Washington Square Park, San Francisco

4 out of 5 stars 8 Reviews

Filbert & Stockton, San Francisco, CA 94133 (415) 274-0291

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  • Washington Square Park
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  • Washington Square Park
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  • Washington Square Park
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  • atufft's Profile Photo

    Washington Square Park

    by atufft Updated Feb 29, 2008

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    By comparison with other parks in the city, particularly among those many capping city peaks and having splendid views, Washington Square Park seems lacking, but after a walk through the narrow and crowded streets of Chinatown and North Beach, this expanse of tree studded lawn can provide relief to the feet. Located between Powell, Stockton, Union and Filbert Streets, Washington Square Park, along with Union Square, were first set aside for public use in 1850, and so only Portsmouth Square in Chinatown can claim to be a more historic place to congregate within the city. During it's first decade Washington Square was largely an unkempt cemetary adjacent to the adobe of Juana Briones, an enterprising divorcee of a presidio calvaryman from whom the city's original name, Yerba Buena, may have had its origins (see plaque #1024 at Stockton & Filbert Streets). Later, Washington Square was leveled and the streets defined around it. It lost part of it's "square shape" when what is now Columbus Avenue cut through one corner creating a popular promenade to the square. The fragment corner, still parkland today, is therefore, technically part of Washington Square. Following the earthquake and great fire of 1906, the park became a refugee camp. The park's distinctive bronze of of Benjamin Franklin, the gift of a dentist who had placed gold crowns on the teeth of gold miners, was first put on its time capsule base in 1879. In 1979, the base was opened, refilled with bottles of wine and local literature, and closed again for another century. Note also, the larger more impressed bronze statue dedicated to the city's volunteer firefighters and funded by famed fire fighter mascot, Lillie Hitchcock. Throughout the park are distributed memorial benches, which in a way honor those whose graves were originally plundered to create this expanse of lawn. The park has children's play equipment in one corner. The park's many contradictions were noted by famed gossip columnist, Herb Caen, "It is a square that isn't a square, the heart of North Beach, which isn't a beach. Washington Square isn't on Washington Street and has a statue of Benjamin Franklin instead of George Washington. The statue was erected by H.D. Cogswell, a teetotaler, but the square is surrounded on three sides by bars and restaurants and on the fourth by a church."

    Washington Square Park Ben Frankline Statue Volunteer Fire Fighters Statue Memorial to Civic Active Couple Memorial Bench Washington Square Park
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

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    St PAUL and PETER

    by mindcrime Written Jan 20, 2010

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Washinghton square is located right in the middle of North Beach district, the old Italian neighborhood of SF. It is the only open space area in this district as you can see in pic one that I took from the Colt Tower. Although the square is full of homeless people at night it was nice to walk and relax for a while in the morning and there are some nice cafes there, we drunk superb cappuccino and had some nice meals there. In the middle of the square there is a small statue of Benjamin Franklin (pic 2).

    Of course, the most beautiful sight to see at the square is the St. Paul and Peter church (pic 3) at 666 Filbert street (yes, the number of street made me wonder too). It was built in 1924 and it is the biggest catholic church in the city. If you visit SF during October don’t miss the litany of Santa Maria del Lume (protector of fishermen) that goes down Columbus avenue to Fisherman’s Wharf to bless the fishermen! The church is beautiful with the twin lofty spires going up to 52 meters, while the interior has some nice statues and stained glasses.

    We were ready to walk up the Filbert street now (pic 4). Our target was the Coit Tower at the top of Telegraph hill but watch out and take small breaks because you’re going to get tired soon of the steep hill. Don’t forget to turn back towards the Washington square and take some nice pics (pic 5)

    Washinghton square is an oasis?! statue of Benjamin Franklin St. Paul and Peter church Filbert street view from Filbert street
    Related to:
    • Religious Travel

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  • sue_stone's Profile Photo

    Washington Square

    by sue_stone Written Feb 7, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Washington Square is a leafy park in the centre of San Francisco's North Beach neighbourhood - the Italian district. The park is a popular place to practice Tai Chi, which we witnessed ourselves when we wandered through.

    The square is home to an 1897 statue of Ben Franklin. At the base of the statue are taps that claim are a source of water from Vichy in France. I think not.

    On the northern side of the square you can't miss the very impressive looking Saints Peter and Paul Church. The three-level cathedral dates back to 1924 and I was impressed by its soaring white towers. Even better is that apparently the church featured in the old Clint Eastwood classic 'Dirty Harry'.

    Saints Peter and Paul Church Washington Square Saints Peter and Paul Church Washington Square Tai Chi Saints Peter and Paul Church
    Related to:
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    • Arts and Culture
    • Religious Travel

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  • wilocrek's Profile Photo

    Washington Square

    by wilocrek Written May 8, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, there is a park where you can almost always find a volleyball game going on and plenty of people sunbathing on the grass or sitting on the benches that surround the square. The square is in the heart of North Beach and surrounded by a heavy Italian influence and many different Italian eateries. A heavy aroma of tomatoes and bread is always lingering in the air with promises of delectable delights. Washington Square is also the home of the famous St. Peter and Paul Church where Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe were married. Coit Tower, Fisherman's Wharf, and Lombard St are all close by making this square the center of activity!

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  • 100ACRE's Profile Photo

    WASHINGTON SQUARE IN NORTH BEACH

    by 100ACRE Updated Dec 7, 2002

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Washington Square in the North Beach District, home of Saints Peter and Paul Church (located at Columbus Avenue and Filbert Street).

    When you visit North Beach, be sure to take a stroll around this park, a real jewel, in the heart of the City. It covers one city block.

    The church was completed in 1924. It has the most beautiful old-world church interior in all of San Francisco. Don't miss a chance to peak inside if you are in the neighborhood. Tourists are welcome. The original church was destroyed during the 1906 earthquake and fire.

    There is no longer a beach in North Beach. In the 1850's a narrow sliver of the bay extended far inland between Telegraph and Russian Hills and the neighborhood was a sunny stretch of shore.

    What was once known as "Little Italy," North Beach has become a melting pot of primarily Italian and Chinese.

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  • jadedmuse's Profile Photo

    Washington Square Park

    by jadedmuse Written Dec 12, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is a favorite little park among locals and even tourists can appreciate its history - smack in the middle of the gentrified yet still colorful North Beach area (one of my favorite neighborhoods in SF), and overlooking the famous Sts. Peter and Paul Church (where Marilyn Monroe was photographed with Joe DiMaggio after they married).

    I happened to be there last time when a festival was taking place, complete with live music, frisbee throwing, fun-in-the-sun lovin' locals stretched out on blankets and just relaxing....even the mayor made an impromptu appearance. it was fantastic.

    The park was authorized as a public square back in 1850, and was a temporary home to a number of displaced people after the 1906 earthquake. It somehow seems to provide the same refuge and relaxation today.

    Festival underway at the Park

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  • blue_sky04's Profile Photo

    The Washington Square

    by blue_sky04 Written Feb 7, 2005

    I was walking along the Columbus Ave when I saw the Washington Square. And I decided to stop a while there and took picture of the beautiful church in front of it. I think the church is the St. Peter and Paul church.

    ST Peter & Paul Church
    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism

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  • bellatrix's Profile Photo

    Washington Square in North Beach

    by bellatrix Written Apr 5, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    After walking around North Beach, take a break in Washington Square. Me and Manoj took a little nap here, and it was a nice place to hang out.

    Washington Square, North Beach, San Francisco

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