The #1 List of Team Building Activities & Corporate Event Ideas in San Francisco

Team Building San Francisco is a definitive list of the best team building activities, corporate events and company outing ideas in the Bay Area.

In 2019, we started collecting all of the event options in the city, and we haven’t stopped since. This project is likely to keep us busy for awhile because team building is big in San Francisco! There are literally hundreds of options for team off-sites to choose from, and we want to help make it a little easier.

Why team building? A few decades ago, an emphasis on work culture started to emerge in forward thinking companies. The theory (and reality) is that organizations that invest in employee happiness also reap the benefits of employee retention and productivity. Today, doing team building activities is often seen as one of the best investments you can make in your people.

Below, you’ll find our list of group activities in San Francisco. With the exception of the “best team building” category, the remainder are in no particular order. A quick note that most of these are team building activities for adults, and specifically meant for the workplace. We’ve included companies that operate throughout the Bay Area, including downtown, South Francisco, San Jose, Mountain View and other areas too.

Team Building San Francisco: Table of Contents

The Best Team Building Activities in San Francisco

There are many different ways to prioritize which activity you will do with your team. A common element, for example, is novelty; you want to do something fun and interesting that your people haven’t done before. You may also consider factors like how impactful the team building is for employees, reviews from previous clients, location, pricing and more. We’ve included two team building activities below that rank high in many of these categories: Launchy Birds and Team Building Hero.

1. Launchy Birds™

One part engineering and three parts chaos, Launchy Birds is an unusual battle of fun, teamwork and whit. Using something the company calls “construct and destruct” game mechanics, small groups of three to five people will use weird materials to build up a defensive castle, and then fire equally weird projectiles to knock down the competition. The event lasts about 90 minutes and is VERY fast-paced. The Launchy Birds team building activity can be run anywhere in the Bay Area, including at your office or conference space, or at a rental location around the city. You can add-on cool options like “cookie monster” for a ridiculous quantity of cookies, BYOB and gift bags.

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2. Team Building Hero

Team Building Hero is a “fun making conglomerate” that exists for one purpose: to rid the world of boring team building activities. The company offers 5+ event types in the San Francisco area, including museum tours, scavenger hunts, guacamole making competitions, storytelling workshops and holiday themed gingerbread house competitions. Employees love it. Clients rave about it. Check out Team Building Hero to plan not only your next team outing, but the three after that as well!

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Fun Team Building Activities in San Francisco

Not all of the team building activities in San Francisco are super fun. Some are focused on training and development, while others have other specific goals in mind. Still, the priority for many organizations doing team building in the Bay Area is to just have a fun time bonding with colleagues. Below we’ve listed a few fun company outing ideas for you to consider.

3. The Great Guac Off

The Great Guac Off is a fun team building activity in San Francisco.
Think you make your office’s best chips and guac?

The Great Guac off is a company team building activity based on a guacamole making competition. However, this event is nothing like what you might expect. The competition is super quick, fun and includes small games like Trivia-cado and icebreakers to help with the team building element. One of the great things about The Great Guac Off is how flexible it is. You can run the competition basically anywhere (most organizations choose to run the event at their own office), and you can add additional catering options and BYOB. Do your people love guacamole? Of course they do, and they are going to love The Great Guac Off too.

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4. Museum Hack

Museum Hack leads fun team building events in San Francisco.
The museum just got a whole lot cooler.

Museum Hack offers the ultimate in unconventional company team building events in San Francisco. Museum Hack leads renegade team building tours of the Bay Area’s best museums, like the de Young Museum, Asian Art Museum, and SFMoMA. These tours can be fully customized to your company’s core values or goals for the year. Museum Hack once led a custom tour all about yogurt at the Met for Dannon. Consider include a scavenger hunt or adding on a storytelling workshop for maximum team building impact.

5. Gingerbread Wars

Gingerbread Wars offers a fun corporate event and company holiday party.
It’s the company holiday party your coworkers will talk about all year long.

