San Francisco's Golden Gate Park is a sprawling urban recreation area covering just over 1,000 acres of rectangular public land, stretching three east-west miles in length, and half a north-south mile in width. William Hammond Hall first planned what would become the park itself in 1870, spurred on by the city's desire for a west coast sibling to New York City's Central Park, which was taking shape at the time. A pair of windmills, recently restored, provides the park with iconic, European-themed landmarks. Current estimates show close to thirteen million annual visitors to the park.
The Spreckels Temple of Music, aka "the Bandshell", is a concave, open-air plaza picked out with statues of historical figures and fountains. The manmade Stow Lake curls around Strawberry Hill island, with pedalboat rentals available. Opened to the public in 1879, the Conservatory of Flowers is one of the largest wood-and-glass botanical conservatories on earth.
There is no admission fee for the park itself, but attractions on park grounds do require fees that are listed and continuously updated here.
Best time to visit
August is when the Outside Lands Festival brings top-tier performing artists and cutting-edge dance music acts together over a hot, epic weekend.
Near by POI
John F. Kennedy Memorial Drive connects the eastern end of Golden Gate Park to the Great Highway, and the section east of the 19th Avenue park crossing is shut to traffic on weekends on holidays so that pedestrians, families, cyclists, and skaters can enjoy it as an extension of the park proper. Kezar Stadium, demolished in 1989 and replaced shortly thereafter, provides a sports venue for track events, soccer and lacrosse games, and the Turkey Bowl, San Francisco's annual high school football championship.