We all love Golden Gate Park and Dolores Park, but did you know San Francisco has over 220 parks and open spaces? Curbed SF wants to bring fame and glory to some of the smaller, lesser-known parks, and we're doing so with our series Park Life. Each week we'll spotlight a different San Francisco park or open space, and bring you all the details you need to plan a visit.
John McLaren Park, the second largest park in the city after Golden Gate Park, is a nature-lover's paradise with miles of trails and recreation sites. In 1905, a subdivision was proposed for the area, but historic starchitect Daniel Burnham proposed setting the hilly areas aside for a public park, and it opened in 1934.
Where it's located: McLaren Park lies between the city's Excelsior and Visitacion Valley neighborhoods, just west of Candlestick.
What it features: Holy crap it's big. Like 312 acres big. There are lawns, planted gardens, a lake and a reservoir, a golf course, picnic areas, playgrounds, baseball diamonds, basketball and tennis courts, an indoor swimming pool, a soccer field, dog play areas, and an amphitheater. 165 acres are also designated a significant natural resource area, with hiking trails and paths.
How to get there: The 29 cuts straight through the park, and the 54, 9, and 8X get pretty close. Since it's so big, there are various bus stops all around the perimeter depending on what direction you're coming from.
Dogs allowed?: Yes, but must be on leash. Dogs are allowed off-leash in two big open dog areas - there is a lake area on the east side of Shelley Loop where dogs can swim too.
Don't Miss: Most of the paved and unpaved trails were built during the Depression by the Works Progress Administration.
· John McLaren Park [SF Rec & Park]
· John McLaren Park, San Francisco [mclarenpark.org]