Golden Gate Park

Culture / Outdoor Activity / Park
Golden Gate Park With eight lakes, two major museums, celebrated gardens, and an abundance of outdoor activities, Golden Gate Park is an idyllic getaway for the more than thirteen million people who pass through every year, looking for a retreat... San Francisco United States 37.76904 -122.483519
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Golden Gate Park - Culture | Outdoor Activity | Park in San Francisco.
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Party Earth Review With eight lakes, two major museums, celebrated gardens, and an abundance of outdoor activities, Golden Gate Park is an idyllic getaway for the more than thirteen million people who pass through every year, looking... ... read full review

  • Neighborhood:

  • Address:

    Between Stanyan Street to the east
    and Great Highway to the west,
    and Fulton Street to the north
    and Lincoln Way to the south
    San Francisco, CA 94118

    Get Directions

  • Metro:

    MUNI N Line: Carl Street & Stanyan Street, running parallel to the park all the way to Judah/La Playa/Ocean Beach‎ ‎

  • Phone:

    415-831-2700

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    Daily 6am–10pm
    Hours listed are official park hours, park itself does not close

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot
    • Night Spot

Party Earth Golden Gate Park Review

The Scene

With eight lakes, two major museums, celebrated gardens, and an abundance of outdoor activities, Golden Gate Park is an idyllic getaway for the more than thirteen million people who pass through every year, looking for a retreat...

With eight lakes, two major museums, celebrated gardens, and an abundance of outdoor activities, Golden Gate Park is an idyllic getaway for the more than thirteen million people who pass through every year, looking for a retreat from the urban crunch.

Outstripping New York’s Central Park by 174 acres, the park’s three-mile expanse was made up entirely of sand dunes until the late 1800s, when a major redevelopment campaign saw the planting of the first of seventy-five thousand trees.

Bikers, joggers, skaters, and casual strollers take to the winding dirt and paved paths, as well as the main thoroughfare of John F. Kennedy Drive, which partially closes to cars on weekends. Sports enthusiasts could spend days conquering all the options, from the tennis courts, archery field, golf course, and track and field stadium to fly-fishing and boating.

Visitors in the mood for a more relaxed adventure can wander through the collections at the de Young Museum, while de young and de old alike crowd into the California Academy of Sciences, a dazzling building featuring a living roof with nearly two million plants and a four-story rainforest home to thirty-eight thousand animals.

More wildlife roams further down the park at the Buffalo Paddock, but if the smell of bison inhibits a romantic meal, picnickers have plenty of other places to set their baskets, from private groves by cascading waterfalls to enormous botanical gardens and serenely hidden stone fountains.

And when the vast meadows aren’t taken over by sunbathers and Frisbee throwers, they’re usually alive with the sound of music, especially during popular festivals like Outside Lands and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.

No matter what they’re after, visitors will quickly discover that Golden Gate Park is the city’s premier place for physical, mental, and spiritual diversion.

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Tip from Emma:

Head to the California Academy of Sciences on Thursday nights after 6pm for NightLife! For $12 you get access to a special 21+ event where you can wander through the exhibits and aquariums with a cocktail, listen to a live band or DJ, and enjoy various theme nights from sustainable seafood cookouts to salsa dancing.

  • Crowd

    Athletes, skaters, musicians, hippies, families, couples, tourists, yuppies, hipsters, and everyone else. All ages, though some organized events are 21+.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Museums and Gardens:

    The de Young Museum with its American collection of thousands of paintings, sculptures, and objets d’art (free first Tuesday of every month and Fridays 6–8:45pm).

    The California Academy of Sciences, which features a T-Rex skeleton, an indoor rainforest, a planetarium, and many aquariums (free every third Wednesday).

    The San Francisco Botanical Garden and the Conservatory of Flowers, which include hundreds of rare and exotic plants (Conservatory free the first Tuesday of every month).

    Athletic Features and Activities:

    Tennis courts, an archery field, Kezar Stadium (a 10,000-seat track and field complex), fly-fishing ponds, boat rentals, a disc golf course, a nine-hole golf course, free swing dancing lessons on Sundays on JFK Drive between 8th and 10th Avenue, and ultimate Frisbee in Speedway Meadow.

    Music Festivals:

    Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (October) is a massive free event that is hardly strictly focused – but still hosts a whole lot – of bluegrass bands.

    Outside Lands (August) hosts dozens of hot indie rock, hip-hop, and electronica acts.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    The de Young Museum Café for soups, salads, sandwiches, and hot entrées; the Japanese Tea Garden for tea and cookies; Ironwood BBQ at the golf course for sandwiches, burgers, and lots of ribs; and the Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant right by the ocean for its full bar and restaurant serving everything from seafood to burgers and fries.

