Team Building San Francisco is a list of the best team building activities, corporate events and company outing ideas that the Bay Area has to offer.
San Francisco is a massive business hub; one that includes some of the best companies in the USA. Thanks to the startups, tech companies and other important organizations that call the area home, there are a lot more company team building activities too.
If you are new to doing a team building events, here’s what you need to know. Team building is an effort to gather employees to do something fun and collaborative together. The goal is to improve job satisfaction, morale, communication, productivity, team bonding and other important metrics. According to many credible sources, investing in team building activities has become a trend among the most successful companies.
We’ve compiled a list of San Francisco’s best team building activities, plus some that serve San Jose, Mountain View and other areas near you; all organized into categories like fun activities, team outings, or team building activities that include food.
Pro Tip: Press “Command + D” to bookmark this list – we update it often.
Table of Contents
- Best Team Building Activities in San Francisco
- Fun Team Building Activities & Team Events
- Team Building with Food
- Outdoor Team Building & Scavenger Hunts
- Other Team Building Events
- Frequently Asked Questions
The Best Team Building Activities in San Francisco
There are a lot of factors to consider in what makes the best team building activities, including the event type itself, its actual impact on the employee experience, and other factors like location and price. Below, we’ve listed a few examples of what we consider the best group activities in the Bay Area, in no particular order.
1. Museum Hack – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ [Highest Rated]
Museum Hack leads unconventional tours of the best museums in San Francisco, including SFMOMA and the de Young Fine Arts Museum. The tour guides are performers, entertainers, comedians, musicians and other awesome folks. These guides train in the Museum Hack style for three months before ever leading a tour.
Museum Hack has several team building activities, including tours that can be customized to match your company industry, mission and values (for example, the yogurt company Dannon did a “history of yogurt” tour, and Google did “technology through time”). You can also do a competitive “Escape the Museum” team event and scavenger hunt.
Tours are approximately two hours, and Museum Hack serves groups of all sizes: from very small groups up to large groups of 300+ and everything in-between.
2. The Great Guac Off™ – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ [Best with Food]
The Great Guac Off runs San Francisco team building events based on a fun guacamole making competition. Guac Off is a fast-paced and quirky team activity that successful organizations like YouTube, HelloFresh and Gusto love. In addition to the smashed avocados, your team event also includes fun mini-games like Trivia-cado for extra points.
Food and drinks are optional (guac ingredients and dippers are always included). You can also add-on burrito catering to make it a full meal. The Great Guac Off is available both as a day time and evening event, and can be run anywhere in the city; including at your office or conference space or at one of the Guac Off rental locations in San Francisco.
3. Gingerbread Wars – 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄 [Holiday Themed]
Gingerbread Wars leads holiday themed team building activities based on a gingerbread house making competition. The standard event is 90 minutes and includes everything you need for a successful competition: an awesome host, all the game materials, prizes, fun photos and more.
You can host your gingerbread competition anywhere in the Bay Area, including at your office, conference hall or at one of the Gingerbread Wars locations around the city. Upgrades are available like gift bags for your guests, extra snacks, cookie platters, professional photographers and more. You can also do BYOB, which helps make Gingerbread Wars a cost effective option for your next team outing.
Fun Team Building Activities & Team Events
This idea may sound a little weird, but not all of the team building activities in San Francisco are supposed to be fun. Some team activities are focused more on training and skill building, while others can be about leadership of collaborating. Still, “fun” is often the priority for companies that do team building and so we’ve compiled some of the best event types below.
Leela’s combines art and entertainment to help teams express creativity in many different ways. Located on 925 Mission Street in San Francisco, it’s tailored to companies of all shapes and sizes.
Leela’s performing arts activities are one of San Francisco’s more artistic options for team bonding. The corporate improv classes at Leela’s encourage communication, self expression, and teamwork. Your team will laugh, have fun and learn to listen to each other and collaborate too! Aside from being a great place for team building activities in San Francisco, Leela’s is also a great place to meet new people and share experiences.
According to Leela’s website they “teach the skills people need to form smoothly functioning teams that can communicate and innovate in remarkable new ways.” Neat.
4. Storytelling Workshops
Storytelling has emerged as one of the most important skills of the century. Stories are a powerful way to communicate and motivate people, which makes it a useful skill for leadership teams, marketing and sales people, your HR department and more.
These storytelling workshops are designed to be both fun and informative team events, which is a healthy way to learn. Your employees will enjoying learning this new skill together and will apply it to their work, which adds an element of productivity to the team outing.
