Excelsior is located centrally in San Francisco with Mission Avenue running along the border of this mostly residential neighborhood. This community is a culturally and ethnically diverse neighborhood and Mission Avenue hosts restaurants featuring different ethnic cuisines and businesses. Mission Avenue is located on the western edge of the community and this commercial coordinator may be a long walk for locals from the eastern sections of the community. However, most residents can reach services, shops, and restaurants along this busy road on foot.
Residents with pups who like to daily exercise will find San Francisco's weather is warm year-round. Although there are some rainy days in winter and spring, they are relatively short-lived, light, and rarely prevent pedestrians from exercising their pooches. Fog can be an issue in winter and summer but usually burns off later in the day. Fog can significantly reduce visibility in this hilly neighborhood so exercise appropriate caution before heading out.
The terrain in Excelsior, like much of San Francisco, is hilly and when you are traveling the region on foot, you may experience some very steep inclines. Be sure you and your dog are up to the route you plan on walking before venturing out. The streets in Excelsior are laid out in a simple grid pattern and are easy to navigate.
The Southern Freeway on the north of Excelsior is not a pedestrian-friendly corridor and should be avoided. Most single-family homes in this developed residential community are tightly spaced and close to the front streets with living quarters on second floors, garages, and driveways on street level. Sidewalks border narrow streets without grassy verges and the area is densely populated which means traffic is prevalent, even in residential areas. Keep your dog leashed and close so he does not inadvertently wander onto a roadway and so you can avoid heavy traffic passing by.
John McLaren Park, situated on the east side of Excelsior, is a 312-acre green space with a lake, steep terrain, hiking trails, fantastic lookouts, and recreational facilities. This park is the 3rd largest in the San Francisco area and boasts plenty of greenways to explore with your canine. There are playgrounds, a golf course, hiking trails, and an amphitheater in the park. The 2.7-mile contemplative Philosopher's Trail loops the perimeter of the park, providing lookouts and rest areas intended for musing with your mutt! This park also has areas set aside to preserve local wildlife.
Just south of John McLaren Park, the Crocker Amazon Playground provides not only a unique playground for area children but facilities for youth and adults too with numerous sports fields.
Other area greenspaces that provide shady resting areas while negotiating Excelsior's hilly terrain are the Excelsior Playground and Athen Avalon Green Space, a unique community garden on a steep slope with colorful outdoor stairs.