Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park

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March 11, 2020
Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park

10 Reasons to Visit Golden Gate Park This Season

Golden Gate Park will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2020, but some event dates are subject to change. Bookmark this page and be sure to check regularly for updates.

Which park has two museums, a greenhouse, 10 public gardens, and more within its 1,017 acres? That would be San Francisco's one and only Golden Gate Park. Whether you're a first-time or returning visitor, you're bound to discover something new within Golden Gate Park. Here are 10 reasons to head there soon.

  1. Be there to celebrate Golden Gate Park's 150th anniversary in 2020. While there will be plenty of events happening in the park all year-round, the main celebration will be held on Golden Gate Park's actual birthday, Apr. 4. A new, 150-foot-tall ferris wheel will also debut on this day, allowing visitors to see the park from above.
  2. Enjoy Nightlife every Thursday at the California Academy of Sciences from 6 to 10 p.m.  The series explores a unique theme each week and offers after-hours access to all Academy exhibits. Must be 21+.
  3. Twelve grand pianos will be installed in the San Francisco Botanical Garden for the sixth year of Flower Piano, July 11-22, 2020. Come to play or to listen. The alfresco community concert hall features special performances by professional pianists and other musicians. This year will feature new public events like Flower Piano at Sunset, free piano lessons, three evenings of Flower Piano at Night, and much more.
  4. The de Young Museum will have some of the most anticipated exhibitions on view this year. See "Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI" (through Oct. 25, 2020), an exhibition exploring the relationship between humans and technology. Also coming to the de Young are major works from Frida Kahlo (Mar. 21-Jul. 26, 2020) and Judy Chicago (May 9-Sept. 7, 2020).
  5. The AIDS Memorial Quilt will return to San Francisco, where it was first conceived and created in 1987. This impressive hand-sewn quilt, which will be displayed in Golden Gate Park on Apr. 3-5, is comprised of nearly 2,000 panels that each share a personal story of those affected by HIV/AIDS. The panels will be spread out in Golden Gate Park's Robin Williams Meadow, Bowling Green Drive, Nancy Pelosi Drive, as well as the park's National AIDS Memorial Grove, making it the largest display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt in San Francisco history.
  6. Watch for the announcement of the lineup for Outside Lands, which unfolds every August in Golden Gate Park. Purchase your festival passes immediately, because it sells out quickly. Since the first concert in 2008, the three-day festival has become internationally known for not only the musical performances but also the food, wine, local brews, art and comedy offered.
  7. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass will also be celebrating a major milestone this year. For 20 years, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass has brought hundreds of thousands of music lovers to Golden Gate Park from all around the world. The lineup for this annual free music festival will be announced at a later date.
  8. Explore the Conservatory of Flowers and its thousands of rare and endangered plants. Its five distinct galleries give visitors a glimpse of different ecosystems, ranging from tropical rain forests to cloud forests perched atop mountains. As part of Golden Gate Park's 150th anniversary, the Conservatory of Flowers will host the Surrealistic Summer Solstice Concert (Jun. 17), where light art and music collide and turn the landmark into an illuminated building. The Conservatory is free to all visitors on the first Tuesday of every month and will also be free admission on Community Day (Apr. 4).
  9. If you want to explore every corner of the 1,000+ acre park, your best bet is to rent a bike or segway. Reserve a bike with Bay City Bike Rentals and Tours or glide through the park on a segway with the Electric Tour Company. While you have the option to explore the park on your own, both of these rental companies offer guided tours (ranging from one-hour to three-hour excursions) for those who want to learn more about the history of the park and its hidden gems. 
  10. Golden Gate Park is the perfect place to enjoy all things outdoors. Get out and explore Stow Lake on one of the fun boats that can be chartered by the hour, starting at $22.50 for a row boat and up to $38.50 for four- to six-passenger pedal boats. If all that rowing and pedaling sounds a little daunting, they also have electric boats. Stroll through the Japanese Tea Gardens, pack a picnic to enjoy on the grassy areas, see a variety of roses in bloom in the Rose Garden, and much more.


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