SAN FRANCISCO – The SkyStar Wheel in Golden Gate Park will be permitted to spin until 2025, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department announced today.
The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) voted unanimously this afternoon to issue a Certificate of Appropriateness, allowing the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department to extend its contract with the wheel’s operator. The Recreation and Park Commission previously approved the contract extension contingent on the HPC’s vote.
“Today’s decision was a win for fun, joy, and common sense,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “It fulfills a promise to visitors who haven’t had a chance to ride the wheel, allows San Franciscans to experience Golden Gate Park in a new way, and allows thousands of high-need families and graduating SFUSD seniors to ride for free. We are grateful to the Historic Preservation Commission and the Recreation and Park Commission for their careful consideration and judgment.”
The SkyStar Wheel will re-open Thursday at noon following San Francisco entering the less restrictive red tier earlier this week.
Everyday discounts for San Francisco residents were also announced today. Beginning Monday, March 8, residents can purchase adult tickets for $15.30, while tickets for San Francisco children (3-12) and seniors (65+) will be $10.20, a 15 percent savings. More information can be found at skystarwheel.com
The SkyStar Wheel will help draw visitors to the park’s museums and gardens, as well as nearby neighborhoods.
“The wheel is a great addition to San Francisco’s many cultural attractions. It will bring visitors – local, regional and beyond – to spend time enjoying our beautiful city and supporting our small businesses,” said SF Travel CEO Joe D’Alessandro.
The extension was cheered by small business owners in the Richmond District.
“We are thrilled the wheel will keep spinning in Golden Gate Park, “ said Morgan Mapes, president of the Clement Street Merchants Association. “Small business needs the support of regulars, locals and tourists. The Wheel helps make sure all three are out enjoying the park and shopping locally.”
On Tuesday, SkyStar and SF Rec and Park announced that each graduating senior from the San Francisco Unified School District will receive a free ride on the Wheel this summer beginning June 2 through Sept. 6. Students must show their SFUSD identification card at the onsite ticket booth to claim the free ride.
Standing 15 stories, the state-of-the-art SkyStar Observation Wheel features 36 enclosed well-ventilated gondolas, boasting unparalleled views from downtown San Francisco to the Pacific Ocean. Health and safety modifications to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will be maintained including thorough sanitizing of all gondolas between each use; only family and friends will share a gondola; social distancing in queues; onsite handwashing; and temperature testing for staff and riders.
The SkyStar Wheel was installed in March 2020 as part of Golden Gate Park’s 150th anniversary celebration planned by the Rec and Park Department and supported by the San Francisco Parks Alliance. Scheduled to open April 4, it was delayed in opening due to the coronavirus pandemic and the City’s initial shelter-in-place mandate. More than 200 days later, the Wheel opened Oct. 21 giving more than 65,000 rides over 39 days before having to cease operations on November 29 as the city moved into the highly restricted purple tier. As a result, the Wheel will have been shuttered for an additional 95 days prior to the March 4 reopening.
The Observation Wheel is located in the Music Concourse, the outdoor plaza near the de Young Museum, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Japanese Tea Garden. Public parking is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the adjacent Music Concourse Garage, with entrance on the Fulton Street side.