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.
Nestled in the Parkside neighborhood near SF State and Lake Merced, Sigmund Stern Grove (and its adjacent Pine Lake Park) is most known as the home to the oldest free summer performing arts festival in the country. But the 63-acre park, accessed by an epic descent below street level, has a lot more to offer.
Where it's located: Stern Grove is situated along 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard, with entrances at 19th and Sloat, Crestlake Drive and Vale Ave, and Wawona Street and 34th Ave.
What it features: The park has picnic and dog play areas, hiking trails, a playground, and tennis, lawn bowling, and croquet courts, as well as Pine Lake at the western end. The festival stage and amphitheater seating originally dated back to the 1930s, and were renovated in 2005 by master landscape architect Lawrence Halprin. The Trocadero Inn, which has its own long sordid history, has been restored and can now be rented for parties and special events.
How to get there: The 23 and 28 buses stop at 19th and Sloat, and the 29 bus stops at Sunset Blvd and Wawona street, pretty close to the west entrance. The M and K trains stop at Sloat and Junipero Serra, which is only a few blocks from the park.
Dogs allowed?: Yup, and there's a large grassy off-leash dog run at the west end of the park, known as Pine Lake Park, with water stations and park benches. Dogs must be on leash in the other areas of the park.
Don't Miss: The area of Stern Grove was originally part of the Albert Greene homestead, settled in 1947. All those Eucalyptus trees were planted by the Greene family in 1871 to protect from the strong winds.