Juggling the green space needs of San Franciscans is not an easy feat. On weekends you’ll find over 75,000 intrepid nature seekers riding bikes, attending music festivals, canoeing, drumming, drinking, hiking, viewing art, picnicking in gardens, sliding down the city’s fastest slide, or playing soccer.
These 1000 acres were deeded to San Franciscans in 1870 to combat urban growth—though on a busy weekend, you can’t help but wonder whether the park should have been given an even larger swath of land.
Flying above the park you see the rectangle of greenery, but it is not until you enter that you can truly enjoy the wildness of the eucalyptus shaded trails, the rich culture of the museums, the manicured gardens, and hidden lakes.
Don’t skip the expansive (and recently renovated) playground—complete with a toddler and older kids’ area, grassy fields, shade, a carousel, and the water play area (bring extra clothes and towels in summer).
Other kid centered highlights include the family of bison near the north west edge of the park, Mother’s Meadow (19th Ave and MLK), Stow Lake, and California Academy of Sciences. The weekend street closures are ideal for tricyclers and their wobbly biker parents.
Muni: N Judah.