SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department announced today the launch of a series of free holiday sports at Embarcadero Plaza. The Plaza already features the Holiday Ice Rink, located at heart of the Embarcadero Plaza. Now the Department is adding free, fun, drop-in, sports including Disc Golfing, Skateboarding, Rock Climbing, Slacklining, and Bocce Ball games on the south side of the Plaza. The goal is to offer free fun recreation for park constituents living, working and visiting the City’s open space in the waterfront area.
“We are fortunate to live in a City where we can enjoy winter traditions such as ice skating at the same time as we bike, roller skate and rock climb,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “As the heart of both or our downtown and waterfront areas, the Embarcadero Plaza is a perfect spot to host such a wide array of activities and athletic events. Our residents and visitors will be able to enjoy a truly unique experience when they come to the Embarcadero this holiday season.”
While there are permitted events celebrating special occasions and Artist Market at the Plaza year-round, Ferry Bocce League hosts fun and competitive games from Spring through Fall in the evening hours each year.
“We are so excited to be offering fun sports daily at the Embarcadero Plaza this holiday season,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Parks’ General Manager. “We look forward to seeing everyone playing with their friends and families in the outdoors and enjoying the warmth of California winter sun.”
The free sports activities will be available during the month of December from 11AM to 3PM, with the exceptions of rain, and the following dates: December 7th, 24th, 25th, 26th, 31st and January 1st. From 11:00AM to 1:00PM, Tuesdays are Disc Golfing, Wednesdays are Skateboarding, Thursdays, Rock Climbing, Fridays, Skateboarding, and Saturdays are Slacklining. And from Tuesdays through Saturdays 1:00PM to 3:00PM, Bocce Ball games will be available to everyone. All free activities are available at first-come-first-serve basis.
According to Christopher Pollock, SF Rec and Parks’ Historian-in-Residence, in the late 1800s, the Plaza area was an early hub for Union Depot and Ferry House in San Francisco. The Embarcadero was the focus of the City’s port for all cargos arriving and being shipped via sea. Later, in 1956, the board plaza was built as part of Redevelopment Agency’s waterfront design efforts, and initially known as Ferry Building Park, the name was changed to Embarcadero Plaza during the project planning stage. Finally, in 1972, the Plaza construction was completed, a primarily brick and concrete hardscape, was designed by landscape architect Lawrence Halprin association with architects Mario Ciampi and John Bolles and Associates.
And just as the Plaza was about to open, the City’s Recreation and Park Commission approved a resolution during their meeting in April of 1972, to rename the area formerly known as Embarcadero Plaza (Ferry Park), to “Justin Herman Park”, and later formally changed to Justin Herman Plaza in October of the same year. At the time, Justin Herman was recognized for his work as the City’s Redevelopment Agency executive director. Then in September of 2017, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors legislated and voted unanimously to urge the Recreation and Park Commission to rename the Plaza back to Embarcadero Plaza. Subsequently, in November, the Commission voted to support the Board of Supervisors’ resolution, and officially renamed Justin Herman Plaza to Embarcadero Plaza.