Set against a stunning San Francisco skyline with the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge rising in the background, this world-class 4-mile urban park is situated between City Center and the Pacific Ocean and boasts a plethora of unique attractions. Each visit to Golden Gate Park seems to uncover something new. This natural refuge within the West Coast's most densely-packed city is full of wonders and attractions for first time visitors and locals alike.
Children can be found climbing on the extensive play structure at the Koret Children’s Playground or queuing for a ride on the carousel. Families and individuals seeking an educational experience are drawn to the de Young Museum and the green-roof-adorned California Academy of Sciences.
The park’s numerous paths and pedestrian tunnels offer walkers, runners, and bikers a diverse landscape to enjoy while they exercise. Golden Gate Park's diversity is one of it's most intriguing features: a dense mixture of verdant temperate and subtropical vegetation fills every nook and cranny. Buffalo can be seen grazing in the Bison Paddock, and birds of all colors and sorts fly overhead. Plant enthusiasts will enjoy the Botanical Gardens, Japanese Tea Garden, and Conservatory of Flowers, all of which contain beautiful vegetation.
The west end of the park, the transition zone to Ocean Beach, is home to the North and South Windmills and the Park Chalet restaurant, which date back to the early 20th century. In their heyday, the windmills pumped up to 1.5 million gallons of water each day. They have since fallen into disrepair, but the North Windmill is surrounded by a beautiful tulip garden, while the South Windmill still boasts the world’s longest sails.
Golden Gate Park is home to four bodies of water. Stowe Lake is a popular destination; on warm days paddleboats crisscross the lake, passing by the beautiful Chinese Pavilion and Huntington Falls. Flycasting pools border the soccer and polo fields, and Spreckles Lake sits between the model yacht club and the disc golf course.
Hippie Hill is a large, gently slanted field whose name is a throwback to its popularity in the 1960s; musicians such as the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin played here. It is an ideal place to watch the sun set and get in some people watching at the end of a long day exploring the park.