Covering more than 1,000 acres (405 ha), Golden Gate Park is the city’s most famous green space. You could spend days exploring its many attractions, from the Japanese Tea Garden and Botanical Gardens to the Conservatory of Flowers. But there are plenty more alternatives for getting away from it all.
Large areas of the northern and western shoreline are protected in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The Presidio encompasses woodlands, beaches, dunes, marshlands, and grasslands that shelter a wealth of birds and wildlife.
There are plenty of walking and biking trails and historic buildings to explore.
Lincoln Park, another part of the National Recreation Area, may have a golf course and major art museum, the Legion of Honor, but it also has wild, windswept cliffs, and dramatic views, which you can see along the Coastal Trail. It adjoins Sutro Heights Park, where there are more stunning views from Cliff House, a restaurant overlooking Seal
Rock. When the wind is right you can even hear the barking of the sea lions who inhabit these offshore outcrops. The last thing you might expect to see in the downtown Financial District is a grove of giant redwood trees, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at the TransAmerica Redwood Park. The half-acre park on the eastern side of the TransAmerica Pyramid is a shady retreat, with playful fountains and statues.
The redwoods are fitting green partners for the pyramid, which is San Francisco’s tallest building. Another hidden green space is Ina Coolbrith Park in Russian Hill, which has terraces carved into a steep hillside and benches to enjoy the flowers, trees and spectacular views.
Cliff House 1090 Point Lobos, Richmond;
Ina Coolbrith Park Taylor and Vallejo streets, Russian
Hill Lincoln Park Entrances off Clement Street at 34th and 48th avenues, Richmond
The Presidio Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Building 201, Fort Mason, Marina District;
TransAmerica Redwood Park 600 Montgomery Street, Financial District