6. Team Building Hero
Team Building Hero offers a variety of fun team building activities in San Francisco, including scavenger hunts, storytelling workshops, museum tours and a guacamole making competition. One of the advantages of working with a company like Team Building Hero is you can do multiple team events with the same provider. This experience allows you to get to know the consultant and event facilitators well, and for them to get to know you and your preferences too. Planning team building activities can be difficult and time consuming, and Team Building Hero is one idea for cutting through the noise.
7. Super Holiday Party
The second holiday themed activity on our list, Super Holiday Party hosts wildly fun and unique holiday parties for businesses. Each corporate event is 2 – 4 hours, and includes mini-challenges and an epic gingerbread house building competition. You can host your holiday party nearly anywhere, including at your office or event space, or the company can provide a venue for you. Super Holiday Party is also very inclusive: it’s not about Christmas, Hanukkah or any other specific holiday; it’s just about getting people together and having a great time. BYOB and gift bags optional.
EscapeSF took the number eight spot on the list of best escape rooms in San Francisco written by locals on Quora. That honorific makes EscapeSF an okay choice for any escape team building activities you are considering.
This San Francisco based escape room has a Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor, which speaks for the quality. There are two team building escape room games at EscapeSF: Escape from Alcatraz and Escape from the Antique Room. Nicely decorated, well maintained and offering a lot when it comes to team events, the team activities at EscapeSF are something you’ll want try again and again.
The prices at EscapeSF are also affordable, starting from $139 per room. Each room is rigged with cameras and microphones through which you speak to the ‘game master’.
That nervous feeling you get when entering this mystery escape room is just the beginning of the awesome experience you’ll have at Reason. Ideal for fun team building activities and adventurous teams, each of the rooms shares a different story. The best thing about this escape game is the multi-sensory experience, which features cryptic puzzles, strange messages and hands-on riddles. Your palms will sweat as your team races to solve all the mysteries.
We don’t want to spoil what’s inside Reason, so we can’t share many more of its features. In a nutshell: it is high tech and well thought-out for team bonding.
Team Building with Food
Enjoying a meal together may be the world’s oldest form of team building. Eating together, enjoying conversation and an icebreaker or two can be a great way to casually build strong bonds. Added advantage: you fill everyone at your team event up with (hopefully) healthy food like sushi, hot pot or salads.
10. The Great Guac Off
If Amazing Race and Iron Chef had a baby, they would name it Guac Off! This team event is a smart, fun and very tasty team activity that your group will love. Chances are your employees have made guacamole before right? Well, they have never made guacamole quite like Guac Off. The Great Guac Off is a race against the clock to make structurally sound, tasty and aesthetically pleasing guac that scores the highest number of points. The winning team at your event gets prizes (not just high fives). YouTube, LinkedIn and many other companies have all done team activities with (and loved) The Great Guac Off.
11. Picnic at Golden Gate Park
You don’t always have to use one of the San Francisco team building companies on this list to plan your team outing. Instead, you can organize team events like a company picnic at Golden Gate Park or one of the other amazing outdoor spaces around the city. Bring sandwiches, salads, snacks, fruits, desserts and drinks. Play games, do icebreaker questions, and otherwise make your own team building fun; it will be a blast!
12. Parties that Cook
Do you and your coworkers love cooking? Visit this space and share the love for food, while enjoying the lovely decor and various tastes. With the help of experienced chefs these classes will save you time, money and get you some real quality cooking time with your team.
The team building activities that Parties that Cook offers are pretty self explanatory – you cook together. The team activities encourage you to bond with your coworkers over cheese plates, and wine or a pint of beer.
13. Jordan’s Kitchen
Jordan is a master chef in you certainly want to meet. He will give you a hands-on experience during your team event with preparing food like you’ve never seen before. You’ll learn new techniques and try new flavors, but most of all you’ll love the team bonding that takes place when your company is offsite for cooking classes.
In addition to good company, you will also have wine as you cook, eat and hang out. That wine, along with the good vibe in this place, gives you all the ‘inside’ information you need to take your cooking to another level. You can even share some of what you’ve learned during the team outing in your office kitchen.
14. Breakthrough Sushi
Considered to be the ultimate best of Japanese cuisine, sushi is linked to many health benefits. If you’ve never tried sushi, then your next company outing may be your chance. If you and you coworkers love sushi, then Breakthrough Sushi is a good place for team activities in San Francisco. Breakthrough Sushi is the place where you can master your knowledge and skills, preparing sushi that will impress your family, friends or relatives.
From hand rolls to many other forms of sushi, you’ll learn necessary techniques and recipes for making sushi rice into delicious creations. The best thing about this event is that you’ll share this experience with your colleagues, and always remember the first time you have made professional sushi under the guidance of a master chef.
