Golden Gate Park is one of the largest urban parks in the world, stretching for three miles along the western edge of San Francisco. It is filled not only with natural beauty but also a science museum, art museum, flower conservatory, and much more. The California Academy of Sciences includes an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and scientific research facility under one roof—and a living one at that. The 2.5-acre roof is home to more than 1.7 million native plants. The facility boasts the world's largest all-digital planetarium and the world's deepest display of living coral; more than 38,000 animals fill the aquarium and natural-history exhibits. Elsewhere in the park, the deYoung Museum is home to American art from the 17th through 21st centuries; textiles and costumes; contemporary art; and art from the Americas, the Pacific, and Africa. The entry court, expansive lobby, café, museum store, sculpture gardens, and 144-foot-high observation deck are open to visitors free of charge. Another park attraction is the Conservatory of Flowers, the oldest surviving wood-and-glass greenhouse in the U.S. Its 1,750 species of plants represent tropical flora from more than 50 countries. For more flora, check out the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, which cover 55 acres and feature more than 7,000 kinds of plants, including outstanding geographical collections and unique specialty gardens as well as the most extensive botanical reference library in the U.S. Docent-led walks of its 17 gardens are offered daily. The Japanese Tea Garden is another must-see. Its torii (gates), pagodas, moon bridge, and 1.5-ton Buddha create the perfect backdrop in which to munch fortune cookies, which were first created and served here in 1914. Admission is free before 10 a.m. and after 4:30 p.m.

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Expert Review of Golden Gate Park

Active and Adventure Review of Golden Gate Park

Away Travel Expert: Karen Kefauver
expert favorite Active Expert Favorite
ActiveExpert Rating 5.0 out of 5 Recommended for:
Day Hiking,Mountain Biking,Road Biking,Walking
Active and AdventureExpert Tips & Helpful Hints
  • Plenty of public transportation options will get you to the park, including the N-Judah light rail line. Be aware that on Sundays, John F. Kennedy Drive is closed to cars.
  • Miles of roads and paths are perfect for walking, jogging, and riding bikes. Stop by the botanic gardens, Stow Lake, or the Conservatory of Flowers. And of course, don't miss out on the Buffalo Paddock.
  • In addition to the meadows, paths, fields and flowers, the park is home to the de Young Museum and Japanese Tea Garden. Festivals, concerts and events are also frequently held in the park.

501 Stanyan Street (administrative office)
San Francisco, California 94117

Visitor Information

Telephone Number: (415) 561-4700
The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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