Like many great cities in the world that have gigantic parks that give a splash of green and serenity in the center of concrete jungles, San Francisco has Golden Gate Park. Golden Gate Park could be compared to New York’s Central Park. It is long and just narrow enough that on a map it looks like green landing strip but in reality has is actually 20% bigger than Central Park. Golden Gate Park is laced with quaint paths that allow for biking, skating or just plain ole walking and jogging. As you travel into the center of the park, gone our the city noises of sirens, horns and foot traffic, but to be replaced with quiet, calm and an ocean of green in the form of lawns, trees, manmade lakes and small forests. Dotting the green landscape are various small monuments, fountains and local points of interest.
Due to the high number of locals (especially on sunny Sunday’s that hang out here) Golden Gate Park is an interesting San Francisco attraction for those looking to get an authentic taste for what the city is about beyond the more touristy draws of the cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square. It is here you’ll see all walks of life converging in a peaceful and relaxing setting. From the bohemian/artist set to gay couples to young yuppies with children from Marin-Golden Gate Park has it all.
Some of the key sites to see when visiting Golden Gate Park are the Japanese Tea Garden, Conservatory of Flowers and Stow Lake. Also centrally located in the park the California Academy of Sciences, a science/museum dedicated to earth sciences with cool exhibits that feature an earthquake simulator, planetarium and live rain forest. If you are limited on time, definitely check out the Japanese Tea Garden. At $7 a person it is a tranquil Japanese style garden complete with koy pounds, bamboo forests, a statue of Buddha and quaint bridges that cross streams.
Located on the western end of the city, it is bordered to the north by San Francisco’s Richmond District (a residential neighborhood) and to the south by another residential area, the Sunset District and on the west by the Pacific Ocean.
Getting to Golden Gate Park:
Golden Gate Park has good public transportation options for those coming from Union Square. For $4.00 roundtrip you can take the Muni Street Car line (The N line) from the Powell or Civic Street stations. Note the street car runs underground in Downtown San Francisco and surfaces to street level near the park. EXIT: 7th and Irving. Walk North on 7th to the Park. There are lots of signs as you enter park pointing you to the various park attractions.