    Many restaurant options in surrounding neighborhoods, especially down Lincoln Way and in the Haight.

  • Prices

    Park entry is free. The de Young Museum $6–$10, California Academy of Sciences $20–$30. Botanical Gardens $2–$7. Golf driving range or full course $4–$15/M–Th and $6–$19/F–Su. Rowboats $13/hour and four-person paddleboats $17/hour. Tennis courts $4–$5 (residents), $6 (non-residents), and $2–$5 (seniors 65+), and free–$2 for youth under 18.

    Archery site is free but visitors must bring their own equipment. Rentals available at the SF Archery Pro Shop (3795 Balboa Street). Food options in the park typically range from $10–$20 for entrées.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Anything goes: shorts, t-shirts, sandals, sweaters, athletic attire in the park, dressier at the de Young.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Weekday afternoons to beat the crowds, sunny weekends for a lively atmosphere, and at night for a popular scene, albeit a bit cold.

  • Close By

    Outdoor fun continues along Ocean Beach, a three-mile stretch that runs right past the west end of Golden Gate Park.

Golden Gate Park User Reviews

Average rating:
Golden Gate and The Countless Possibilities
Pierce L. Sep 12, 2013
Central Park of NYC may not want to admit it, but Golden Gate gives it a hasty run for its money. Figuratively, that is. Galloping through the park is always free unless you want to drop by the Academy of Arts and/or the Conservatory of Flowers which may cost a few bucks but well worth every penny. Afterwards you may want to indulge in one of the countless food stands/trucks scattered throughout. Finally, you can burn off the 6 hot dogs you just consumed all while impressing a date paddle boating on the lake. If your heart can dream it, you can achieve it in Golden Gate. If you want to keep it on the free side their are countless possibilities. You can: observe bison, an old windmill, and beautiful ponds, amazing gardens galore, great place to walk, jog, ride your bike, or bring a drum with you to find the circle that hangs out there. Oh yes, there's also free swing dance lessons, roller-skaters, lovely cherry blossoms in the spring...I could go on and on but why don't you check it out yourself and make an adventure out of it.
San Francisco's Finest
Angelica P. Apr 23, 2013
Whether you're driving through San Francisco, visiting a friend, or maybe even moved to San Francisco one place you should not pass up in Golden Gate Park. Being a San Jose native I have frequented this park since I was very little and it still has my heart. It is a 1,017 acres of pure variety, much like the city of San Francisco itself. You can find many activities to partake in and places to explore here such as the Japanese tea gardens, botanical gardens, the de Young museum, Academy of Science, AIDS memorial grove and so much more. Lose yourself in the beauty of this amazing place. Have children or are still a child at heart? Perfect! Explore the various playgrounds the park has and have some fun! Are you a runner? So am I! This park is amazing to run in as it unlocks various hidden treasures along your route. Love music? Head to the music concourse for free concerts on Sunday and don't forget about the Outside Lands music festival that takes place here! Love history? You'll find plenty here! Whether you just want to relax in the beautiful nature or find a new adventure, Golden Gate Park is waiting for you.
Wonderful!
Emily M. Apr 13, 2013
There are so many great things about the Golden Gate Park. I have fond memories of going to the Children's Playground as a child, finding the biggest piece of cardboard to go down the cement slide. Now, as an adult, I enjoy walking through the Japanese garden, and the Shakespeare garden. De Young always has great exhibits, and the Thursday NightLife events at the California Academy of Sciences are always fun. Last time I went, I was able to see Chris Hardwick do stand-up; well worth the wait and crowd!
Skatin' Place: The Essence of SF Culture
Carly S. Apr 6, 2013
Though there are some fifty plus community parks in the city, Golden Gate Park still wins the title of The Park. Every Sunday people flock to take advantage of the park's carless streets, as it is open for pedestrian use only until dusk. On this day you can find one of my favorite happenings in the world: the skate circle at the intersection of Fulton Street and Sixth Avenue, fondly known as the Skatin’ Place to its cult followers. Its founder, better known as The Godfather of Skating, rolls in every Sunday dressed in a funky getup (which infallibly includes furry legwarmers) pushing a baby stroller with a boom box queued up with R&B and funk beats. On a sunny day the place teems with roller skaters and people-watchers alike, all present to share a uniquely San Francisco experience. Each uberly talented skater is a character, a different persona: the showy gray-haired man who pulls impressive tricks then gestures “#1” to the crowd as he smoothly rounds the corner; the 30-something woman whose effortless dancing and bright fedora suggest she’s a hip hop instructor; the lively elderly woman teaching dance steps to her younger counterparts. But it get's better: you, too, can rent skates and safety equipment across the street for $5/hour if you want to get down and dirty with the skaters. The tangible sense of community and eccentricity at the Skatin’ Place is, to me, the essence of San Francisco culture. It's an absolute must-see.
