Just a block from Lombard Street’s famous “crooked” block, this tiny (1/4-acre) park on the northeast slope of Russian Hill is a hidden gem. The garden’s three terraces, connected by stairs and ramps, climb the hillside for half a city block, lined with stone balustrades and retaining walls, ornamental planting beds, and boxwood hedges. At the top are two latticed wooden gazebos and an overlook with views of San Francisco Bay. Open to the public since 2006, it has become a popular spot for weddings.
The Fay Park garden and adjacent house at Leavenworth and Chestnut Streets were bequeathed to the city by Mary Fay Berrigan, whose family built the first house on the site in 1869 and the current home in 1912. She and her husband, Brigadier General Paul Berrigan, hired renowned landscape architect Thomas Church to design the garden in 1957. The city accepted the property for use as a park upon General Berrigan’s death in 1998, but renovations were needed before it could be opened to the public, including new walkways and other improvements to make it ADA accessible. The house is not open to the public.