SF Rec and Park Celebrates Golden Gate Park’s 147th Anniversary

14 fun things to do in 7 destinations of SF’s largest Park

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department is celebrating the 147th Anniversary of Golden Gate Park. Nearly a century-and-a-half ago, Master Gardener John McLaren and Park Engineer William Hammond Hall carved out an urban oasis from a vast, windswept expanse of sand dunes. The result: a verdant, horticulturally diverse and picturesque public park where city residents can relax and reconnect with nature. Now, within Golden Gate Park’s 1,017 acres, 174 acres larger than New York’s Central Park, are gardens, playgrounds, lakes, picnic groves, trails, monuments, plus an array of cultural venues, events, and activities. The Park welcomes an estimated 13 million visitors each year.

And as part of a citywide effort to promote public transportation to destinations and attractions, the Golden Gate Park shuttle service is provided free to park visitors. The shuttle operates from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays.  Shuttle stops include all major Golden Gate Park destinations, including McLaren Lodge, the National AIDS Memorial Grove, Koret Children’s Playground, Conservatory of Flowers, de Young Museum, California Academy of Sciences, Rose Garden, Stow Lake, Marx Meadow, Spreckels Lake, Oak Woodlands, Bison Paddock, Dutch Windmill, and Murphy Windmill.  For more information, please visit: https://sfrecpark.org/parks-open-spaces/golden-gate-park-guide/free-golden-gate-park-shuttle/.

In advance of the Park’s sesquicentennial (150th), the Department put together a list of 14 fun things to do in 7 destinations of the Park:

The Windmills

  • Check out the Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden right by the Dutch Windmill, it features thousands of tulips interspersed with Icelandic poppies, which burst into glorious flower in Spring.
  • Visit the Millwright’s Cottage near the Murphy Windmill, and check out one of the world’s tallest windmills.

Lawn Bowling Green

  • Try out Lawn Bowling
  • Enjoy a picnic on the lawn nearby and watch Lawn Bowling!

Japanese Tea Garden

  • Enjoy the Cherry Blossoms and green tea
  • Meditate in the Zen Garden and a stroll around the Koi Pond

Koret Children’s Playground

  • Great family time at the Playground
  • Ride the historic carousel

Kezar Stadium

  • Run a mile on the track
  • Watch the SF Deltas, the City’s official soccer team, play a home game

Stow Lake

  • Eat pink popcorn!
  • Try paddling a boat around the Lake

Bison Paddock

  • Best time to meet the bison and watch them eat (varies but generally between 10a.m. and 12p.m.)
  • Special bird sighting including White-crowned Sparrows and other birds near Bison Paddock and Chain of Lakes.


Golden Gate Park is also home to many citywide events including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Outside Lands, Bay to Breakers, the AIDS Walk, The San Francisco Marathon and other events from large to small. And to provide for even more recreational activities, JFK Drive is closed to vehicle traffic on certain days for park users to walk, run, or roll through the park:

-Saturdays – From April through September, JFK is closed to vehicle traffic from 8th Ave to Transverse Drive
-Sundays and Holidays – JFK is closed to vehicle traffic from Kezar Drive to Transverse Drive

To see a full guide to Golden Gate Park, visit: https://sfrecpark.org/parks-open-spaces/golden-gate-park-guide/

Additionally, volunteers commit dozens of hours to volunteer work parties within Golden Gate Park each weekend. To learn more about volunteer events, contact: recparkvolunteer@sfgov.org


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