Outdoor & Scavenger Hunts
You and your coworkers probably spend way too much time inside. Put the out in company outing ideas with one of the team activities below.
15. Sidewalk Food Tours
Is there a more enjoyable way to see the sights of this beautiful city than through a walking tour that also fills you up with the best local tastes San Francisco has to offer? Learn more about the history, culture, and architecture of San Francisco’s neighborhoods with a food tour. Connect your team through the art of a great stroll, incredible history, and delicious tastes.
16. Captain Kirk’s San Francisco Sailing
Going sailing with your coworkers as a offsite team building activity is a good option, and one that Captain Kirk’s club in San Francisco is well known for. Well organized and with stops by all the major marine landmarks and SF viewpoints, this is one of the most unique team building activities to discover the Bay Area. If you are lucky then you may see dolphins or seals during the cruise!
17. The Go Game
According to David Maister, a management expert, companies that invest in team building and promote enthusiasm make more money. Scavenger hunts are one option for team events, and The Go Game is one example. The Go Game can handle your entire crew, whether you are 7 or 77 people. Basically, the company runs a scavenger hunt type game that combines different aspects of challenges, exciting tasks and odd assignments.
The Go Game is a carefully organized team event that happens both indoors and outdoors. The team activities trigger your creativity, fun spirit and are very interactive. Or, as a reviewer on Yelp puts it – “it is ready to transform introverts into extroverts, at least for a while”.
ZogSports is the amateur sports team you have always wanted to join, now available in San Francisco. The activity is basically an amateur volleyball game with a twist, one that keeps all members of your work crew excited and interested. Even if you don’t know how to play volleyball, the collaborative team building spirit will help you learn some moves.
The greatest part, however, comes when you master the ZogSports game, after which you advance on to the Wednesday league. You get to play against other companies doing San Francisco team building events and ramp up the team experience to another level. All of that company offsite experience will help your team learn to play (and work) better together, all while having fun.
19. Foxhound Urban Adventures
According to some people, Foxhound is an option for entertaining corporate team building and group activities in San Francisco.
The concept of the game is an adventure, helping you explore some of the well-known SF urban landmarks. Get your blood pumping and see how much you and your colleagues actually know about San Francisco. You can recap the stories over a dinner or drinks. The experience will have helped you bond with your crew in a special way, thus improving your communication as a team.
20. Mr. Treasure Hunt
If you want a detailed and organized team building event in San Francisco, Mr. Treasure is a team who would love to help you. This team event forces you and your crew to think creatively, solve problems and answer clues that you can’t answer. Also, the event includes some questions that require local knowledge, which may be fun for you and your company.
The Mr. Treasure Hunt is an enjoyable adventure where some people have a great time hanging out and communicating as a group. A lot of the games are played in Golden Gate Park when the weather is good.
21. Stray Boots
There are a lot of health benefits of doing treasure hunts and scavenger hunts, and even more benefits than you may realize. Regularly booked by companies with both small and large groups, scavenger hunts are a good way to improve team bonding at the office.
Stray Boots is an example of that team bonding, presenting a variety of fun team building activities in San Francisco. The main concept of the event is a scavenger hunt that includes exploring the city. You can stop along the way to eat snacks, shop or coordinate with your team members. The average time each scavenger hunt takes is two to three hours and the North Beach Stray Boots hunt is known to be a favorite.
22. Urban Diversion
This social club has a good team of instructors that will bring fun, adventure and unforgettable memories to your team event. Designed for team building in San Francisco, Urban Diversion specializes in a lot of ‘hunts’: from hiking and fishing to skiing.
You can bond with your coworkers and break boundaries in communication with Urban Diversion. If you have a sense of adventure and like meeting new people then this may be the corporate team building activity for you.
You can also become a member of the Urban Diversion club and check into each one of the team events they regularly host. From ping pong parties to ski runs on the best slopes in America, this team of enthusiasts has become a community for adrenaline junkies in San Francisco.
23. Feet First Eventertainment
Feet First Eventertainment offers a variety of team building activities in the Bay Area for people looking to get moving, and they have different locations too. Most importantly, Feet First’s focus is on pedalling, running and hiking, which is healthy and good for you. Ready to burn calories and get sweaty while competing with your coworkers? Feet First is an option for you.
If you see graffiti as completely criminal then this may not be the team event for you. However, you could consider that graffiti tours support tourism and help you bond with the city you live and work in. 1AM is best described as a San Francisco team building art school. The event triggers your creative spirit and lets you express yourself in a unique way – on a wall!