Gingerbread Wars is the ultimate in hosting fun company holiday parties. Your team members will have a great time competing to see who in the office can create the best gingerbread house (hint: make it extra challenging and choose a fun theme like best zombie house or best alien attack scene) while enjoying holiday-themed trivia, games, and activities. Catering, snacks, BYOB, and holiday decorations are all available. Choose to host your Gingerbread Wars team event at your office or at the San Francisco location of your choice.

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6. Storytelling Workshops

Storytelling workshops are a great team building event.
These storytelling workshops are fun, engaging, and valuable.

What’s a storytelling workshop, you might ask? Great question. Storytelling is a hugely valuable skill for any employee and when your business makes the commitment to learning how to tell great, effective stories, you’re making a key investment in your company that will pay dividends. Stories are a powerful way to develop connections with your audience and between coworkers. It’s a great skill for leadership teams, marketing departments, sales departments, HR, and other key players at your business. Storytelling Workshops offers fun, informative, and interactive storytelling training.

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7. Zoo Hack

It’s not your fourth grade field trip to the zoo. Zoo Hack offers a wild tour of the San Francisco Zoo that’s optimized for engagement, entertainment, and top-notch team bonding. Your team will see the San Francisco Zoo like never before, learning behind-the-scenes secrets about the animals, their habitats, and the zoo itself. Talk conservation, play games, and participate in challenges all while enjoying one of the most fun team building activities San Francisco has to offer.

8. EscapeSF

EscapeSF is a good choice for companies looking for escape room team building activities in San Francisco, though we’re starting to think escape rooms are quickly rising to the top of the list of team building activities employees think are becoming overdone. That said, if you’re going to choose an escape room company event in San Francisco, then EscapeSF should top your list. EscapeSF offers two team building games: Escape from the Antique Room and Escape from Alcatraz. Pricing starts at $139 per escape room, making this an affordable team event option in San Francisco.

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9. Mr. Treasure Hunt

Mr. Treasure Hunt offers a fun team building event in San Francisco. With each Mr. Treasure Hunt company event, teams are required to focus on creative thinking skills and problem solving. Mr. Treasure Hunt’s secret is including clues that are simply impossible to solve; this adds an unusual element to your team outing that helps promote communication, collaboration, and how to handle situations that are challenging and frustrating at the workplace.

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10. Leela’s

Leela’s is a San Francisco performing arts venue that hosts fun team building events in the Bay Area. Leela’s improv classes are optimized for team bonding. Improv is a strong choice for team activities because it promotes communication, collaboration, creativity, and teamwork. This is a fun, funny choice for a team outing in San Francisco. We like improv because coworkers will often see new sides of each other’s personalities that don’t typically come out at the office.

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11. The Big Quiz Thing

Trivia is a fun activity for anyone, so we love the idea of mixing a trivia contest into your next team outing. Your host will prepare an evening of fun for a small team or the entire office; there’s no minimum or maximum group size that works well with The Big Quiz Thing, making this a good choice for team building for large groups in San Francisco. Your custom trivia game can be played anywhere, whether it’s at your office, a rented out restaurant, or at your next meeting.

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12. Clay by the Bay

Clay by the Bay offers a way for team members to bond over learning a new skill together in the Bay Area. At Clay by the Bay’s Nob Hill location, your coworkers will be taught how to throw clay on a pottery wheel by an expert instructor. Your group can create their own mug or cup from scratch; form the clay, throw it on the wheel, and paint it all in one night. The only catch? It takes four-to-six weeks for the clay to be kiln-fired and ready to go home. Clay by the Bay offers team building events in San Francisco for groups ranging in size from seven to 60 guests.

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13. Wood Thumb

Wood Thumb’s team building activities in San Francisco are fun and unique. Bring your team to the shop and your employees will learn the art of woodworking. Choose from several different crafts to make, like a cutting board, magnetic knife rack, and wooden six-pack carrier. Each corporate event lasts for two-and-a-half to three hours and can start at 10am, 2pm, or 6pm. Pricing begins at $75 per person with a minimum $750 charge. That price includes materials, the space, instructor fees, and craft beer made locally for each participant. Wood Thumb can accommodate up to 65 guests per team building event.

