Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

4.5 out of 5 stars 105 Reviews

501 Stanyan St, San Francisco, CA 94117 (415) 831-2700

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  • Tulip Gardens During August
    Tulip Gardens During August
    by TooTallFinn24
  • Golden Gate Park
    by TooTallFinn24
  • Windmills of Golden Gate Park
    Windmills of Golden Gate Park
    by TooTallFinn24
  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    Going West

    by Tom_Fields Written Jan 2, 2007

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    Walking across Golden Gate Park, heading west, one passes the Conservatory of Flowers, the Music Concourse, California Academy of Sciences, Japanese Tea Garden, Stow Lake, and the Strybing Arboretum. Farther on is a polo field, a chain of small lakes, and a golf course. Beyond the golf course is a windmill, built in 1903 to pump water for irrigation. It's surrounded by tulip gardens, a gift from the Dutch people. Beyond that is the end of the park, across the street from Ocean Beach.

    It takes several hours to hike all the way from one end of the park to the other. It's a long hike, but so beautiful that you don't notice being tired.

    Heading west... One of the lakes Some turtles sunning themselves A windmill The end
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    Golden Gate Park: Japanese Tea Garden

    by Tom_Fields Updated Jan 2, 2007

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    This is one of the highlights of Golden Gate Park. It's an outstanding example of a Japanese-style garden, with its economical use of space and the blending of architecture and nature. The place seems much larger than it actually is, and makes people forget the outside world for a while.

    The Japanese Tea Garden The exquisitely manicured gardens A stone pagoda, surrounded by foliage A little piece of paradise Another monument
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  • rafgys's Profile Photo

    Great place to relax and enjoy the views...

    by rafgys Written Nov 17, 2006

    If you're heading towards the Golden Gate Bridge on the bay side of San Francisco... it's a mile or two before.

    The area is a big open space where you can have a seat and chill out! When you are facing the water, you'll have the bridge on your left... the bay and Alcatraz in front of you... and the piers and downtown on your right. It's pretty quiet and just lovely!

    from the bridge...
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    Wave Organ: Listen to the Bay

    by davequ Updated Oct 17, 2006

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    This is dedicated to one of my vt SF heroes, jessicadf, who mentioned the wave organ once in a forum
    (I had never heard of it), so I decided this last trip to go check it out.

    Wave Organ sits out on the very tip of the point by the yacht club. Supposedly made out of old tombstones and plastic & metal tubes, the little grotto you can sit in (see pic) amplifies & tunes the sound of wind and waves.
    Kind of an organic soundtrack as accompaniment to the beautiful view of the bay, city panorama & Alcatraz, which from the Wave Organ grotto looks so close it fools me into thinking I could swim it in 5 minutes
    (yeah, right .... cue up Quint singing "♫ ...farewell and adieu....♫ " )

    A couple of guys were fishing successfully from the point as well - (those are his fish in the bags on the bench on the right).

    Windy and beautiful, yet surprisingly not crowded, this was a great place to sit and listen to the Bay sing.
    Supposedly (I don't get up that early) the recommended time when the Wave Organ sounds best is at high tide early morning around 5:30 - 6:30am. When I was there (mid - late afternoon) it was just singing and moaning softly & peacefully.

    Here's an article - NY Times with lots of trivia and historical info, but check the Wave Organ out yourself.

    Wave Organ on a weekday is a dream spot if you are into afternoon meditation, and if nothing else an excellent walk & great place to take pics of the Golden Gate & the City.

    the grotto gg from wave organ marina, fort mason and telegraph
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  • SLLiew's Profile Photo

    Smell the flowers at Golden Gate Park

    by SLLiew Written Oct 8, 2006

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    There are many trails as well as thematic gardens at Golden Gate Park.

    My favorites are the Japanese Garden and the cacti garden. There is also a windmill but not sure where it came from. The whole park is great place to stop and smell the flowers.

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    Museum hopping in the Golden Gate Park

    by SLLiew Updated Oct 8, 2006

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    Golden Gate Park is an under-rated tourist destination. You can enjoy driving, bicycling or walking around on a nice day and even have a picnic.

    Enjoyed the wildlife exhibit and live enclosures of the California Academy of Sciences.

    There is an impressive and complete collections of pottery and metalware of all the dynasties of China in the Asian Art Museum. Not to be missed by those who are into China.

    A easy great get-away from the city noise and traffic.

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  • cheap_tourist's Profile Photo

    Golden Gate Park: San Francisco's Garden

    by cheap_tourist Updated Sep 16, 2006

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    Golden Gate Park is quite impressive in terms of size and attractions. It is considered among the world's greatest urban parks; it is bigger than New York's Central Park. For the longest time, however, I did not explore it. I thought that it was difficult to reach by public transportation. I was wrong--you can take Muni's #5 or #21 bus to the park. The first time I went there, I visited the de Young Museum and the Japanese Tea Garden. The second time, my friend and I walked to the Dutch Windmill from Stow Lake via John F. Kennedy Drive. Along the way, we saw Lloyd Lake, Spreckels Lake, Bison Paddock, and North Lake. From the Dutch Windmill, we continued our walk to the nearby Cliff House.

