In the late 1800s, California's first state engineer, William Hammond Hall, and his assistant, a Scotsman named John McLaren, transformed more than 1000 acres (405 hectares) of sand dunes into a wondrous haven in the midst of the city, christened Golden Gate Park after the eponymous strait nearby. Stretching over 50 blocks from Stanyan Street to the Pacific Ocean, the lush landscape is etched with numerous trails for walking, jogging, biking and horseback riding, alongside a golf course, bowling greens, a lake with paddle boats, soccer fields and a baseball diamond. From the Japanese Tea Garden and the Conservatory of Flowers to the California Academy of Sciences and the De Young Museum, San Francisco's Golden Gate Park encompasses a wealth of scenic beauty and cultural intrigue within is expansive embrace. There are also several playgrounds, a quaint carousel, an aquarium, a buffalo reserve and an outdoor bandshell where open-air concerts are hosted each summer.
Located at the western end of Golden Gate Park is San Francisco's biggest beach. It extends from Fort Funston in the south, to the Cliff House in the north. Typically, the cold winds, fog and low San Francisco temperatures deter any regular beach activities (unless you're lucky enough to be there on a hot day) but visitors fly kites or just walk along and admire the views of Seal Rocks and Point Lobos. Adventure seekers love surfing here. There are also bonfire pits provided on the beach for the general public; to claim one, go early in the evening.
Dolores Park is one of the main hot spots in San Francisco and is the major meet-up place for many citizens. Though it is not very large, it attracts crowds of people and the beautiful views make it worth the visit. Recreational resources include a few tennis courts, basketball courts, two soccer fields and a children's playground, but most of all Dolores Park is often used as a venue for special events such as movies in the park. Its surrounding area is known for some of San Francisco's major culinary attractions: Delfina, Pizzeria Delfina and the Tartine Bakery. It is also a great place to chill with some ice cream from the Bi-Rite Creamery. Saturday hang-outs in the park are often events themselves and it's always packed on weekends. Given its location, it's almost always sunny; the famous fog knows better than to ruin the oasis that is Dolores Park. Whether you choose to sit in Dog Beach, Hipster Beach, Speedo Ridge or partake in actual activity at the playground or tennis courts you are sure to have an unforgettable time.
Redwood Regional Park is located in the hills of Oakland. It boasts the largest remaining natural strand of coastal redwood in the East Bay. Early mariners used to use these tall redwood trees to help them navigate the San Francisco Bay. Many locals enjoy hiking and biking around the available trails, which offers gorgeous scenery. In addition to the deer, rabbits and squirrels that roam the park, it is also home to rare wildlife species such as the golden eagle and the striped racer snake. The Roberts Regional Recreation Area, a park within the park, features a swimming pool and playgrounds. Throughout the park, you will find access to a well-maintained system of restrooms, water fountains and picnic tables. The Chabot Observatory and Science Center is one of the park's most prominent attractions.
University of California Botanical Garden is located within the campus of University of California Berkeley. Open to the public since 1890, this is no less than an outdoor living museum that boasts over 12,000 species of flora and fauna. The garden can be rented for private events, wedding receptions, twilight tours, summer walks and concerts.
This East Bay woodland canyon offers great panoramic views of the Bay Area. The 205-acre park sits next to UC Berkeley and has trails accessible from the city. There are no facilities such as picnic tables, just wilderness to enjoy. Several trails are available for hiking, and wandering off the trails is not advisable, as the East Bay Park Department maintains this land in its natural state to provide a secluded natural oasis in the heart of the city.
Strut is a social organization, dedicated towards supporting the LGBT community of the city. This community center has various programs focusing on improving and maintaining physical as well as emotional health of their members. Their membership is extended towards gay, bi and trans men, and health programs cover everything from STI tests to Acupuncture therapy. A number of events covering the areas of health and LGBT benefit are also organized here frequently.
This park along steep Sacramento Street in Chinatown is named after local basketball player Willie Wong. Willie was 5'5-ft. dynamo that is still considered one of the best Chinese ballplayers in history. He played in the 1940's and he received his nickname 'Woo Woo' after a writer depicted how the fans would cheer for him when he scored. In fact, Willie honed his ball-handling skills at the park which was then named generically as the Chinese Playground. In 2006, his name was applied by the SF Parks Commission to pay homage to this local hero.