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What are your favourite parks in San Francisco?

What are your favourite parks in San Francisco?

Mar 20th, 2006, 09:16 PM
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What are your favourite parks in San Francisco?


I'm planning to visit SF for the first time (from Montreal)in my 34 years this coming July. One of my favourite things to do visiting a city is to enjoy that city's parks. I appreciate parks that can bring tranquility & peace, or ones even that are busier but have interesting statues, fun people-watching, lakes, trails with nice views.

I won't have a car and am planning to stay likely in the Mission/Castro neighbourhood. Any suggestions would be appreciated; I'll be in town 4-5 days and am trying to figure out how best to divvy up my time.

Best wishes, DAN
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 09:24 PM
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Try the Golden Gate park. It's pretty big and quite nice with a beautiful pond, bridges, etc. Climb on top of De Young museum (free) for a nice view of the town. It's right in the park. A new building with very interesting modern architecture.
lovetotravel27 is offline  
Mar 21st, 2006, 07:04 AM
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Hi lovetotravel27

Thanks for your kind suggestion... that's one massive park! I'll make sure to go to the area with the de Young Memorial Museum. Looking on my map, I'd imagine the Western side of that park is also quite lovely as one approaches the Pacific Ocean and Ocean Beach?

Looking at my map, Lincoln Park seems interesting at the juncture of the South Bay & Pacific Ocean, yes? Marina Green was advised to me as well for the water/park combo.

This will be 3rd trip out to the west coast; went to LA in 1995 (what I saw was not my cup of tea) and Vancouver last year (LOVED it, so much natural beauty within easy access of the city, even on public transit!). Hear SF is more like Van. (Also, I imagine the sushi is as incredibly tasty and fresh in SF as it was in Van!)

Best wishes and thanks again, DAN
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Mar 21st, 2006, 07:29 AM
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For "tranquility and peace," visit Washington Square Park in the morning and watch people perform tai-chi.

While you're there, have breakfast at the ever-popular Mama's, corner of Stockton & Filbert. Best breakfast in San Francisco.
Gekko is offline  
Mar 21st, 2006, 08:48 AM
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My favorite park is teeny. It's on Russian Hill way up at the top - I think it's Taylor and Vallejo? - of a lot of wonderful tree-lined steps that go right through a little neighborhood.

It's really a patch of grass surrounded by lilies, but it has an amazing view of the city, and whenever I can, I walk there (!), get a coffee from a nearby grocery and enjoy the early morning. A perfect way to start a day.
seasweetie is offline  
Mar 21st, 2006, 08:58 AM
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Dear Daniel Williams,

I applaud your interest in the parks of our city. Golden Gate Park is, of course, the jewel in the crown - but it is big and not easily covered in a short time. If I were taking a visitor to GG Park and we had just an afternoon, I'd hit the Arboretum, which is very close to the 9th Avenue entrance to the park. It's also very close to the "new" De Young Museum, so you could combine those interests. The Arboretum has a lot of good rambling walks and big lawns, also a "scent garden" which was orginally created for the pleasure of visually-impaired persons. The Japanese Tea Garden is right across the way from the Arboretum - I've never really been a fan of the Tea Garden, but it's an o.k. example of Japanese-style landscaping.

Here's a very new "park" for you: the mosaic stairs at 16th Avenue and Noriega. It's a long staircase/street which faces a spectacular view of the ocean and headlands from a neighborhood called Golden Gate Heights. Every inch of this stairway has now been covered in a tile mosaic which depicts the ocean, earth and heavens in a very fanciful (psychedelic!) style. Take the number 66 bus from its terminal at 9th Avenue and Judah Street. Tell the driveryou want to get off at the stairs - he or she will know. Sunset is the best time for this visit.

Just a couple of my favorites - have fun.
dovima is offline  
Mar 21st, 2006, 09:25 AM
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Alamo Square Park has the iconic view of the "painted ladies" Victorian houses with the TransAmerica Tower and the rest of downtown in the distance.
KE1TH is offline  
Mar 21st, 2006, 09:44 AM
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So many parks, so little time!

