This guide will help you find both the "must-do" and more unusual "secret" things to see in this amazing, giant San Francisco park. San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is huge -- over three miles long and covering more than one thousand square acres. You could spend an entire day or just a few hours enjoying your own favorite museums, gardens and attractions in this beauiful park that helps to define San Francisco's character. The park is also one of the best spots for a jog or run.
Japanese Tea Gardens. These lovely gardens offer a serene place to sit down and drink a cup of tea. There’s a nominal entrance fee and you can purchase tea and snacks inside the garden.
Tulip Garden. On the west end of the park is a large old windmill and a beautiful tulip garden. Some of the best park visitor pictures are taken here.
Rose Garden. The Golden Gate Park rose garden is another popular spot with visitors. Late spring through early fall offer the best rose displays although a pruning demonstration each January is also interesting.
Conservatory of Flowers. Flower lovers absolutely shouldn’t miss this indoor garden. It’s one of the world’s largest indoor conservatories.
DeYoung Museum. Right across from the California Academy of Sciences is this favorite art museum. Even if you don’t have time to check out the exhibits, you should take the time to ride up to the top floor gift shop where an observation deck shows you an even better view of Golden Gate Park.
Bison and Buffalo Paddock. There are a few old bison / buffalo that make their home in an enclosure in Golden Gate Park. There isn’t much of a display to enjoy here but it’s worth checking them out if you’re in the park anyway.
The South Windmill. Most park visitors see the North Windmill where the park’s Tulip Garden is. However, there is also a cool historic windmill on the south end of the park. It is currently not restored which makes it an interesting relic.
AIDS Memorial Grove. This beautiful memorial flower garden is worth stopping in at while you’re in the park.
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Botanical Gardens at Strybing Arboretum. Locals who want to feel like they have escaped into nature.
Children’s Playground and Carousel. A top spot to spend a day in the park with children.
Archery Field. One interesting way to spend the day is to head out to this field in the park for an archery lesson.
Soccer fields. There are soccer fields located on the northwest end of the park. It’s easy to find a pickup game here.
Spreckels Music Temple - By Eddie Wright
Music concourse and Spreckels Temple of Music. There are frequently free musical concerts held at this pretty outdoor stage area.
Hippie Hill. Hippie-inspired activities such as drum circles and "recreational smoking" can be found here. The so-called Janis Joplin Tree is a favorite attraction.
Rollerblading hot spots. It’s worth noting that the park is a favorite place for rollerbladers and bicyclists. Cars are not allowed inside of the park on Sundays so that’s an ideal day for rollerbladers to take over the park.
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Boat Rentals at Stow Lake by: Toby Shepard
Stow Lake. Feed the ducks or take a paddleboat ride here at this lake in the center of the park.
Horse stables and Polo Field. Horse owners board their horses in stables in this park. Sometimes you can see them riding or performing stunts in the polo field at the park. There’s no schedule for this so it’s just a matter of dropping by and seeing if you get lucky.
Kezar Stadium. Check the schedule here for various games and events that you can attend. Roller derby games held here are a popular choice.
Spreckels Lake. This lesser-known lake is located on the north side of the park. Model yacht clubs meet here so you might get to see them showing off their stuff when you visit.
Golf Course. People who enjoy golf, or who simply want to take some lessons, will find that the Golden Gate Park Golf Course is one of the most convenient locations to downtown San Francisco.