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Unusual Team Building Activities in San Francisco

Got a team that participates in a lot of corporate events and you want to shake things up for your next team outing? Or maybe you’re ready to dive head first into the awesome world of corporate team building activities, but want to kick it off with a bang. Below, you’ll find our favorite ideas for unusual team building activities in San Francisco.

14. Host a meetup

Hosting a meet up is a great choice for putting together an unusual company event in San Francisco. A meetup is a great way to say thank you to everyone in your organization. Planning this kind of team event is easy: 1) Choose your location. This can be your office building, the office parking lot, a rented out restaurant, or even a local park. 2) Make your guest list. While you can limit the event to just your employees, we recommend thinking bigger for maximum impact on boosting employee engagement. At minimum, we suggest allowing your coworkers to invite family members. We’d also encourage you to think big and invite your vendors, suppliers, and all those who make your business run as well as it does. 3) Settle on your entertainment. We like food, games, and activities. Consider a scavenger hunt and a few rounds of Human Bingo for extra team bonding. Go a step further and hire an outside facilitator like the pros at Museum Hack to encourage bonding and interaction.

15. Play tourist for the day

San Francisco is one of the world’s top tourist destinations, and you’re lucky enough to call the Bay Area your business’ home. Why not take the day and explore SF the way a tourist visiting the city would? Check out the Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39, visit the sea lions, eat clam chowder at Fisherman’s Wharf, take a trolley ride, wander down Lombard Street, and take pictures in front of the Painted Ladies. San Francisco is an awesome city; let your coworkers spend a few hours exploring it, making memories, and enjoying some easy team bonding.

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16. Visit Alcatraz Island

This idea for a team outing goes along with playing tourist for the day in San Francisco, but we specifically chose Alcatraz because it offers a few key elements that make up a fun team event. The ferry ride over to the island offers a great opportunity to sneak in some cool team bonding moments, like icebreakers and games. Plus, having to take the ferry kicks the time out of the office up a notch, making it feel like a true escape from the office.

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17. Feet First Eventertainment

Feet First Eventertainment offers unusual team building activities in San Francisco that focus on physical activity. These team outing options are for people who are looking to be active together. Think running, hiking, and biking with your coworkers. Sound fun? If so, then Feet First could be a good unusual team building activity for your company. If something a little less heart pumping is more your team’s speed, then we’d recommend looking elsewhere for a fun corporate event.

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18. Fun with Plants

When you think company team building activities, do plants come to mind? Probably not, but the folks at Fun with Plants are hoping to change that. Fun with Plants offers an unusual team outing. Options include building a terrarium, planting a bonsai tree, hanging a kokedama, or potting succulents. Pricing starts at $35 per person and includes all supplies.

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Team Building Activities in San Francisco with Food

Food is a fast way to many people’s hearts; team building doesn’t have to be different. There are many yummy options out there for team building activities in San Francisco with food. These team events combine effective team building activities with a tasty treat your coworkers will enjoy.

19. The Great Guac Off

The Great Guac off is a company team building activity based on a guacamole making competition. However, this event is nothing like what you might expect. The competition is super quick, fun and includes small games like Trivia-cado and icebreakers to help with the team building element. One of the great things about The Great Guac Off is how flexible it is. You can run the competition basically anywhere (most organizations choose to run the event at their own office), and you can add additional catering options and BYOB. Do your people love guacamole? Of course they do, and they are going to love The Great Guac Off too.

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20. Sidewalk Food Tours San Francisco

Combine food with a little exercise with Sidewalk Food Tours San Francisco. This walking tour will highlight the best food in San Francisco, all while your coworkers enjoy a relaxing stroll through the city. Your tour guide will showcase the best in Bay Area history and culture. This is an informative, fun, and delicious team building activity.