Favorite Park in SF
Vivian H. Feb 27, 2013
Golden Gate Park is a huge park in San Francisco with so many things to do. If you’re visiting SF for a day trip, I would definitely come here. I’ve been here to bike with family, been here to go to the museums, and went to a free summer concert here. The Cal Academy of Science and the deYoung Art Museum are both amazing museums I would highly recommend going to. Golden Gate Park is pretty accessible from all parts of the city. I usually drive to GGP, which is fine since parking is pretty easy to find and is free most places in GGP. Also you have to do a little looking for it but there’s a bison paddock here, definitely check it out if you’re in that area of the park because it’s bison in NorCal, why wouldn’t you check it out.
Is it the Pearly Gates or Golden Gate Park?
Damian Forest L. Feb 18, 2013
...I forget... but either way, if youre looking to kill a Saturday afternoon, for little or no money, then Golden Gate Park may be the way to go. There's Playgrounds for the kids, and lots of jungle gyms, and on Saturday Night there are reggae artists playing for a crowd of 300 in a drum circle. No Park anywhere in the US is as picturesque with its beautiful museums and sights, and as for hiking, the Golden Gate is the place to either climb large hills or go down into grassy canyons; Its also the place to go and get lost for a few hours, literally. A wrong turn could get you an hour walk away from your destination in about ten minutes, and there are enough hippies there to relive your Woodstock days, literally. there are occassionally snack carts around to satisfy those munchies, but the park is filled with shops and gardens to relish in the view of flowers and rare plants, seasonally. Its the perfect spot for running and or jogging and bike riding, and there are plenty of trails that lead up into the hills. You can go down to Ocean Beach, or to the Zoo, but you can always make your way, (even after a full week of roaming around) to the Golden Gate Bridge, and watch the Fog take over the bay. The nights are cold in the winter and plenty warm in the daytime. There are always some friendly people around just to talk and run into, and if you feel like feeding the hippies, this is the perfect place, because there aren't any signs that say otherwise. the surrounding neighborhoods are bright and big residential places, but if you can find your way out of the east end, you can go to a restuarant or any number of pubs and pizzerias on the place called the Haight. Dont be surprised if someone offers you some free mouth wash for the sake of it, in a little teeny tiny bottle that drips off in your hands. The Police Presence is either a relief or a nuiscence. But either way, make the most of your day off and walk around Golden Gate Park, but do reserve the night after for a cold beer and a hot tub, because it is one of the most strenuous hikes on the Venue.
Narnia in San Francisco
Sabrina G. Feb 3, 2013
Golden Gate Park. Those three little words can conjure images of everything from nature, roller-skating, the museums or even....buffalo. Whenever I try and tell my friends that there are buffalo in GG Park they don't believe. But I have spied them with my little eye and I know they exist. But hey. If they want to believe that the buffalo are merely a legend then it's there loss, right? In all seriousness Golden Gate Park is probably one of my favorite places in the entire city. On Sundays most of the park closes to cars and the people of this great city storm the park, proving that San Francisco truly is one of the most active cities in the US. You can see roller-bladers, bicyclists, uni cyclists, swing dancers, runners, the list goes on and on! One of my favorite things to do is take a Sunday stroll through the park. I make my way over to the Academy of Science and plop myself down on one of the benches by the fountain, spending hours with my nose in a book and delightfully serenaded by the sweet sounds of the fountains, families having picnics, and bands playing in the bandshell. Another favorite, and well kept secret, is the Lindy in the Park on Sundays. It occurs weekly outside of the Academy of Sciences (on the main thorough-fair) and entertains both advanced dancers, novices, or even the mere passer bys. While I am a fairly new dancer I found the event to be jovial fun and I danced with my friends as well as made some new acquaintances. Golden Gate Park often gets a bad rap for the homeless that dot the park, antagonizing tourists, and smoking weed. But once you look past that you realize the glory and beauty that is this landmark. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by homework or city life I simply make my way to the park and instantly unwind. It is our own little Narnia among the hustle and bustle of life in San Francisco.
Picnics and Butterflies and...Buffalo?
Jessica L. Jan 29, 2013
