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11 Parks in San Francisco to enjoy

11 parks in San Francisco

Who doesn’t love a little walk in the park when travelling? It makes museum hopping and tourist traps melt away for a moment while reconnecting with nature. There are many parks in San Francisco that you should take time to see. Some are quite large, others not so much, but they all have their own charm.

Whether you are planning a visit San Francisco, or if you live here but haven’t noticed these parks, this list is for you. In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in San Francisco, we’ve come across much information, some of which can only be gleaned when doing the actual scavenger hunt.

However, we also wanted to share some of that information with you for your visit planning. Here are 11 parks in San Francisco.

11 parks in San Francisco

  1. Almo Square
    • Located in the Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood, Almo Square overlooks the city skyline and more importantly, the famous Painted Ladies (Victorian-style homes) seen in so many films (70+) and postcards.
  2. aquatic parkAquatic Park
    • Aquatic Park is located between the Bay and Beach St., between Hyde St and Van Ness Ave. It faces Aquatic cove and the Aquatic Park Pier from which awesome views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island can be had.
    • Aquatic Park also houses the Maritime Museum in the Bathhouse Building, the art deco structure shaped like a boat in the centre of the park.
    • It is also across the street from Ghirardelli Square.
  3. Golden Gate Park
    • Golden Gate Park is one of the largest urban parks in the world. Beyond the vast greenery and water works it boast the California Academy of Sciences, the de Young Museum, the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, Japanese Tea Garden, Steinhart Aquarium, the Conservatory of Flowers as well as facilities for more than 20 sports.
  4. Grand View Park / Turtle Hill
    • Take the tiles Moraga steps up 666ft for outstanding panoramic views of the city. It isn’t so full of people because of the long staircase you need to walk up – it isn’t for everyone.
  5. Lafayette Park
    • Lafayette Park is partly a dog park but also houses tennis courts and children’s playgrounds. This park is in the Pacific Heights neighbourhood.
  6. Mission Dolores Park
    • Mission Dolores was the 7th mission build along the King’s road. The park is located 2 blocks south of the Mission itself. It offers great views of Mission District, Downtown and the San Francisco Bay. This park attracts up to 10,000 people on a sunny weekend day.
  7. The Presidio
    • The Presidio, a former military post, now stands as a national park. It offers spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
  8. Coit TowerTelegraph Hill
    • Telegraph Hill is in North Beach, just east of Washington Square. Why the name Telegraph Hill? Because during the 1849 gold rush days, it was used as a signalling post. There was here a Semaphore telegraph which is a kind of tower which communicates signals to those you can see it by pivoting shutters also known as blades or paddles.
    • When walking on Telegraph Hill, listen and look for the Cherry-Headed Conures, a type of parrot only found here.
    • Pioneer Park stands atop of Telegraph Hill. Alcatraz Island, the bay and the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge to the right are all clearly visible from up here.
  9. Twin Peaks
    • These are in fact two uninhabited hills among San Francisco’s 43. They are more than 900 feet high, but not the highest, and offer outstanding views of the city, the bay and the Pacific Ocean. There is parking on the north peak from which you can simply take in the views, or go trail hiking.
  10. Union Square Park
    • North of Market St and southwest of the city’s Financial District, Union Square offers respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. It presents small grassy areas, many palm trees for shade and many seating areas.
  11. FirefightersWashington Square
    • Washington Square is one of the city’s first parks established in 1847. Facing the square is Saints Peter and Paul Church, completed in 1924. You will also find Mama’s restaurant and Liguria Bakery around this square in case you are hungry. There are as well many other restaurants around the park. You will also find here benches, public restrooms and water fountains to refresh you after that trek up and down Russian Hill.
    • At the centre of the square stands a bronze statue of Benjamin Franklin, installed in 1879, donated to the city by one of the few to make millions during the gold rush – Henry Cogswell, a dentist and investor. A time capsule was installed under the statue with objects from Cogswell. Washington Square opened in 1979, 100 years later.

We invite you to try our San Francisco Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 2-hour guided walking tour throughout the heart of San Francisco you do on your mobile phone (how it works).  It only costs $30 for your group. Moreover, you will enjoy seeing these parks and much more while completing challenges and learning about San Francisco’s history.

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