    Truly a great park and I've barely scratched its surface. As Arnold S. once said, "I'll be back!"

    de Young Museum Japanese Tea Garden Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and Cervantes Chinese Pavilion, Strawberry Hill, Stow Lake Dutch Windmill
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  • piytravelmike's Profile Photo

    Dutch Windmill worth a visit

    by piytravelmike Written May 10, 2006

    If you have access to a car, visit the Dutch Windmill in the northwest corner of Golden Gate Park. It really is a cool thing to see firsthand and the landscaping surrounding it places it in a very picturesque setting. I'd include a photo, but all of our photos came out grainy on account of the high-power TSA detectors.

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  • Egret

    by motorcyclegirl Written May 1, 2006

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    Believe it or not, you can see things like this on any given day in Golden Gate Park. This fellow was spotted at Mallard Lake in Golden Gate Park. There is also a Great Blue Heron who likes to hang out and fish at Lloyd Lake in Golden Gate Park.

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  • Dahlia Garden

    by motorcyclegirl Written May 1, 2006

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    If you happen to be in San Francisco in the Fall (our nicest time of the year), check out the Dahlia Garden in Golden Gate Park. Dahlias produce the most blooms per plant of any flowering plant. At least I think I read something like that anyway... Needless to say it's a spectacular sight even if I have my information wrong.

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    Peaceful, verdant, relaxing

    by USCgirlie Written Mar 22, 2006

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    Golden Gate Park is only second to New York's Central Park in terms of being the largest park in the United States. The park borders the Outer and Inner Sunset residential neighborhoods, and is a popular place for San Franciscans to jog, take walks, read, relax, have picnics, and play sports. My favorite parts of GG Park is Stowe Lake, where you can ride paddle boats (children love it too!), and the Japanese Tea Garden. There are also museums there, such as the California Academy of Sciences. One word of caution: GG Park is deserted and very dark at night - so the best time to go is during the day!

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    Golden Gate NRA

    by chewy3326 Updated Feb 21, 2006

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    Besides the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate NRA has tons of other activities, including Fort Rock and many miles of trails. Throughout the park, trails lead up hills and to beaches for good views of the city of San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, and Angel Island. Alcatraz is sometimes also visible. It's possible to spend a whole day exploring this tiny area.

    Angel Island

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    The Wave Organ

    by Tom_Fields Written Jan 16, 2006

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    This unique piece of art combines sculpture with music. It's built upon a jetty near the marina, and is affiliated with the Exploratorium. It's a collaboration between Peter Richards (now a senior artist at the Exploratorium), and George Gonzales (a mason and sculptor). The "music" is made by the water of San Francisco Bay, as it moves around inside this thing. The Wave Organ also provides excellent views of the Bay and the city.

    The Wave Organ juts out into the Bay A close-up view of the Wave Organ Another view The nearby Forbes Island restaurant
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  • 7h0rn's Profile Photo

    Hiking

    by 7h0rn Written Nov 18, 2005

    The GG Park is immense. I've been several times and am still exploring it. With vast areas unseen.

    I'll add to this list as I explore more of it... for now, here's the start:

    1. Conservatory of Flowers - What an amazing place. I'll post some pictures I took there as soon as I can. It's a great place for kids and adults.
    2. Botanical Gardens - HUGE doesn't begin to descibe. I spent two hours wandering one day and don't think I even got 1/4 into the gardens. There are so many different "zones" of plants from different places in the world... you can spend days just on this one spot in the Park.
    3. Stowe Lake - The boats are pricey, but the hiking is wonderful. There is an island in the middle of this lake... it's connected by a bridge. Hiking to the top gives you several nice views, but the highlights are the waterfall (all man-made) and the chinese pagoda.
    4. Buffalo - Yes, there are buffalo in the Park. Some friends laughed about them being an urban legend here, so I was bound and determined to find them. Sure enough, there is a large fenced-in area on the western side of the park... and yes, Virginia, there are buffalo.

    The Conservatory of Flowers One of the many spectacular flowers in the CoF The Pagoda on Stowe Lake in GG Park Playing with light on a suculant, in the Botanical
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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    Golden Gate Park

    by richiecdisc Updated Nov 14, 2005

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    What’s bigger than Central Park, adjacent to the beach and home to a herd of buffalo? Golden Gate Park is all those things and more to adoring San Franciscans who flock to the park in droves on weekends to the tune of 75,000 people strong. What are they doing you may ask? Well, you name it. Fly fishing, paddle boating, rollerblading, riding a carousel, walking in Japanese gardens, gawking at windmills or bison and any number of physical activities. Amazing in itself but even more so when you consider that a century and a half ago, this was all sand dunes with nary a tree in sight while now they outnumber all the people in the city. Being so close to The Haight, it has its hippie past and the end closest to it is still a bit seedy, but once you get to the meat of the matter or close to the beach, a more refined though thoroughly enjoyable park awaits you.

    it even has a windmill, need I say more? oh, and a carousel some murals to round things out
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Comments (1)

  • Aug 9, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    Can I visit the Botanical Gardens at Strybing Arboretum during music festivals at Golden Gate Park without having to go to or pay for the music festival (I have no interest in going to the music festival).

    • leics's Profile Photo
      Aug 9, 2014 at 12:59 PM

      Welcome to VT. Very few people will see your question here. If you re-post it in the VT San Francisco travel forum you will get some helpful replies. Either use the 'Instant Answers' box directly above your post or go straight to the forum by clicking this link:

      forum.virtualtourist.com/San...

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