named after the Spanish Friar “the Apostle California”, who discovered this hilly area in the 18th Century. It is one of the best.

These hills rise above San Francisco and offer great views of the bay. The creek and woodland are protected wildlife zones.

You can wander amongst the old trees or discover the famous mega-long slides in this playground, which is loved by both children and adults.

3. Race at the K1 Go-karting Track

Go Kart

This popular racetrack can be found just north of San Bruno and is a great way to spend an afternoon.

You’ll feel like a professional racecar driver with cool helmets and comfortable carts. If you win, you’ll be able to take the trophy to your podium.

For adrenaline-fuelled excitement, try one of their sprint runs, or an endurance test for a true challenge.

After racing is over, stop by the cafe for refreshments or a visit to the arcade for additional games.

4. Visit the SFO Louis A. Torpen Aviation Museum

SFO Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum

This museum and library are located right next to San Francisco Airport. It was once the old passenger lobby from the 1930s. It’s worth visiting the building to see its amazing retro architecture.

This museum is home to a collection of miniature planes, as well as many cute exhibits. Explore the fascinating history and aviation-related books in the library.

The museum’s most notable feature is the aviation-themed art section.

5. Stroll along Pacifica Pier

Pacifica Pier

Source: Kevin Maclean / shutterstockPacifica Pier

This 400-meter-long fishing spot is located just west of San Bruno.

This pier was once used to dispose of sewage into the Pacific Ocean. It has been transformed into a popular spot for sunbathers, ice-cream lovers, and local fishermen. People come to this pier in bad weather to see the huge waves crashing over it.

The Pacifica area is known for its natural beauty and great hiking opportunities.

Be sure to take a stroll on the adjacent beach or stop by a local cafe while you enjoy the sunset over the ocean.

6. Swim at the Orange Memorial Park

Orange Memorial Park

Orange Park is another great park in San Bruno. It has all you need. This park boasts great soccer, baseball, and basketball fields. The beautiful indoor swimming pool is a popular attraction in the hot summer.

You can bring your family to the adventure playground or have a barbecue at one of the grill pits.

This green space hosts regular farmers’ markets and is used as a community hub. You can find amazing organic produce and handcrafted items at the market.

7. Take a tour of Sam’s Castle

Sam’s Castle

San Bruno is only minutes away from Sam’s Castle, Pacifica, one of the most bizarre buildings in the Bay Area.

The mysterious manor house was modeled after a medieval castle. It is full of amazing antiques. The castle’s eccentric owners have added many layers to its history, making it a unique and fascinating place. It was used as an illegal abortion center, a speakeasy in the prohibition era and a coastguard station during WWII.

Enjoy a cup of high-quality tea in the battlements, and take in this fascinating gem’s bizarre history.

8. Make a trip to the Peninsula Art Museum

Peninsula Art Museum

This great museum is located just ten minutes from San Bruno. It’s both a performing arts center and a gallery. It focuses on local art and rotates its exhibits every month.

The museum is located in an old manor house and has a friendly and welcoming feel. The adjacent studios are home to a bohemian group of artists.

If you have the opportunity, you can stay the night to receive professional tuition by world-class painters or sculptors.

9. Mussel Rock Park – Take a day trip

Mussel Rock Park

This popular landmark is one of the top attractions in the Bay Area. Visit the coast to enjoy the many activities offered by this famous local landmark. This park is named after a large Pacific rock formation that provides great photo opportunities, especially if you are able to get close enough to the crashing waves.

These clamberers love the rugged, moody landscape.

You can view paragliders gliding across the bay from the cliffs. Or, don’t be afraid to put on a suit and give it a try.

10. Enjoy fine dining at JC Bruno’s

JC Bruno’s

This popular local restaurant is one of San Bruno’s best, and its chefs serve up fantastic modern-Mediterranean, French, and American classics to a very high standard.

JC’s offers a level of service and culinary excellence that you wouldn’t normally find in downtown San Francisco.

JC’s is well-known for its lobster-based dishes and great Italian desserts like Tiramisu or Pancotta.

Enjoy the best of San Bruno’s local cuisine with a bottle of wine, or beer.

11. Play at Artichoke Joe’s Casino

Artichoke Joe's Casino

The old casino is located in San Bruno’s heart. It was originally opened in 1916 as a pool hall. In the midst of farmland, the building was a place for gambling. When asked by the owner how he would pay the debt if his house was lost, he answered “in artichoke leafs”. Joe’s Artichoke Casino was thus born.

The building is grander today than it was in 1920s as a pool hall. However, it retains a warm, friendly feel and is a great place to play blackjack or poker with locals.

You can eat at the on-site steak restaurant or you can stay and drink at the bar as the professionals work.

12. Pay your Respects at the Golden Gate National Cemetery

Golden Gate National Cemetery

Many people visit this largest war cemetery in California to learn more about American history and pay tribute to the dead.

Rows upon rows are lined with tiny white tombstones that stand silently in tribute to the legions who lost their lives in World War Two. The sheer size of the graveyard is something that many visitors find deeply moving.

You can stop by to take a look or to do some research to locate some of the most famous graves.

13. The South San Francisco Museum is open for your viewing

South San Francisco Historical Society

There are several branches of the South San Francisco Historical Society, including one at Chestnut Avenue, just north San Bruno.

This museum was created by an enthusiastic group of locals and is dedicated to sharing the region’s history.

This collection contains many artifacts, documents, and photographs that show how the Spanish settled the bay and developed it into a vibrant urban centre.

For some amazing local stories, check out the oral histories.

14. Take a walk to San Bruno Point Park

San Bruno Point Park

You will find this beautiful little park at the oceanfront to the east of the city if you take a walking tour around the city.

This quiet sanctuary of nature is located near San Francisco Airport. Many people visit it to escape the bustle of the industrialized areas beyond.

You can enjoy spectacular views of San Francisco Bay by following the grassy trails.

15. Visit the Shelldance Orchard Gardens

Shelldance Orchard Gardens

The beautiful orchard garden overlooking San Bruno’s Pacific Ocean makes this a great day trip. This garden centre is a popular rest stop and will be reached via many clifftop hiking trails.

The orchards are not easy to grow. However, they thrive in this well-tended garden. There are also many rare species on display for plant lovers to explore.

You can pick one up in the adjacent gift shop if you’re green enough to take on the responsibility of growing an orchard.