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Posted On 06/07/2018 10:54:15
Trip Date 08/28/2017
Destinations | Walk | California | San Francisco | Haight-Ashbury District | Golden Gate Park | Lands End
We spent the better part of the day zig-zagging our way through the "Central Park of the West" ... or is Central Park the "Golden Gate Park of the East"? I guess it just makes more sense to say we spent the day putting on lots of steps at a relatively
leisurely pace in Golden Gate Park. We had found a list of obscure things to see and do in San Francisco, and since we've visited multiple times
in recent years, we also decided to conquer some of the items on the list.
If you enjoy exploring on foot, this post provides an overview of our day and will give you some ideas that can be fun for both adults and children. You can decide how much walking you want to do, which park attractions you want to visit (a few charge
an entrance or rental fee) and whether or not you want to add a visit to Lands End which requires the use of public transportation.
The Haight-Ashbury district, named for the intersecting streets Haight and Ashbury near the center, is best known for being host to the 1967 Summer of Love celebration. Several members of now famous bands lived in the district and even
performed free concerts in nearby Golden Gate Park. In an effort to keep "the Haight" true to its roots, locals strive to maintain the "hippie" feel to neighborhood shops and restaurants. As we stayed with Scott's son Matt near the district, we set out on
foot walking down Haight Street. We passed the "legs" hanging out of the second floor window of Piedmont Boutique on our way to the park.
Legs Hanging over Piedmont Boutique
Golden Gate Park
We entered Golden Gate Park through the Haight Street entrance, walked past Alvard Lake and under the bridge to the Koret Children's Quarter, a very nice playground for kids (swings, slides
and other playground equipment plus a carousel), and home to a collection of "all things San Francisco" but on a smaller scale (concrete slides and mosaic stairs)!
Concrete Slides and Carousel in Koret Children's Quarter
Continuing our walk, we passed the San Francisco Botanical Garden ($8 adult / $17 family entrance fee) and Japanese Tea Garden ($9 adult
entrance fee), both of which we considered visiting, however due to our limited time, decided to save them for a future trip.
Japanese Tea Gardens
We enjoyed fountain drinks (free refills!) from the concession stand on the northern shore of Stow Lake while sitting at a picnic table watching the ducks and seagulls as well as people taking off and returning on their rented pedal and row boats.
We finally found the Pioneer Log Cabin and knew we were nearby the Arch of Colonial Trees (13 trees originally planted in 1896, each sent from one of the original states).
Arch of Colonial Trees
It was a long walk past the Disc Golf Course and Polo Fields to the Bison Paddock, where we watched six bison roam and graze in the large field. Apparently, a herd of American Bison cared for by the San Francisco Zoo staff has
lived in the park since 1890.
Bison Paddock in Golden Gate Park
We continued toward the Pacific Ocean until we arrived at the Dutch Windmill at the northwestern corner of the park. Walking south, we came upon the memorial to Roald Amundsen in front of the Beach Chalet marking the site where
his ship was pulled ashore. (It was he and his crew who first successfully navigated the Northwest passage and later the first to reach the South Pole.) We were encouraged by some locals to enter the building to see the artwork before making our way
to the recently restored Murphy Windmill (the largest in the world with 114 foot sails when originally constructed in 1905) and Millwright's Cottage at the southwestern park corner.
Dutch Windmill (top left), Murphy Windmill and Roald Amundsen Memorial
When I look at a map of Golden Gate Park, I realize that we saw such a small part of the 1,017 acre park (larger than New York's Central Park). One day is not nearly enough time to explore
the many gardens, lakes, meadows, fields, sport courts and more - however we got a great taste of the natural beauty without spending more than $5.00 (for our sodas). There is certainly a lot more for us to explore on future visits!
Blooms in Golden Gate Park
We had several other obscure sights that we had hoped to see, however narrowed our list down as our planned 7:00 PM dinner with Matt was fast approaching. We chose to head out on a Muni bus toward Lands End where we successfully found both Battery Chester (graffiti and all - one of the emplacements now has a dumpster sitting upon it!) and the Octagon House.
Battery Chester (left) and Octagon House
Some day we will learn not to try to pack so much into our vacations, but, the good news is that we were able to "transfer" to another Muni bus and make it to our meeting place with a couple of minutes to spare!
Tips for Visiting Golden Gate Park and Surrounding Areas
Although we have not yet had the opportunity to join a tour of the Haight-Ashbury district, we have seen and overheard parts of tours as we walked through the area over the last couple of years. You may want to consider one of the free (pay what
you wish) walking tours offered by Wild SF.
Both Golden Gate Park and Lands End offer a lot of options for visitors. It would be very easy to spend a full day at each and not
even come close to exploring everything available. Take some time before your visit and look at the websites for each so that you can plan your perfect day.
As there are a variety of picnic areas at both Golden Gate Park and Lands End, consider packing a picnic lunch for your visit(s).
Golden Gate Park offers a free shuttle service for those visiting between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
In addition to free visits on the second Tuesday of each month and free visits on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years days, visits to the San Francisco Botanical Garden are also free to those arriving between 7:30 AM and 9:00 AM daily.
The Japanese Tea Garden offers free entry to all guests arriving on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between the hours of 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM.
Visiting San Francisco
For more ideas on both well known and lesser visited sights to see during a visit to San Francisco, see our post titled "Wandering around 'The City'" for an overview of how we spent one day on our fourth visit in four years.
What is your favorite park in the San Francisco Bay Area, and what do you most enjoy doing at that park?
Total Health App steps today: 23,348
Total Moves App steps today: 22,718
Weather:59F Mostly Clear
Created On 05/28/2018 13:07:04
Updated On 08/24/2018 14:45:36
Scheduled On 06/07/2018 10:54:15
Posted On 06/07/2018 10:54:15
Last Editor Stacy
Location Stow Lake, San Francisco, CA, United States