The Japanese Tea Garden
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is an urban park masterpiece. Built in the 1870s on what was most sand dunes that were considered unpromising lands, Golden Gate Park’s founders soon planted over 100,000 eucalyptus, pine, and Monterey cypress, transforming it into a public playground larger then New York City’s Golden Gate Park. The Park has seen many versions of the city, from its refined Victorian period to its free-spirited hippy days. Today’s Golden Gate Park reflects its colorful history while embracing the present with many great opportunities for visitors to have fun on its 1000 acres. Here are 10 ways to enjoy Golden Gate Park the next time you book flights to San Francisco and visit.
Visit the California Academy of Sciences – Completely rebuilt in 2008, the new and improved California Academy of Sciences features an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and a four story simulated rainforest.
Grab a piece of cardboard and take to the slides of Children’s Playground – The concrete slides at Children’s Playground are the stuff of legends. For generations, kids have been lugging pieces of cardboard up the steps and then whizzing down the long slide with permanent grins etched on their faces. Good news is fun-loving adults are welcome as well.
Peddleboat around Stowe Lake – Taking a peddleboat ride around Stowe Lake is a Golden Gate Park rite of passage. The ducks are happy to keep you company as you use foot power to send your boat gliding around the lake, passing the waterfall cascading from Strawberry Hill.
Explore the botanical beauty of the Conservatory of Flowers – The Conservatory is a large Victorian greenhouse with a 60-foot dome housing rare and exotic plants from around the world. The architecture is grand and the flowers are beautiful, so why not stroll through and take time to smell the roses?
See a concert – During the summer months, there always seems to be some sort of musical celebration going on in the park. Outside Lands is one of the most popular, bringing hip music, food, and art to the park along with thousands of festival goers.
Feed your artistic side at the De Young Museum – The de Young houses almost 5,000 pieces of American art from the 17th through the 21st centuries, as well as international contemporary art, textiles, and costumes. Culture yourself a little bit and see which masterpiece catches your eye!
Japanese Tea Garden – The oldest Japanese garden in the US, the Japanese Tea Garden was built in 1894 as part of the World’s Fair, and has been delighting all those who stroll over its bridges and past its pagodas ever since. Be sure to sip some tea in the Teahouse, the first place in the United States to ever serve fortune cookies!
Visit the bison paddock – Yes, there really are bison living in the middle of San Francisco! Bison have lived in the park since 1891 and over 100 bison have been born since the original pair arrived. Stop on over and say hi to a few of them, they appreciate the company.
Go for a bike ride – Golden Gate Park is three miles long and almost a half mile wide, with plenty of great trails weaving their way through the forests, gardens, and play areas. Bikes and surreys can be rented from the concessions at Stowe Lake and make for the perfect mode of transportation while exploring this large and diverse park.
Dine at the Beach Chalet – Located on the edge of Golden Gate Park just across the street from Ocean Beach, Beach Chalet is the perfect place to end a day exploring Golden Gate Park. Besides amazing views, you will also find good food and a nice variety of house-made ales. Sip on a pint while you reminisce about your perfect day in Golden Gate Park.