San Francisco is so much more than a haven of arts and culture. Beyond the history, great food and iconic sights, there are lots of thrills to be found. In case haunted caves and motherly ghosts aren’t enough to get your heart pumping, you can also find zombies, spies, and great white sharks, to start. Or perhaps you prefer heights? Eccentric competitive sports? Not a problem! If you’re looking to test your limits, check out these adrenaline-pumping activities. They’re sure to make your experience in the city a truly memorable one.
Where to do it: San Francisco Hang Gliding
Cost: Up to $300 for tandem flights, $170 for a lesson
Soar over San Francisco in a tandem hang glider flight. No experience is necessary to strap yourself into this Leonardo da Vinci-era contraption (with an instructor attached, don’t worry) and launch yourself into the sky. If you love it, sign up for lessons to earn your pilot’s license and fly as fast as the wind will take you. Pro tip: Sign up for the newsletter to hear about special discounts.
Where to do it: Foxhound Urban Adventures
Do you know what Jericho is? Probably not, as it’s a top secret, worldwide espionage operation. Arrange a four hour session with Foxhound Urban Adventures and you’ll be equipped with top of the line official spy gear — namely, a nerf gun — to work against the opposing team and traverse the city in this adult version of capture the flag. Or, join the monthly meetup that’s been playing by the original rules for over twenty years! Your mission awaits.
Escape the Zombie Apocalypse
Where to do it: Beyond Escape
Think you’d shine on The Walking Dead? Always wanted to prove yourself on Fear Factor? Then you need to do this. You’ll be locked in a room with a zombie, your only chance at escape determined by the problem solving skills of your group. Be sure to bring a sense of humor, good communication under pressure and the ability to quell you fight-or-flight response. With reviews like “I think I dribbled in my pants a little…” and “Best date night ever!”, rest assured Beyond Escape will test your limits.
Cage Dive with Great White Sharks
Where to do it: Incredible Adventures
You can cage dive with Great White sharks without going to South Africa? Yep! Board a vessel bound for the Farallon Islands — those hazy shadows west of San Francisco that are often visible on the horizon — and prepare to come face-to-face with a Great White in its natural habitat. Sharks frequent these waters in winter, so there’s no better time than now to take this heart-stopping adventure. Those who have, rightly, no interest in cage diving can ride “topside” and keep a watchful eye.
Where to do it: Bay Area Bubble Soccer
Cost: $20 per bubble for the first hour
Bubble soccer is pretty self-explanatory, but anything that involves wearing an inflatable suit is bound to be hilarious. Don the plastic bubble and try as hard as you can not to turn your soccer game into a human bumper-cars affair. Or do it, because scoring goals is overrated.
Where to do it: Mission Cliffs
Cost: $30 for an introductory lesson, $20 day pass
Rock climbing may be old news for some, but you can never get tired of the pounding in your chest as you squeeze every ounce of your strength to keep from falling! The satisfaction you’ll earn upon grasping the top of the wall, even if it is with just one shaky, chalk-covered, hand, beats all other workouts by a mile. Gain confidence on the easier courses, then move on to hanging upside down by one finger! Kidding, but just watching the pros in the gym will make you reconsider the theory of gravity.
Where to do it: SFF Soccer
Cost: $40 per person for groups of 10
You’ll find archery tag between LARPing and Paintball in the Official List of Dude-Approved Group Activities (OLDAGA, for future reference). Players must race to the middle of the playing field a la Hunger Games to grab their bows and arrows before their opponents fire. The game usually follows a dodgeball-like set of rules, meaning if you’re hit (with a foam tipped arrow, of course), you’re out. Time to embrace your inner warrior and channel all that hand-eye coordination you learned playing darts in bars.