With McLaren's 318 sprawling acres, inside San Francisco city limits, only Golden Gate Park and the Presidio have larger recreation footprints. The park's greatest asset could be its topography. Unlike flat Golden Gate Park, McLaren boasts hills, which make it feel less like a park and more like open space. Although McLaren is comprised of mostly exotic vegetation, with some grassland, new installations of native plants are helping to reestablish a balance.
This is a very nice park for picnics as the table settings along the loop are among the finest in the city. Tables were noticed at the west side of Mansell, around the upper lake, across from the park residence, and in a field below the tennis courts. Tables found along the east end of the loop are the prettiest and the least subject to high winds. It was established a quarter of a century after Golden Gate Park. Its southern boundary is only blocks away from the San Mateo County line (Facing Daly City).