The Top 5 Parks in San Francisco
Posted on Jun 23, 2022 by Questo Team
San Francisco is a city of joy for people of all ages! Everybody will find something that suits them best. One of the most joyful things for tourists are walking tours. That’s why we have prepared a complete overview of must-see recreation parks in San Francisco.
Prepare your boots and sunglasses, as you will be walking a lot!
#1 – Golden Gate Park
Opening hours: 24 hours a day
If you had to choose only one place to visit in San Francisco, the answer would be easy – The Golden Gate Park! This 400-hectare park is a complex of all things for tourists: sport, museums, nature, relax! It begins in the city center and ends on the coast of the Pacific Ocean.
Sport. For all sport-lovers, the Golden Gate Park offers plenty of activities: playgrounds for football, volleyball, basketball, golf courses, and archery areas. For children, there are playground complexes with climbing walls, slides, and swings.
Museums. If you are a fan of science and art, then this park is a definite must-see for you. The Golden Gate Park prepared a rich program for the visitors, which includes the Conservatory of Flowers, the California Academy of Sciences, de Young Museum, and San Francisco Botanical Garden. And this list is not over!
Nature. This recreation park has something special to offer – almost all types of landscapes. Hills, waterfalls, lakes, dunes. You can choose whatever you like and have a complete rest near your favorite landscape.
Questo tips: one day is definitely not enough for exploring this spot. Have at least 2-3 days for the Golden Gate Park – it is worth it!
#2 Presidio of San Francisco
Opening hours: 24 hours a day
This park is known as the best one for family vacations in San Francisco. Calm, picturesque and has lots of interesting to see! Even though it is a former military base – this fact only adds some charm to this place.
It is located right at the Golden Gate Bridge – so nature has a lot to offer there: forests, San Francisco Bay, fresh eucalyptus air, and of course the closest view at the Golden Gate Bridge. The park is divided into 4 parts: Main Post, Crissy Field, Southern Wilds, and Golden Gate. Each of them has something unique: art installations made from natural materials, picnic areas, restaurants, breathtaking views and outdoor activities.
Sport. Presidio of San Francisco has a lot to offer for outdoor enthusiasts. Public golf courses, rock climbing gym, trampoline house, areas for hiking, and bikeways.
History. As we have mentioned before, Presidio used to be a base for the U.S. Army. So, it’s a unique chance to see the San Francisco Bay from the same historical perspective as it was more than 100 years ago! As for now, there are several historical exhibitions at the Presidio Officer’s Club – the former gathering place for Army brass.
Questo tips: don’t forget to visit Walt Disney Family Museum.
#3 San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
Opening hours: 10 AM – 4 PM
The historical lovers will adore this place! Maritime National Historical Park plunges you into the atmosphere of sailing and navigation. This open-air museum is located directly on the edge of San Francisco Bay. The park offers the tourists the following places to visit: Maritime Museum, the Visitor Center, the marina itself, Aquatic Park, exhibitions, and the library.
The best thing is that you have the chance to feel yourself in the sailors’ shoes! You can get directly into the hold of the real schooner, touch everything, look into the cabins of the bosun and captain, see where the sailors slept, and get more information about the history of the ship and the crew. Kids will be amazed by the master class on how to tie a reef knot! In the nearby pavilions, craftsmen show visitors the principle of making boats. In the scientific library, you will the old mariners’ documents such as shipbuilding drawings, about 5000 maps, archival records of the shipowners, etc.
Questo tips: don’t overlook this national park! The aim of this unique place is to save and promote the unique maritime heritage of the USA. So, the day spent at this park will leave a memorable impression on you and your children.
#4 Buena Vista Park
Opening hours: 6 AM to 10 PM
Buena Vista Park, established in 1867, is the oldest in San Francisco. Now it is a wildlife oasis, where you can escape from the everyday problems and enjoy the spectacular views of the business center of San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean.
The park’s main attraction are the coast live oak groves. It is a unique thing, as in the whole of San Francisco you won’t find almost any oak groves! Therefore, there are lots of squirrels in Buena Vista Park, as they feed on acorns from the oats.
This place is a perfect dog-friendly attraction! There are many nooks and forest paths, so your dog will be completely happy to explore this spot. Also, Buena Vista has prepared a special place for the dog owners – an off-leash park space.
Questo tips: the road up to the top of the park is steep, so have comfortable shoes with you.
#5 Grand View Park
Opening hours: 5 AM – 12 AM
As you understood from the title, the main point of this park is the best view of the whole of San Francisco, including the city center, San Francisco Bay, the Pacific Ocean, and even the part of the Golden Gate Bridge! It is a perfect place for observing sunsets as well.
This park is elevated, so the road there may be a little steep, but it is definitely worth it. The path includes several stairs – either from the east or from the west side. Our recommendation is to start on the west side – there you can find the so-called Tiled Steps. It is a world-famous mosaic staircase – a hidden piece of art in San Francisco.
Questo tips: it can be quite windy on the top of the hill. So, make sure to bring a jacket or a warm sweatshirt.
As you can see, San Francisco offers national parks for every taste. Choose the one that suits you best and start exploring!