Besides Golden Gate Park, there are also the wonderful walks along:

Crissy Field - all the way down past the Warming Hut to the pier and watch the people fish while also affording a terrific view back to the city and its skyscrapers

The Presidio - you will need a car for this one. Terrific views back to the the Golden Gate Bridge. Also on the site of the old Letterman Hospital is the new Digital Arts center and its wonderful manicured lawn; grab a cup of coffee in its cafe.

At the very northwest corner of San Francisco is Fort Miley. From here you can gaze out to the vast Pacific. Sunset is the best time for this park.

Ocean Beach - which also affords a terrific view out across the Pacific. If you feel wealthy, dine at the Cliff House. If you feel frugal, dine at Louie's Cafe which is just up the street. Nearby are the Sutro Baths.

Pioneer Square - altho covered iin concret and right smack dab in the middle of Chinatown may be worth a visit. It is the "birthplace" of San Francisco.

Fort Mason - you can get to the lovely parks and the exhibits in Fort Mason by going in the "back way"- hiking from the beach leading west of Fhserman's Wharf.

So many more parks in San Francisco that are smaller - you will have to come back for those! Enjoy!
easytraveler is offline  
Mar 21st, 2006, 04:32 PM
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Thanks for all the great advice... I may have to plan an extra day! I'm also looking forward to trying restaurants when I'm in the area of each of the parks (esp. vegetarian, so any resto advice in this genre would be awesome!).

Anyhow, if any of you come out eastern Canada (Quebec/Montreal) way and need park or other advice, don't hesitate to query.

Best wishes to you all; the enthusiasm is making me want to be there already! DAN
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Mar 21st, 2006, 06:38 PM
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Is that little park in Russian hill the Ina Coolbrith Park?

sandypaws3 is offline  
Mar 25th, 2006, 06:05 AM
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I found the Coolbirth Park at Vallejo & Taylor and thought that might have been the park Seasweetie referred to, but only she/he? knows.

Easytraveler, you write that I'd need a car to visit the Presidio. I notice that there is "the Coastal Trail" and
"the Bay Trail" which run close to the water in the Presidio. I'm curious if these are bike trails; if one can rent a bike, I thought that might be a fun way to explore the coastline. If not, I can walk for hours in complete contentment or would even consider jogging (I jogged 1hr. 15 min. around Stanley Park in Vancouver last summer). I'd imagine with the Presidio so central in SF that there'd be a bus stop nearby...yes?

Best wishes, DAN
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Mar 25th, 2006, 08:04 AM
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since you will be staying in mission/castro you will be right next to what i consider the best park in the city (maybe because i live next to it): dolores park. be sure to check it out in the evening as it has one of the best views in the city. great area to stay in!
travelbug415 is offline  
Mar 25th, 2006, 08:48 AM
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Seasweetie, that's the hidden one I was thinking of too.
Daniel you should also explore the Twin Peaks/Mt. Sutro area for tremendous views on all sides.
Check this out:
You can also take the MUNI bus over to Marin Headlands on Sundays(?) only.
bbqboy is offline  
Mar 25th, 2006, 09:51 AM
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My favorite is Union Square Park. I like to sit there nursing a cup of coffee and watching the locals and tourists.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Mar 25th, 2006, 01:32 PM
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You mentioned Lincoln Park. Yes. That is where the Palace of the Legion of Honor is located. Paintings, etc. If you walk to the side and back of it you have a view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the ocean side. There are quite a few trails in the park, also.

There is a vegetarian restaurant ... Green's ... located in or near Fort Mason. Nice views. Maybe somebody here has the address.
jtrandolph is offline  
Jul 26th, 2006, 07:53 AM
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Thanks for the help, one and all. Just visited and enjoyed on your lists:

Dolores Park*
Golden Gate Park
Washington Square Park
Japanese Tea Garden
Alamo Square Park*
Crissy Field*
Presidio (part near GG Bridge)
Ocean Beach*
Fort Mason

Great advice one and all...I especially loved the starred parks!


mosaic stairs
Fort Miley
Pioneer Square
Coolbirth Park
Twin Peaks/Mt. Sutro
Lincoln Park
Union Square Park

These parks combined with the vibe of SF give me so many reasons to return!

Cheers, DAN
Daniel_Williams is offline  
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