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San Francisco

Click on our interactive map to see nuggets of this green urban treasure.

A herd of bison, Edward Hopper paintings, Dutch windmills—Golden Gate Park is a decidedly eclectic 1,017-acre haven at the continent's edge. Manicured gardens and modern architectural landmarks segue into a wilder place where fog envelops groves of eucalyptus and cypress, obscuring all traces of the city. Hippies drumming in fields near Haight-Ashbury and Asian grandmothers congregating on the benches along Spreckles Lake reflect the park's textured social fabric. Model yacht and lawn bowling clubs have their respective ponds and greens; anglers their casting pools; art lovers, world-class galleries. The ideal of democratic equality that guided park developers in the 1870s produced one of the world's great urban escapes. Now the newly renovated California Academy of Sciences and the De Young Museum form a cultural locus on the park's eastern half—with plenty of diversions nearby.