San Francisco: Five Can't-Miss Parks, Flickr: Daniel Ramirez

A Trail in Golden Gate Park


San Francisco is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. On one side of the city there’s the bay, on the other, the Pacific Ocean, and just to the north there are rolling hills. While San Francisco has some great museums and things to do indoors, most people visit the Bay Area for its great outdoor activities. It should come as no surprise then that San Francisco is full of green spaces and parks throughout the city. Below are the five can’t-miss parks for the next time you book flights to San Francisco and visit.

Golden Gate Park: Golden Gate Park is the Central Park of the West Coast. In fact, Golden Gate Park is actually larger than Central Park, covering over 1,000 acres. Golden Gate Park is such a versatile park not only because it’s the largest, but because it features some of the city’s top indoor attractions, including the California Academy of Sciences and de Young Museum. Other notable features to the park include a golf course, lake for renting paddle boats, botanical garden, and Japanese tea garden.

Dolores Park: Dolores Park doesn’t compare in size to Golden Gate Park since you can walk from end to end in just a few minutes, yet you’ll find it bustling on a sunny afternoon. The strength of the park is the large open space that is great for a picnic, playing with your pet, or throwing Frisbee. Live performances often take place during the summer and fall weekends. The top of the park also has great views looking down into San Francisco. Grab lunch to go from a local Mission eatery and enjoy an afternoon at Dolores Park.

Buena Vista Park: Located in the Haight District of San Francisco, Buena Vista Park requires a little more of a hike, literally. Perched on a hilltop, visitors will have to climb the flights of stairs and wind their way up the trails to get to the top. However, the reward of walking to the top is a beautiful view of downtown San Francisco. While much of the park is wooded, if you walk further west down Haight Street, there is a large open space that is nice to spend an afternoon on a warm day.

Alamo Square: Alamo Square may not ring a bell until you hear the name “Postcard Row.” Alamo Square is home to that famous line of homes with downtown San Francisco as the backdrop. The area is much more residential than many of San Francisco’s parks, but a visit to Alamo Square is worth it just for the views and an opportunity for an iconic photo.

Sutro Heights Park: Sutro Heights Park is one of the most overlooked parks in San Francisco. Much of this is due to the fact that it’s in a neighborhood that is primarily residential and several minutes from downtown San Francisco. However, Sutro Heights Park is home to one of the best scenic views in the city. The park overlooks San Francisco’s very own ruins, Sutro Baths, and the Pacific Ocean. On a clear night, this is one of the best sunset views in the city.


Photo: Daniel Ramirez

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