Golden Gate Park's Hidden Treasures
Whether you visit the park regularly or you’ve never been, discover the best things to do in one of San Francisco’s most interesting locations.
Within its 1,000-plus acres, Golden Gate Park contains some of San Francisco's most famous and most visited attractions. Everyone knows about museums like the California Academy of Sciences, de Young Museum or the Conservatory of Flowers and serene spaces like the Japanese Tea Garden and the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, but there is still plenty to see that you might not know about yet. Read through It's time you went beyond what's well-known and discovered Golden Gate Park's hidden treasures for yourself.
Located at the west end of the park (47th Ave. and Fulton St.), the archery field is open to archers of all skill levels. The field has nine hay bales for shared use, and equipment can be rented nearby. Archers are encouraged to bring their own targets, bows and arrows. If you do not own a bow, arrows, and other athletic gear associated with the sport, the nearby San Francisco Archery Shop (3795 Balboa St.) offers complete equipment package rentals.
Why visit a home on the range when you can see real buffalo roaming right here in Golden Gate Park? See these majestic creatures, who have called the park home since 1890, in an open, safe habitat along John F. Kennedy Blvd. To reach this entertaining attraction, head for the western end of the park, where a large fenced-in region holds these prized animals. This splendid sight is also located close to North Lake, as well as the corner of Chain of Lakes Drive East. Interesting fact: although you may not have the chance to observe, bison are known to reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.
Located steps from the Pacific Ocean on the west side of the park is the Beach Chalet. Stop by for lunch, dinner, or drinks. Come out for Prime Rib Mondays, featuring prime cuts of meat, and plenty of sides and for $5 more, you can add a dessert. Don't forget about the $10 martinis. The Spanish Colonial architecture and history associated with the building (formerly a changing house for beach frolickers) are worth checking out, too.
Dutch and Murphy Windmills
Standing at 75 feet tall, the north windmill was originally constructed in 1902 to pump water. Today it’s known for the thousands of colorful tulips surrounding the historic landmark in the northwest corner of the park. The windmill is worth a visit anytime, but tulip time (February and March) is the best. The Dutch Windmill was such a successful attraction when it was first built that a second windmill, the Murphy Windmill, named after a local banker and benefactor, is located in the southwest corner of the park.
Inhabited by drum circles and covered in a haze of cannabis smoke, Hippie Hill is always good for an adventure. Infamous for the flower children who gathered there during the 1960s, the meadow and slope are still a good place to enjoy the city and people-watch on a sunny day.
From 1946 to 1970, the San Francisco 49ers called Kezar Stadium home. Today, Kezar remains a multi-purpose stadium that hosts collegiate football games and other sporting events, like local lacrosse, soccer, and track and field teams. There's also an eight-lane track open for public use. While the stadium is not as big as it was in its heyday, it still can seat 10,000 people.