Golden Gate Park

A little known fact about San Francisco is that its Golden Gate Park is larger than New York’s famed Central Park. Always ahead of its time, in 1870 Golden Gate Park was deeded to the people of San Francisco so that in the future the population wouldn’t feel overcrowded. Over the years it has evolved and saw the addition of a fine arts museum, horse stables and various theme areas built to resemble a Cairo Street and an Eskimo village. Only in San Francisco…!

Today Golden Gate Park is an excellent getaway from the city – a place to relax, take a boat out on Stow Lake, play a round of disc golf or simply watch the buffalo graze.

Where it’s At

The park stretches from South Bay up to the Ashbury neighborhood and is bordered by Fulton and Lincoln Way. It is easily reached from any point in the city via public transport. Once there, the Golden Gate Shuttle will take you to and from the park’s main attractions.

What to See

The park has numerous attractions worth visiting. The Conservatory of Flowers is the oldest existing glass-and-wood Victorian greenhouses and exhibits specimens from all over the world – including rare orchids. One of the park’s most popular areas is the Japanese Tea Garden and its maze of small paths that take you by fish ponds, sculptures and quaint bridges. At the tea house you can try a cup of traditional Japanese tea. The recently refurbished De Young Museum focuses on American paintings and decorative art, along with a substantial collection of international contemporary art.

If you happen to be in the park in September, do not miss the San Francisco Opera’s annual free outdoor concert series held in the Sharon Meadow.

The park also has a bit of a Dutch flair, with two historic Dutch style windmills located in its western portion. Both are surrounded by meticulously manicured tulip gardens.

Besides the sites, there’s plenty to keep one active while visiting Golden Gate Park. Archery, basketball, biking, skating (rental available), golf and horseshoes are just some of the available activities. You can even go fly fishing at the fly casting pools, considered by some as the best in the country (although there are no fish in the pools…).