Yerba Buena Gardens

Stroll, Shop, Play, and Dine!

Often called the cultural heart of San Francisco, Yerba Buena Gardens has something to offer everyone. The Gardens are a popular and enduring destination for tourists and residents alike and there is a wealth of things to see and do every month of the year. Strolling down one of the lovely Esplanade walkways surrounded by flowers or window shopping in the commercial Metreon area, it would be difficult for a visitor to imagine that this area was once the epitome of urban blight. Not long ago, this part of SoMa (South of Market Street) was mostly rickety warehouses, firetrap boarding houses and other aging and dangerous structures. After a few hopeful but ultimately failed renewal plans for the area, a new plan began to take shape in the mid-70s.

At the core of the new plan was the simple idea of combining low-income housing with open spaces, a thriving arts and entertainment complex, cultural institutions, a retail hub and much more. Today, Yerba Buena Gardens is a thriving part of San Francisco featuring important destinations such as:

  • The Esplanade
    The Esplanade is nearly six acres of open space, a precious commodity in any world-class city. Here visitors will find well-tended lawns and gardens with plenty of walking paths, park benches, scheduled and impromptu performances and other delights.
  • The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
    The YBCA is a thriving venue full of performance spaces, teaching studios, viewing rooms and general hub of artistic activity for all kinds of arts and artists, with performances and exhibitions every month of the year.
  • The Rooftop
    A most clever and innovative use of public space, the Rooftop is a children’s playground built on top of the Moscone Convention Center. It is designed as a large pit, with plenty of slides, monkey bars, sandboxes and other play areas surrounded by ample seating with excellent sightlines so parents can relax while keeping an eye on things.
  • The Children’s Creativity Museum
    Located on the Rooftop, this museum is designed to delight and inspire kids, with different arts studios and performances specifically for kids.
  • The Metreon
    This commercial and entertainment hub features 350,000 square feet of restaurants, movie theaters, stores and other attractions.
  • Farmer’s Markets
    Some of the city’s best fruits, vegetables, crafts, artisan foods and other treats are available at the YBG Farmer’s Markets (in season.)
  • Much More!

Simply put, you can find a lot of different things to see, do, taste, watch and enjoy at Yerba Buena Gardens. This is one of the most successful urban renewal projects in the country and well worth a visit whether you live here or are just visiting. For a full list of the many destinations within this destination and a calendar of events, visit the official Yerba Buena Gardens website at