Golden Gate Park’s 1,017 acres cover more area than New York’s Central Park! Come watch bison carouse around their enclosure, rent a paddleboat on Stow Lake, or take a Segway or Electric Scooter Tour and learn the park’s history! Whatever activity you choose, you are sure to have a blast!

History

Today’s Golden Gate Park is lush, covered by trees, grass, and exotic plants. Everything you see, however, is man-made. The park is built over what used to be acres of sand dunes sparsely populated with native grasses and shrubs. These outer lands were inhospitable and, according to many, inhabitable.

San Francisco Golden Gate Park from the air
San Francisco Golden Gate Park from the air
San Francisco Golden Gate Park from the air Photo: Alfred Twu [CC0]

William Hammond Hall changed everything with his decision to create the public park. With the joint effort of horticulturist John McLaren, William Hammond ignored all advice and followed through with his vision to create a man-made oasis of greenery amidst inhospitable dunes. After the city’s long struggle to secure the land and develop the park, construction began in the fall of 1870. The transformation from dunes to a landscaped public park was now underway, although not without a struggle. It took years to convert the sands to something that could sustain plant life, but the struggle was worth it. The park was a success from the start and remains so today.

Today

No one would have predicted the success that Golden Gate Park would become. From its beginnings as dusty sand dunes on the outer lands of San Francisco to today’s premier tourist destination, the park’s history is filled with both stories of success and stories of perseverance against adversity.

Japanese Tea Garden Golden Gate Park
Japanese Tea Garden Golden Gate Park
Japanese Tea Garden Golden Gate Park Photo: Dennis Jarvis from Halifax, Canada [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

The Japanese Tea Garden, curated by Makoto Hagiwara and built off the exhibition at the Panama-Pacific Arts Exhibition of 1915, is one such story of overcoming adversity. When its Japanese-American curators were forcibly relocated to Japanese internment camps during WWII, the garden fell into a state of disarray. Years later, the garden was restored and has found success as a destination for locals and tourists today

Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park
Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park
Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park Photo: William Warby [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Attractions

Golden Gate Park offers a wide variety of activities to suit a broad range of interests. Visitors will find all of the following things to do and see within the park, and more:

  • Polo

  • Lawn Bowling

  • Surry Rentals

  • Paddle boats

  • Sunday, Lindy in the Park (free lesson and dancing afterward)

  • Children’s playground and carousel

  • Free concerts

  • Waterfalls and trails

  • Rose, dahlia, and tulip gardens

  • Dutch and Murphy Windmills

  • Herd of Buffalo (bison)

Dutch Windmill in Golden Gate Park
Dutch Windmill in Golden Gate Park
Dutch Windmill in Golden Gate Park

Museums

Popular Things to Do

Segway and Electric Scooter Tours: San Francisco Electric Tour Company offers fully narrated 2.5-hour Segway tours, 3 hour Segway tours and 2.5 hour Electric Scooter Tours of Golden Gate Park. Riding a Segway or Electric Scooters is easy to learn and the tours are a blast!

Nearby Points of Interest

The Haight: This funky, eclectic district saw the free love movement of the ‘70s, war protests, and was the home of the Grateful Dead. Shop in the unique collection of mainstream shops and stores inspired by eastern religions, or peruse the used CDs and DVDs at Amoeba Music. Located at the Eastern end of Golden Gate Park.

Ocean Beach: Play in the surf and explore the coastline! Located at the western end of Golden Gate Park.

Golden Gate Bridge and Fort Point One of the most photographed structures in the world - Take in the 746-foot tall towers, sweeping main cables, signature International Orange color, and Art Deco styling from Fort Point

Golden Gate Park is featured on:

  • Public Tour
    Alcatraz Combo - Ultimate SF City Tour and Alcatraz Ferry

    Available Limited Tickets

    9AM or 2PM Alcatraz AM or PM

    How long?
    Approx. 3 hours
    When?
    Limited Tickets
    Do we fit?
    Seats 6 (Ages 5+)
    How much?
    From $145.00

    With a Lucky Tuk Tuk Ultimate City Tour + Alcatraz Combination Package you get a full day of fun! Explore the City in a cozy Tuk Tuk then learn the history of Alcatraz as you visit "the rock".

  • Private Charter
    Private Charter San Francisco Tuk Tuk Tour

    Available Daily

    9AM, 11:30AM, 2PM, 4:30PM or 7:30PM

    How long?
    Approx. 2 hours
    When?
    Daily
    Do we fit?
    Seats 6 (Child ages 3+)
    How much?
    From $275.00

    Explore beautiful San Francisco in your own private, electric Tuk Tuk! Perfect for families and groups. A personal guide for your party commandeers this modern-day rickshaw at a pace that’s right for you!

  • Public Tour
    Ultimate San Francisco City Tour

    Available Daily

    9:30AM, 12 Noon or 2PM

    How long?
    Approx. 2.5 hours
    When?
    Daily
    Do we fit?
    Seats 6 (Ages 5+)
    How much?
    From $75.00

    Zip around beautiful San Francisco in cozy, electric Tuk Tuk! Explore more than 15 neighborhoods in this modern-day rickshaw with a fully narrated, guided tour.