Things to do in San Francisco When Your Flight is Delayed


As the second largest airport in California (after LAX), San Francisco International Airport is bound to have delays due to air traffic and the famous fog. The airport itself is located in nearby San Mateo County, where there is plenty to do within a 15 minutes radius from the terminals to pass the time.

Grab a burger at In-N-Out

It's hard to go wrong at this classic Californian fast food joint, where all the ingredients are fresh, never frozen. If you want to amp up your order, make sure to get Animal Style burger (extra thousand Island spread, mustard grilled patties and extra pickles) or fries (cheese, spread and grilled onions).

Shop 'Til You Drop at The Shops at Tanforan

This spacious mall is the place to go for window shopping or picking up some new items (depending on your luggage situation). There is also a large food court with plenty of places to refuel. For the shopping-adverse there is a movie theater with plenty of shows to choose from.

Coyote Point Recreational Area

A great place to stretch your legs on the many well maintained trails and take in the waterfront views as the planes take off in the distance. Pick up some groceries on the way and have a BBQ in one of the many picnic areas. Parking is $6.

Japanese Tea Garden

For a little peace and quiet, this beautiful garden is the place to relax before you catch your next flight. The garden is part of Central Park, where there is also a nearby rose garden and plenty of open space to walk around in. Pick-up food from Downtown San Mateo that is right next door for an impromptu picnic. Entrance is free.

Have a Taste of Aloha at Takahashi Market

This family-owned Hawaiian market has plenty of imported treats on its shelves, but the real draw is the takeaway counter that features island comfort food like spam musubi, kalua pork and poke.

Julia is a freelance writer and native San Franciscan, born and raised. She is the founder of Small World This Is, and has written for Matador, Roads and Kingdoms, and USA Today.