Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park © Stan Shebs
Of the many open green spaces in San Francisco, Golden Gate Park is the biggest and the loveliest stretching from The Haight to the Pacific Ocean, featuring gardens, lakes, numerous sporting facilities and museums. On Sundays the main drive is closed to traffic and becomes the playground for joggers, cyclists, roller-bladers and strollers. The California Academy of Sciences includes the Natural History Museum, aquarium and planetarium. The serenity of the Japanese Tea Garden with its bridges, bonsai and fortune cookies is a favourite with tour groups. Opportunities for games and activities abound, with lawn bowling, disc golf, soccer, football, baseball and tennis all catered for. Although filled with people, the park never seems crowded and there is always a secluded space somewhere on the lawns or in the gardens. For a lively atmosphere, the Beach Chalet Brewery and Restaurant is a popular restaurant in Golden Gate Park. For a spookier site, try and seek out the reputed resident spirit, the Stow Lake Ghost.
Address: The Golden Gate park spans over 1,000 acres and can be found along the Great Highway, Lincoln Way, Fulton Street and Stanyon Street in San Francisco.
Telephone: Park information (415) 831 2700 or (415) 321 8000 (Academy of Sciences). Japanese Tea Garden (415) 752 4227.
Transport: Free shuttles are available to sites around the park from 9am-6pm on weekends and holidays.
Opening times: The Academy of Sciences is open Monday to Saturday 9:30am-5pm, and Sundays 11am-5pm. Japanese Tea Garden is open daily 9am-6pm from March to end October, and from November to end February from 9am to 4:45pm.
Admission: Park entrance is free. November to February adult tickets are $35.95 and from $25.95 to $30.95 for a child, with concessions available. Peak prices may apply during summer and holiday periods.