1AM’s concept is team building through creative painting, which includes painting graffiti on 1AM’s exterior wall or on a takeway canvas. So, if you were ever scared try your painting skills, then don’t be! At 1AM you’ll have an instructor who will teach your team all about graffiti and then help you paint some of your own. You’ll learn all about graffiti styles, eras and meanings.
Other Team Building Events
Below you will find a few more company outing ideas in San Francisco. We plan to continue adding to this list of team activities, so we recommend that you bookmark it and check back later.
25. PanIQ Escape Room
Brace yourselves, “Prison Break” is back. But this time, the prison is located at 75 Hyde Street and you and your colleagues are the inmates. PanIQ is another escape room for team building in San Francisco; one that features decorations and sound effects. The staff are friendly, positive and instructional during the game. There are several escape games to choose from at PanIQ, all of which tailor to particular interests. With puzzles, mazes, and riddles to choose from, PanIQ won’t let you panic, but will help you find the right answer to each maze. One of the escape room games called ‘Prison’, and resembles an actual prison that you have to escape from.
26. Launchy Birds
Launchy Birds is a wildly chaotic team building event that uses “construct and destruct” game mechanics to get your team bonding around shared goals. First, each team will construct a castle out of odd materials, and then they will compete to knock the other castles down using equally odd projectiles. Not for the faint of heart, Launchy Birds is fast-paced, competitive and a very good team event. Perfect for team building for large groups as well as small.
27. Hands On Gourmet
Sometimes, team building events need passion and excitement. Cooking is certainly one way to bring that excitement to your next team outing and Hands On Gourmet is an option worth checking out with your coworkers. You can be your own chef and prepare the food you like. You’ll have all the supplies, techniques, and master chefs to help you. Whether you are making seafood or salads, the kitchen at Hands on Gourmet has what you need.
28. Board Game Night
Playing board games together is a great way to do DIY team building in San Francisco. Get classic games like Monopoly and Risk that people can compete in with go-to strategies, plus newer games that they can bond over too. Some board games allow for collaboration, which can be helpful for your team event. Complete your evening with snacks, drinks and a quick round of icebreaker questions.
29. Cookie Monster Exchange
One thing that nearly everyone has in common is a deep love for cookies. Plan your own team event by doing a cookie exchange. Each team member can prepare a secret recipe and then bring the cookies to the office to share. If you want to up the team building potential for this event then create a points system and award fun prizes for categories like the best cookies or weirdest flavors.
30. Wine Crawl
You are probably familiar with the concept of a pub crawl: people, usually college students, go from pub to pub having drinks and chatting. Pub crawls aren’t cool for grownups, but wine crawls can be. For your next team outing you could take your team to three or four wine bars in the city. At each stop, enjoy a glass of wine or even a half glass. You can get snacks and complete the event with icebreaker questions and other fun team activities. The link below goes to a site that has a bunch of wine bars in the Bay Area.
31. Trash Challenge
You’ve seen the memes, you’ve heard the news, and now is your team’s chance to be part of something big. The trash challenge is when you take a before picture of a park that is covered in litter, then spend some time cleaning the park up, and finally taking an after photo of the space. The great thing about this experience as a team event is that it is basically free, you just need garbage bags and gloves. The event also gives back to your community, and creates a clean and safe environment for other people that visit. You can post the photos on social media to show what your awesome team did, but that isn’t really the point.
Final Thoughts: Team Building in San Francisco
There are a lot of team building activities in San Francisco, San Jose and the Bay Area that you and your ‘business crew’ can try out. That’s why we’ve collected the best events San Francisco has to offer.
It is scientifically proven that team building and offsite company activities are the bridge to success in the work space, both on an individual and team level. So, which one of these team building activities will you book first?
Frequently Asked Questions
We get a lot of questions about team building in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Instead of answering these questions one by one, we are sharing the most common questions and answers below.
What is the best team building activity in San Francisco / the Bay Area?
Museum Hack leads our list of top team building activities because it has thousands of five star reviews. The company runs unconventional tours of the world’s best museums, including the de Young Fine Arts Museum and SFMOMA in San Francisco. FWIW The Great Guac Off is a close second because everyone loves guacamole.
What is the difference between team building activities, team bonding exercises and company outing ideas?
The primary difference is that team bonding is generally done for fun, while team building can have a more constructive purpose (though it doesn’t have to). Company outing is a fairly generic term that refers to taking your employees off-site.
How can I add team building companies to this list?
Send us a quick email via our contact page and we will be happy to consider your submission. Note that we do not accept paid lists, and your link will be marked no-follow.