Golden Gate Park is a must see for any tourist visiting San Francisco. Not only is it free, it is also full of relaxing activities for the entire family. The large, expansive green lawns and immaculate flower gardens make the park a beautiful place to relax, tan, and perhaps play a game of frisbee or fly a kite. It is also conveniently located near the De Young Museum, the Japanese Tea Garden, and the California Academy of Sciences. If a picnic on the lawn isn't quite your speed, a visit to the Academy of Sciences or the scenic tea gardens is a welcome change of pace. The park is a scene of utter peace and serenity, and is a must-see for any tourist in the area.
One of the Best Parks Ever
Sara G. Jan 11, 2013
This is one of the prettiest parks in California. Though I love to bring my dog here and let her run around and chase birds, I love to come here on my own with some music and my camera and just WALK. This is such a great park to find time for yourself and just think. It’s also a great place for a picnic or sloshball with friends! This place gets PACKED during the warm few days in San Francisco. But on any other given day you can expect to see runners, bikers, dogs, and kids all around this place!
Lots of things to do
Jackie D. Dec 4, 2012
This park is huuuge! There are so many different things contained in GG park that it's hard to for anyone not to enjoy visiting it. There are 2 main museums in the park, the California Academy of Sciences and the Deyoung Museum, both of which I highly recommend visiting. The Deyoung regularly hosts highly renowned exhibitions that are well worth seeing and the Cal Academy is really fun and a beautiful building to wander through. The park also has tons of green space, obviously, and is a great spot for families or picnics on a warm day.
So Pretty!
Emily R. Dec 2, 2012
This is an absolutely ENORMOUS park! Make sure you try to grab a map/download an app or something, just because there is so much to see that you might miss if you just attempt to navigate on your own. So many beautiful hills, trees, woods – the nature alone is worth it, but still, there’s so much more! Word to the wise: make sure you wear good shoes that you’d feel comfortable hiking in; not because it’s necessarily a hike, but the grass isn’t always trimmed to perfection, and you’re going to need to stomp through some weeds every once and a while.
Beautiful Park
Jody P. Dec 1, 2012
Golden Gate Park is a beautiful park and is huge. You can wander through the park for hours. Its great for joggers/bikers or for a picnic. I was in SF in the fall and there were tons of people of all ages and walks of life hanging out in the park. It is great for people watching or just for wandering. I also stopped into the Conservatory of Flowers while I was there and they had a great exhibition on carnivorous plants. The permanent exhibit in the Conservatory is beautiful. Walking through almost feels like walking through a jungle. I have heard it is a great venue for weddings and other events and I can see why. Definitely worth a visit if you have a chance while in SF.
Visit Golden Gate Park!
Kaile K. Nov 29, 2012
Golden Gate Park is a great part of San Francisco to check out! There are so many activities to do and things to see in the park, its easy to spend a nice relaxing day just walking though. There's even buffalo that live in the park! If you have time check out the California Academy of Sciences or the de Young museum, they're both very interesting and worth seeing. Definitely try to go to Outside Lands if you are in town during the festival, its always a fun experience! I would highly recommend going to Golden Gate park if you're visiting San Francisco.
Gerat Park
Eden M. Nov 14, 2012
Golden Gate Park is a fun place to spend the day, but make sure you go when its warm!! GGP is a great outdoor space where you can find people doing anything from playing frisbee, biking/running through it, having picnics, or enjoying a drink. GGP is a huge park, so it hosts a lot of events, such as Outside Lands, Power to the Peaceful, and other concerts and festivals. GGP is a fun place to spend the day with friends so I would definitely recommend it if you want to enjoy a true San Francisco experience.
WONDERFUL CITY PARK!
Nick S. Oct 4, 2012
Should be on the top of everyone’s “Free things to do in SF” list. Golden Gate Park is huge. Bigger than Central Park in NY with much of the same feel (and built by the same guy). You can easily disappear in this park, even on sunny weekends when thousands of people come here. Easy to get to on the train but there’s also usually lots of parking down the park’s boundaries if you don’t have any specific place to go (if you do….take the train). I love to run here, starting up by the Panhandle in the Haight and winding down JFK drive all the way to Ocean Beach. It’s largely flat so it’s good for my chicken legs, and very pretty so I don’t get tired. You will see all types here. Definitely check out the recently restores arboretum, it is a sight to see! And the museums are great too, especially when the science museum does its late-event with cocktails and DJs. You can play gold, check out the buffalo, practice rollerblading, ride your bike, or just sit in the grass with a book. Will it totally blow your mind? No, it’s a park. But I’m so glad SF has one like this.
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