Golden Gate Park in San Francisco is massive. A quick visit soon turns into a long visit as you follow a new pathway and get distracted by the rollerbladers and borders in the skate park, or the pretty rows of neat flower beds. There’s also the magical Japanese Tea Garden to discover, as well as the California Academy of Sciences, and de Young Museum. And that’s not even including everything in the park. It spans an impressive 1,037 acres and attracts over 13 million visitors every year, so it really is a big chunk a’ greenery.
Just like most people think it’s a short drive along the east coast of Australia, Golden Gate Park is deceivingly long. Allow at least half a day to see a schmidgen of what it has to offer.
Japanese Tea Garden
So many people love this part of the park. It’s tranquil and calming, but quite small considering the modest fee to enter. Narrow, winding paths curve past manicured shrubs and sweep underneath tall pagodas that are painted in deep shades of ruby red.
Fish follow you as you tip toe across the stepping stones and dance with excitement as you stop to pause and admire the reflection.
The most unusual sight is the arched bridge near the exit. It’s a tiny, steep wooden bridge that almost mimics a dainty Japanese lady doing yoga or tai chi.
Conservatory of Flowers
This part of the park is more traditional. An impressive conservatory is the star of the show. It’s the oldest building in the park and is considered a treasured landmark. It’s home to over 1,000 species of plants, including a famous collection of orchids, a 100-year-old plant and lots more. Even if you don’t step inside, the building is pretty enough on its own.
Near this building you’ll find lots of open space. Grab a seat on one of the benches and watch the world go by. It’s a great spot for people watching, particularly as San Fran is full of so many characters.
De Young Museum
If you’re not into cool art and spacious, quirky exhibitions and installations, head straight up to Young’s Hammon Tower Observatory (accessed via De Young Museum). From here you’ll see views of the park and get a different perspective of the area. If you are into museums, you’ll love wandering the multiple floors and rooms, checking out collections from all over the world and throughout the ages.
California Academy of Sciences
Opposite de Young Museum, you’ll find the California Academy of Sciences. It’s home to a four-story Rainforests of the World dome, an aquarium, the world’s largest all-digital planetarium and more. It’s huge and exciting for both big un’s and little un’s. You’ll need to pay to get in unless you have a cityPASS.
There’s so much more to see and do in Golden Gate Park than just these few things. Whether you walk, cycle with Blazing Saddles, segway, skate or hitch a lift on the local bus, explore the park and see it for yourself.
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