Golden Gate Park

Things to do
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Golden Gate Park

Encompassing hiking trails, museums and sporting fields, Golden Gate Park feels like multiple parks packed into one great rectangle. On one end you'll find the latter-day hippies of Haight Street; on the other, a herd of bison roam within a paddock, a fixture since 1892. Formerly desolate sand dunes, today the 1,017-acre park is teeming with plants and wildlife. It's home to the oldest Japanese tea garden in the country, dotted with koi ponds and Japanese pagodas, as well as the San Francisco Botanical Garden, a 55-acre gem filled with flora from around the world. The Victorian building housing the Conservatory of Flowers—the oldest wood and glass conservatory on the continent—is as ornate as the array of orchids and tropical plants inside. (The lawn out front, dotted with vibrant flower beds, is a great place to picnic.) The Aids Memorial Grove provides a poignant, quiet tribute to those who lives have been touched by AIDS. The Koret Children's Quarter, built in 1887, is the oldest municipal children's playground in the country, revamped a few years ago into a state-of-the-art play park. The de Young Fine Arts Museum and the California Academy of Sciences anchor the quadrant between 9th Ave. and John F. Kennedy Drive, where on Sundays the main drive is closed to cars and strollers, bicyclists and rollerskaters take over the streets. Other activities in the park include paddle boats on Stow Lake, polo fields, a cycling track, a golf course, archery fields and horseshoe pits. Of course, the park is also the site for many of the city's cultural touchstones, from annual music festivals like Outside Lands and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to the boozy Bay to Breakers race.

By: Lauren Sheber


Venue name: Golden Gate Park
Address: Stanyan to Great Highway, Fulton St to Lincoln Way; Entrances at 9th Ave, Stanyan St, and along Lincoln Blvd and Fulton St.
San Francisco

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  • Festivals Friday August 11 2017 - Sunday August 13 2017

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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Zach L

If I had to choose between spending a day in Central Park or Golden Gate Park, I would probably pick the latter. I haven't explored either outdoor space in its entirety, but Golden Gate Park has a waterfall. There's also an observation deck, where you can take those requisite, breathtaking Instagrams of the surrounding natural splendor. My suggestion? Come in October for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, where you'll be able to watch a ton of great bands while drinking a beverage of your choosing (it's BYOB).