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Beach Chalet San Francisco: What to Expect from this Popular Stop Along Ocean Beach

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

Updated: December 6, 2021

The Beach Chalet San Francisco is a popular stop for visitors near Ocean Beach. This newly remodeled 1925 Spanish Revival Building includes two restaurants, the Golden Gate Park Visitor Center, and some beautiful murals and mosaics.

It's a great place to grab some lunch, find out a little bit more about Golden Gate Park, and spend some time admiring the Pacific Ocean. You can also sample some of the Beach Chalet's locally crafted beers.

Sign outside the Beach Chalet San Francisco

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The Restaurant

At one point in time, the food here was expensive and not very good. The restaurant used its location and the amazing views of the Pacific Ocean as a way to attract customers.

However, in recent years, the Beach Chalet San Francisco has done a lot to improve their menu and the entire dining experience. It's now a place I would recommend for either lunch or dinner if you're in the area.

Their menu has a variety of food including soups, salads, and pastas. You can also try out a number of seafood dishes such as Beer Battered Fish and Chips, Atlantic Salmon, and Halibut. If seafood isn't your thing, you can also try their Slow Cooked Baby Back Ribs, Pan Roasted Chicken, or the New York Strip.

They also have their own on-site brewery and their beers are tasty! Here's a list of the beers on the menu during my last visit (this menu is actually from their Park Chalet restaurant - but both places serve the same beers daily):

The list of beers on the menu at the Beach Chalet Brewery in San Francisco.

They also offer a sampler set, which allows you to sample all of their beers on tap that day. It's a great way to try a variety of new beers all at once.

They also have some great happy hour specials between 3:30 pm and 6 pm during the week.

>> Find some additional great breweries in SF

Park Chalet San Francisco

In addition to the Beach Chalet San Francisco restaurant, here you also find the garden level Park Chalet. This is the newer of the two restaurants and is located behind the visitor center. Here you get views of Golden Gate Park.

The other great thing about this restaurant is that they have quite a bit of outdoor seating. On a beautiful day near the ocean, it's one of my favorite places to grab something to eat.

Outdoor seating area at Park Chalet in San Francisco

The food and atmosphere here is little more casual than the Beach Chalet San Francisco. On their menu, they state that the food at the Park Chalet is designed to be eaten anywhere in or near the park.

On the menu here, you'll find pizzas, sandwiches and even some hot wings. You can also sample the great beers from the on-site brewery.

One my favorite things on their menu is the Crab Sandwich. Here is a picture of this yummy treat from my last visit.

My Crab Sandwich from the Park Chalet at Ocean Beach in San Francisco

Another thing I love about the Park Chalet is their 3-6-9 Happy Hour every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. They have a great happy hour menu and it's the perfect time to sample some of their beers. This happy hour is also popular with many of the locals.

>> Find other great happy hour specials

>> More great spots to eat outdoors

Golden Gate Park Visitor Center & The Murals

In the last few years, they also moved the Golden Gate Park Visitor Center to this building. Here you can find maps of Golden Gate Park, get your questions answered, and even see a full model of the park.

This is also where you will find several Works Progress Administration (WPA) era murals. Many of them were originally painted in the mid to late 30s. Here are just a couple of pictures that I took during my last visit.

One of the murals at Beach Chalet in San Francisco
The murals on the first level of the Beach Chalet.

Getting Here

The easiest way to get to the Beach Chalet San Francisco is by driving. There is plenty of free parking in the front of the building – or cross the street at Ocean Beach.

If you want to take public transportation, you can take the 5-Fulton bus from Union Square or Downtown San Francisco. Take this bus all the way to the La Playa Avenue stop.

After you get off the bus, walk toward the beach, take a left at the Great Highway, and it's about two blocks down.

You can also take the N-Judah light rail train. You will take it to the end of the line. At that stop, head north (with the ocean on your left hand side) and walk along the Great Highway to the Beach Chalet. The walk is a little longer from this stop - but the light rail train is a little faster than the bus.

Here is a map showing both options. The black star is the Beach Chalet.

Map showing how to get to the Beach Chalet in San Francisco via public transit

Beach Chalet History

Located on the far Western side of the Golden Gate Park, this gorgeous building also will give you wonderful views of the Pacific Ocean. Being that it is located on the Great Highway, it is a great way to get around outside of the hustle and bustle of the city. 

One of the special points about this building is even more special since it was designed by the amazing architect from San Francisco, Willis Polk. This was lucky since became the last building that he designed. Willis wanted it to be classic, but also with the latest amenities at the same time.

So, when they built it, they added artwork for people to see, a 200-seat restaurant on the upper deck so everyone would have great views, and special changing rooms and more.

Since the Beach Chalet became a wonderful place to escape and relax, it also offered games, held special meetings for tea clubs, receptions, events, and also fundraisers for schools.

Unfortunately, even with all these events and beautiful views, the Beach Chalet was having problem with money, so they hired two sisters, Hattie and Minnie, to make it more interesting to locals and visitors alike.

They were well known to run some of the best restaurants and clubs in the city, so they were perfect. During this time some of the enhancements include a 1,500-foot fresco that was built through the Work Progress Administration on the bottom floor.

After this, the army needed a look out point in case there was an attack and set up there in the 1950s. However, the army soldiers weren’t of the best character and was they were rumored to have questionable ladies, games, and other sinful events happening during this time.

They only stayed for a while before being kicked out.

As the building starts to be neglected, and therefore expensive for upkeep, and there were plans to destroy it. This is when the city decided to make it a city landmark to make sure it would be saved. During the 1990s, the Beach Chalet was given a grant to refurbish and rebuild it.

After this undertaking, they also build at brewpub up on the second floor with food if you are hungry. Since then, the Beach Chalet has made a great comeback and is now a must see when you visit San Francisco.

A fun fact that most people don’t know about it is that it replaced one that was actually on the other side of the Great Highway built in 1891.

The city wanted people to have a chance to see the ocean, have delicious food, and not be blown away by the winds. Sadly, the building caught fire in 1958 and was totally destroyed.

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