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degas Jul 7th, 2004 07:19 AM

San Francisco: Golden Gate Park
Looking for interesting and fun things to do here. Would also appreciate info on public transportation options from the Union Square area. Should we expect for it to take about 30 minutes to get here?

My initial thought was to spend about 4 hours here in the morning on the places found below and maybe have a picnic. I guess you could spend much more time, but this is only a four day trip and we want to see so many other places as well.

Conservatory of Flowers
Strybing Arboretum and Botanical Garden
Shakespeare Garden (across from Strybing)
Japanese Tea Garden & Tea at the Tea House
Stow Lake

Possible options: Rent bikes outside park. Pack a picnic lunch. Grocery store called Andronico's located 3 or 4 blocks from the park on Irving and Funston that has a great deli counter.

Nearby is Irving street. The stretch between 7th and 10th Avenues is filled with cafes, restaurants and shops. You pass along it you come in on the N Judah Muni train.

bardo Jul 7th, 2004 08:17 AM

Welcome to the US board. The bus from Union Square to GGP is less than 30 min. 4 hours is not much time there at all - prioritize what you want to do at GGP and do them in order until your "times up". Personally, I could spend 3 hours just in a museum :) Renting bikes is a great time-saving idea - but you still won't have enough time to go all the way to the ocean.
Also look into free concerts, plays, etc. that might be going on the day you hit the park - it's especially likely in the summer.

degas Jul 7th, 2004 09:11 AM

Bardo, thanks for the info and welcome.

I'm famous for trying to do too much in one day, but this is one place to actually linger awhile.

I want to do a walking tour of Pacific Heights that same day so I might go there first thing in the morning and then go on to GGP so we might extend our time. The natural history museum looked interesting - but don't they all?

Any idea how far it is distance wise from the entrance to the ocean? Read something about a windmill being at that end. Maybe we could end up there and catch a bus back instead of re-tracing out steps.

djdave Jul 7th, 2004 09:23 AM

I think it's something like three miles from the entrance to the ocean from what I've read.

I also thought I read that a tram runs through the park. Can anyone confirm this? My wife and I are probably going to go there on Sunday on our second day in S.F.

loveopera Jul 7th, 2004 09:32 AM

No tram inside the park, but there are buses on both sides of the park, on Fulton and Lincoln Streets. Walking from Conservatory to the Ocean is a very very long walk. I think both deYoung and Natural History Museum are closed for renovation at the moment. Arboretum, Conservatory and Japanese Tea Garden are open I believe.

loveopera Jul 7th, 2004 09:34 AM

Andronico is an excellent supermarket. There are many good restaurants on Irving Street.

bardo Jul 7th, 2004 11:01 AM

Here's a link for the free shuttle that runs throughout the park (weekends & holidays only):


dovima Jul 7th, 2004 11:05 AM

Hey, I remember the 14th Avenue Andronico's when it was Park N' Shop!

I have never biked the entire length of the park, but I imagine it would not be too hard or time consuming. There are no major hills inside the park.

Handy transit lines to parallel GG Park are: the 5-Fulton, on the north side (Fulton Street) and the N-Judah tram line on the south side. The 71-Haight/Noriega goes along the park on Lincoln Way until it turns to go up 23rd Avenue. The only bus line that actually cuts through the park is the 44 O'Shaughnessy.

If you want to take an interesting ride from the Mission or the Castro to the Fulton Street side of the park, catch the 33-Ashbury at 18th & Castro, going west. It'll take you through some of the neighborhoods around Twin Peaks and the Upper Haight.

The area around 9th Avenue and Irving is indeed chock full of shops and restaurants. I love the Arizmendi Bakery on 9th between Judah and Irving. Strong coffee, fresh-baked breads, pastries and a daily pizzete.

Degas, welcome to the U.S. board and to my hometown!

bardo Jul 7th, 2004 11:12 AM

I also wanted to suggest that you do a search on "Chatnoir" here on the US board. Not long ago she(?) started about a dozen different threads on SF each of which got some good responses.

SAB Jul 7th, 2004 11:29 AM

Looks like you have being doing your homework, Degas. If you want to go all the way to the ocean, renting bikes is a good option although it will make for a longer day. I used to do this rider 2-3 times a week (before bike was stolen) and to the ocean is all gradual downhill slope and therefore a breeze. Even though there are no large hills coming back it is all uphill and can come as a surprise. Andronico's is only one block from the park as Irving runs parallel to the Lincoln side of the Park; it is 3 or 4 blocks from the 9th and Irving entrance to the Park that many visitors use. As far as getting to the Park from Union Square, you could either take a bus such as the 5 Fulton from Market street or the N Judah streetcar. With the N Judah you can get off either at Stanyan (if you were going to rent bikes) or at 9th (which is closer to the arboretum, etc). The N is faster because it is below ground on Market and has less stops. All of the areas you have listed are relatively close together (they are all in the eastern end of the Park)and are viewable within a 4 hour period although not at a leisurely pace. As far as getting to the Park from Pacific Heights I would suggest you consult the SF Muni web site for bus routes--I'm pretty sure you will have to transfer from one bus to another i.e. from the 24 Divisadero to the 5 Fulton.

loveopera Jul 7th, 2004 05:20 PM

Andronico is between Funston(13th Av) and 14th Av, on Irving. Bicycling to the beach from the eastern end is easy. The other way isn't bad, either. You get to see bufflos on the way. Around 9th Av and Irving is a real San Francisco neighborhood, worth taking a walk around. Check out the stores there, then have pastry at Tart to Tart.

Grasshopper Jul 7th, 2004 05:28 PM

Will you please be sure to tell us exactly when this is happening so we can turn out to see (and cheer)?!

degas Jul 7th, 2004 05:31 PM

Thank you all for the info. I just hope they have bikes with reinforced springs and extra wide seats.

I may pass on the windmill. Last time I was in Holland, the sail of one of those crazy things got caught on my fannypack and I made twenty rotations before the motor fired up. The view was great, but it made me too dizzy.

dovima Jul 8th, 2004 08:56 AM

Not to fear, degas. That windmill has been non-operational since I was a tyke, long, long ago.

At the Arboretum, check out the garden for the blind (I'm sure it has another name now). Everything in this little corner is either scented or textured in some unique way.

BayArea Jul 8th, 2004 10:57 AM


You're visiting all my favorite places in Golden Gate Park.

I can confirm that both the DeYoung and the Natural History museum are currently closed.

The distance from Stow Lake to the Ocean is about 3 miles. From the Ninth street entrance to the ocean is almost 4 miles.

degas Jul 8th, 2004 12:32 PM

grasshopper, the exact dates of this proposed trip are "secret" due to serious issues/conflicts with greedy creditors and boring relatives. I may be forced to use a complex tactical deception plan to conceal my cross-country movements.

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