If you want to find a nice relaxing place to spend some time while in San Francisco, you may want to check out Golden Gate Park. It’s rectangular in shape, and at over 1,000 acres, it’s is even larger than Central Park inĀ  New York City, and is visited by more than 13 million people every year. This makes it the third most visited park in the US after Central Park in New York City, and Lincoln Park in Chicago.

 

This a lot of ground to cover!

The park was deeded to the people in 1870, as a way for people to get away from the hectic living associated with living in a city. The area where the park is once actually consisted of sand dunes, but now is covered with grass, trees, and plants.

Don’t think that you can see the park in one day, because there are so many things to see and do there. You can do archery, basketball courts. biking, skating, golf, disc golf, bison watching, handball, horseshoes, lawn bowling, tennis, and more. You can rent equipment for these activities at the park, so there’s no excuse to not try something new.There are picnic grounds to enjoy, places to hike, as well as several lakes where you can go boating, fishing, and sail model boats. Strawberry Hill is a naturally formed island in the middle of Stow Lake from where you can get great views of the surrounding park, the Golden Gate Bridge and more. A good day-hike, with lush foliage, trees and an artificial waterfall.

In addition to the above mentioned activities, following are some of other things to enjoy in the park:

The California Academy of Sciences has a 2 and 1/2 acre living roof, and contains the Kimball Natural History Museum, the Morrison Planetarium, the Steinhart Aquarium and a four-story rainforest dome. There are 38,000 living animals from 900 species, and it’s well known for educational programs.

The Conservatory of Flowers is the oldest existing glass-and-wood Victorian greenhouse in the Western Hemisphere. There is a collection of over 1,700 plant species, adapted to different climates from around the globe.

 

Unfortunately, the conservatory was closed the day we were there, and we weren't able to go in.

The Japanese Tea Garden features five acres of Japanese and Chinese plants, beautiful sculptures and bridges, pathways and ponds.

 

Entrance to the Japanese Tea Garden

Part of the Tea Garden

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The De Young Museum features permanent collections of American and international art and more from around the world.

The San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum covers 55 acres with 26 different gardens, and more than 8,000 varieties of plants.

I'm glad I'm not allergic to bees!

A perfect spot for a picnic!

The Rose Garden showcases different varieties of roses.

 

Some of the flowers in the Rose Garden

The Kezar Stadium is a 10,000 seat outdoor stadium includes an all-weather track which public use can use, and a field for team sports.

At Ocean Beach, you can go surfing, sunbathing, watch sea lions and walk the great beach. Unfortunately, there are some dangerous riptides in this area, so swimming is not encouraged. Two historic windmills and the Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden are also located in the west end of the park.

Part of the beach below the west end of the park.

If you haven’t already found enough to fill some of your free time, there are arts and crafts for both adults and children available, free public concerts, a children’s playground, a music pavilion, bird watching, and a buffalo paddock where there are small herds of bison.

If you saw the movie called "The Wedding Planner", you may remember this pavilion that was in the it.

Believe it or not, there are even more things to do at the park, and you really have to see and experience the park to get a feel for all it has to offer. It’s definitely not a place where you will only want to spend a few hours, because of the countless number of things available to participate in.

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