A funny thing happens in San Francisco every Thanksgiving: It gets really quiet. (Where does everyone go?) Take advantage of this serene time in the city by combining two classic hilltop parks to make a 2-mile urban hike with bold, beautiful views. The starting point is Buena Vista Park on Haight Street. It's San Francisco's oldest park, and it's much less crowded than neighboring Golden Gate Park. Take any of the many staircases up (and up) to the viewpoint—a large grassy knoll opening out to a rush of city views, Marin peaks, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Drop down the backside and walk along quiet Upper Terrace Street, admiring the attention to detail in the Victorian architecture. Loop back on 17th Street and Roosevelt Way, which sets you on the route to Corona Heights Park, a rocky outcropping that offers an urban panorama (pictured). Lounge on the rocks and have a snack, then head down and continue on Roosevelt Way back to Buena Vista Park. Hike on, you lucky city slicker!
Buena Vista Park borders Haight St. between Central Ave. and Baker St. Once you're at the top of Buena Vista Park, descend the backside by veering left on a paved trail at the map/kiosk just below the top. This drops you off at Upper Terrace. Follow this a few blocks, and take the pedestrian walkway (next to 353 Upper Terrace) down to 17thSt.; go left. Make a left onto Roosevelt Way and follow this all the way to Corona Heights Park, veering right at Loma Vista. The Corona Heights Park entrance has a sign for Randall Museum. Continue on Roosevelt Way, make a left at Park Hill, and you're back at Buena Vista Park. Here's a map of the area. Dog-friendly!