Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park contains 1,013 acres, extending from the Haight to the Pacific Ocean, making it bigger than New York’s Central Park. It’s so large and so well-designed that you can enjoy the park and be unaware of the city’s presence around it. With over a million trees, nine lakes, biking, jogging and rollerblading paths, a nine-hole public golf course, 6000 varieties of flowers, 53 beds of roses, bowling greens, soccer and polo fields. It even holds the 10,000 seat Kezar Stadium, former home of two NFL teams, the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders and outdoor concert venue. Kezar was also used in pivotal scenes from the 1971 Clint Eastwood film, “Dirty Harry.” The outstanding California Academy of Sciences opened here in 2008 with an aquarium, an all digital planetarium, natural history museum, indoor rainforest, and its roof covered in living plants. The oldest building in the park is the Conservatory of Flowers, constructed in 1878. The Victorian edifice survived the 1906 earthquake, fire and windstorms to become America’s oldest glass and wood conservatory.

This is a true people’s park, deeded to San Francisco citizens in 1870 so there would always be a place to go if the city ever got too crowded. Now on an average weekend, 75,000 people find recreation and relief from city pressures within its thousand acres. Nearly one hundred years after the first trees were planted in the park most of the trees in Golden Gate park were dying, having come to the end of their life spans. In 1970 those trees were replaced with thousands of new plantings.

The neighborhoods bordering the park are the Richmond District on the north and the Sunset District on the south. The Pacific Ocean is its western border and Upper Haight lies to the east.

Two major races start from Golden Park: the Kaiser Permanente Half-Marathon and 5K Fun Race and the Bay to Breakers, with over 100,000 participants racing or just walking to the finish line in Ocean Beach.