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21. Hands On Gourmet

Got any great cooks on your team? Hands on Gourmet offers a cooking class team building event in San Francisco. At Hands on Gourmet, your team members will learn how to create an awesome dish of their choice (or one the school chooses). All ingredients and equipment are provided, as well as a top chef to teach your team the tricks of the cooking trade. Plus, your team will enjoy coming together at the end of the lesson to taste the fruits of their labor and bond over this shared team experience.

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22. Breakthrough Sushi

Learning a new skill together is a great option for team building events. Sharing an experience like this can help your team members feel closer together; plus, it’s cool to have a fun new trick in the kitchen to share back at home. Breakthrough Sushi hosts team building cooking lessons in San Francisco. Breakthrough Sushi’s chefs will teach your team members the best tips and tricks for making a great sushi roll.

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23. The Cocktail Camp

The Cocktail Camp is a crash course in mixology optimized for a fun team building activity in San Francisco. Learn a cool new skill together and enjoy a few cocktails as your professional bartender teaches your team members all about the history of bartending. This team building event can be held on-site at your office or at a nearby bar in the Bay Area. We’d recommend going out for dinner afterward as a team to try out some local cocktails and compare notes from what you’ve just learned.

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DIY Team Building Activities in San Francisco

Team building activities don’t have to be professionally facilitated to be fun and effective. Below are some of our top choices for DIY team building activities in San Francisco that won’t break the budget.

24. Board Game Night

Host board game night (or afternoon, if you’d like to keep your team building to office hours) at your office. A board game night is a great way to host a DIY team building activity without breaking your budget. Grab a couple of cheap board games at your local thrift store or ask your coworkers to bring in some favorites from home and get playing! Pop some popcorn, offer beverages, and you’ve got yourself a simple, easy-to-plan, and fun DIY team building activity.

25. Icebreakers

We think icebreakers get a bad rap, but hear us out: done right, icebreakers are actually fun, effective, and a great way to work in some easy, free DIY team building. We’d recommend starting every team meeting with a quick icebreaker round for consistent team bonding.

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26. Human Bingo

Human Bingo is an easy game to play in the office that makes for cool DIY team building. Here’s how to play: Print out some blank bingo cards and fill them out with things that people do or characteristics they have that you wouldn’t know just by looking at someone. Examples: “Owns a dog”, “Traveled internationally this year”, “Plays in a sports league” and “Has at least two children.” Your coworkers are tasked with finding a bingo on their card, but here’s the catch: your employees will have to get to know each other better to win.

27. In-Office Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are a fun team building activity, and while there are a lot of companies out there who will put together a custom scavenger hunt for you (or sell you a pre-planned one), no one knows your team and your business like you do. Spend a few hours writing your own in-house office scavenger hunt that promotes getting to know your coworkers and your business a little better. You can choose your own difficulty level (for an extra team building twist, include an impossible-to-solve clue) and whether or not you want to stay in the office or head outside for some fresh air. We recommend prizes for the winning team!

Team Building San Francisco: Frequently Asked Questions

We know choosing the right corporate event in San Francisco can be tough. That’s why we’ve put together this list of frequently asked questions about team building in San Francisco. If your question isn’t on the list below, then we’d love to hear from you!

What is the best team building activity in San Francisco?

The best team building activity in San Francisco is Launchy Birds! Launchy Birds offers a fresh, innovative take on fun team outings. Your team members will love building crazy castles (and they’ll love trying to knock them down even more!). With catering and BYOB available, Launchy Birds tops our list for best team building activity in San Francisco.

How often should my business host team outings in San Francisco?

We recommend team building at least once per quarter. This timeframe is often enough to keep reaping the benefits of team building, like increased employee engagement and job satisfaction, while not being too often to be distracting.

Is team building in San Francisco expensive?

Team building in San Francisco can be as expensive or as cheap as you make it. There are lots of high-end, professional team building companies out there that can charge as much as $200-$300 per person, while you can also discover cool DIY team building options that don’t cost a penny. Of course, there are many fantastic options that fall somewhere in between. Choose the team outing option that best fits your budget and your company’s goals for team building.