This Mission District park is the perfect place to enjoy great views while you picnic and people watch. On sunny, warm days (yes, we have those), you'll find this park packed as locals flock with their blankets and beach chairs to soak up the sun and the energy. Great expanses of grass make the park popular with dog owners, but there’s also a playground and several tennis and basketball courts to play on. Tip: head to the southwest corner of the park for an amazing view of the San Francisco skyline. Open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sitting eye-level with Alcatraz and within earshot of the cable car bells, Francisco Park sits pretty between Russian Hill and Fisherman's Wharf. What was once a water reservoir is now a 4.5-acre park that includes an ultramodern playground, dog park, and grassy lawn. A couple of historic reservoir features remain, including the original berm with sloping concrete walls. Beneath Hyde Street is an opening to see some of the former inner organs of the city. A few blocks from the backside of the iconic Ghirardelli sign, Francisco Park will appeal to just about every San Francisco visitor looking for that iconic shot.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Islands, redwood forests, a former federal prison (Alcatraz), ocean beaches and historic points of interest are all part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). Across the Golden Gate Bridge, the GGNRA encompasses vast areas of undeveloped lands in the Marin Headlands, as well as wildlife sanctuaries, picnic areas facilities and 100 miles of trails. Bird-watching is a popular pastime and the National Park Service offers seasonal activities throughout the year, from lighthouse visits to hawk watches.