San Francisco's Many Parks Reveal Its True Nature

What comes to mind when you hear the term "city park?" Maybe a softball field for youth leagues, or a a clump of trees for shade?

While San Francisco can match any city in world-class restaurants and nightlife options, our list below reveals that it surpasses almost every US City in terms of parks. It starts with the geography that San fRancisco is blessed to be located in. What other major US city has the Pacific Ocean on one side, an enormous bay on the other, and rolling hills all around?

While most major cities might boast one or two outstanding parks, with San Francisco's unique topography, it's hard to keep the list for San Francisco to just ten. Golden Gate Park is a must visit for everyone, the living green lung that runs right through the western heart of San Francisco. And where it ends, Ocean Beach, offers some of the best sunsets around.

And if you add a ferry ride to Sausalito, a BART ride to the East Bay, or a short drive down the peninsula, your options are endless. But if you want to keep it in the city proper, here are ten can't miss parks to put the green back in your city experience.

Ocean Beach
Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy


During the summer months, when the inland area of California heats up, it pulls cold fog right over Ocean Beach. So those who are traveling to San francisco during the summer months need to bundle up for a true Northern California beach...  Read More



Precariously perched on the edge of the beautiful Pacific, Fort Funston is a reminder of what most of San Francisco used to be: sand. World-renowned for its hang-gliding and locally-renowned for dog walking, Fort Funston offers spectacular views...  Read More



Although widely known - and appreciated - for its free concert summer series, Stern Grove offers an idyllic picnic setting year round. Enormous groves of Eucalyptus curtain off the noise of busy 19th avenue, and a recent renovation has...  Read More



If the air on Haight Street has gotten too, well, smokey for you, head up for some fresh air and gorgeous views in little-visited Buena Vista Park. Although it's small, the park offers a healthy walk to the top. Gasp-inducing views of the Bay...  Read More



If you need to replenish your soul with a shot of nature after hustling around downtown, a rest in Yerba Buena Gardens will do the trick. The MLK Memorial, a fifty foot high and twenty foot wide waterfall over beautifully carved granite, is the...  Read More

Mission Dolores Park
Photo courtesy of nguy1


Mission Dolores Park is the heart of the Mission district and offers wonderful views of downtown. This is a true city park: often crowded, usually loud, and a great spot for people-watching. Street performers and food trucks often visit the park...  Read More

Presidio Heights


With so many beaches in the area, you'll have plenty of choices for fun in the sun, but Crissy Field is by far one of the most unique. Visitors can enjoy both sandy expanses and plenty of grassy areas. A flat, hard-packed promenade offers a...  Read More

San Francisco


McLaren Park is San Francisco's second-largest park with playgrounds, picnic areas and game courts, and the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, a golf course, McNab Lake and the newly renovated Coffman Pool. Explore an immense Natural Area of scenic...  Read More



Stunning 30-mile views of the coast and great trails make Lands End a must-see site for area visitors. Its Coastal Trail winds north along the city's western edge, offering scenic vistas and fantastic photo opportunities. From above, visitors...  Read More

Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park
Photo courtesy of used in book


Stretching more than three miles inland from the ocean, Golden Gate Park features more than 1,000 acres of gardens, meadows and woodlands. There are miles of walking trails, as well as playgrounds and plenty of picnic groves. You can even rent a...  Read More


Meet Tom Molanphy

The only thing that Tom Molanphy loves more than the food, art, music, and culture of San Francisco is sharing it with others. San Francisco never gets old for Tom.

Tom has lived in the San...  More About Tom