Unique Things to See and Do in/near Golden Gate Park
- Check out the historic Conservatory of Flowers (1879)
- Explore the aquarium, planetarium, and the natural history museum all at The California Academy of Sciences
- Take a picture in front of the pagoda at Japanese Tea Garden
- Golf at one of the SIX golf courses!
Exploring Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park is packed with things to do and covers such an expansive area that it’s often difficult to know where to start. The best place to start is with the McLaren Lodge and Park Headquarters, which are open every day from 8 am till 5 pm.
There is just about something for everyone. If you’re a garden type, come during springtime to see all the tulip gardens and the Dutch Windmill. If you enjoy fishing then you will be interested to know they have fly-casting pools and an Anglers Lodge (family membership is the way to go). Are you a sports fanatic? Then check out the soccer & polo fields or try a hand at golf. Plus there are baseball diamonds, handball courts, or bring your own frisbees, balls, or bocce balls – you might get people joining in on your fun!
For the historians in the mix, check out the Japanese Tea Garden and the Conservatory of Flowers. The Conservatory is one of the oldest buildings in the park. Built in 1876, this Victorian styled structure features a beautiful wood framework to house the glass windows that allow the sunshine in for the 1,700 species of aquatic and tropical plants housed inside.
And for the kids, aside the fact that there are playgrounds, trails, and forests to run through, there are also amazing creatures to be found. There are Bison Paddocks to see real buffalo up close, and swamp creatures and marine life at the aquarium in the Academy of Sciences. And if that isn’t enough, they have the Herschell-Spillman Carousel with 62 colourfully painted animals to ride. Everything from dragons to horses, even goats! And after a day spent taking in the sights, be sure to end it by catching the sunset along the beach.
Getting to Golden Gate Park
Many people prefer to drive to the spot of their choice within the park, such as the Conservatory or Tea Gardens. For most, being car-free means hassle-free and with San Francisco being a green city, they offer the Gold Gate Park shuttle for free. There are 15 locations within the park where you can catch the shuttle. Taking the railway (Muni) is another option for getting to the park, or better yet, you could do San Fran style and rent a bike!
Ready to plan your visit to San Francisco? Check out these popular guides and trips.