In the 1860s, San Franciscans began to feel the need for a spacious public park similar to NYC’s Central Park. Golden Gate Park was carved out of unpromising sand and shore dunes that were known as the Outside Lands, an unincorporated area west of San Francisco’s then-borders. Totally escape the city in this huge and beautiful park. Best enjoyed on bikes so you can cover a lot of ground. GG Park is wonderful any day of the week (note: if you want to visit DeYoung museum, it is closed on Mondays), however Sundays the park is closed to street traffic and therefore it’s especially lively. On an average sunny weekend day—especially during the summer and fall—you can find dozens of bigger parties playing games like slosh ball and volleyball, as well as hundreds of smaller picnics.
The Golden Gate Park Highlights
- DeYoung museum: a FREE observation tower with amazing views. The actual museum requires purchasing a ticket, but the tower is free. Closed on Mondays.
- Japanese Tea Garden: Take a trip to a Japan for just $8! This unique and peaceful oasis is definitely worth the trip. Tip: Enter for FREE between 9-10am every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
- Sunday Afternoons: If you go to the park on Sunday from 12-5pm you can watch my favorite activity, rollerskating at JFK Dr & 6th Ave! A very uniquely San Francisco experience. And free Swing Dancing lessons, Lindy in the Park, are just up the road from 11am– 2pm.
- AIDS memorial grove: so magical and no one knows about it! Right by the tennis courts and conservatory of flowers. If you stand exactly in the middle of the circle and talk, you can hear yourself echo. It is the craziest experience. Beautiful, short walking path from here.
- Walk around Stow Lake or rent a pedal boat!
- Check out Golden Gate Park’s real life American Bison. Bison? Yes! These bison have been residents to the park since 1892. Fun fact: Before San Francisco opened its first zoo in the 1930s, creatures were kept in Golden Gate Park, including elk, deer, bear, sheep, and bison.