Spread across 25 acres, Balboa Park is full of amenities for the active, sporty type. Created in 1909 the park has seen many changes in its 100+ years. Temporary housing for veterans was built in 1948, a soccer field that had been planned since 1907 was finally completed in 1951, and irrigation systems were installed in 1952. The park also survived an attempted acquisition in 1994 by City College of San Francisco. In 2008, the park started to see a number of upgrades including rebuilding and later expanding the Balboa Playground. A skate park was installed in 2012. Where it's located: The park is located in San Francisco's Mission Terrace (or Excelsior, depending on who you ask) neighborhood, bound by San Jose Avenue, Havelock Street, Interstate 280 and Ocean Avenue. Entrances are located on all sides, including a pedestrian crosswalk over the interstate on the western border.
What it features: Everything. two baseball fields, two softball fields, two half-court basketball courts, four tennis courts, two playgrounds, a skate park, a soccer practice field, multiple restrooms, showers, large lawns, picnic areas, a soccer stadium that also accommodates football, an indoor swimming pool, and a police station.
How to get there: Bus lines to the park include 29, 36, 54, and 88. Directly across the street is the Balboa Park Station, with 3 BART lines, and Muni lines J, K, M. Off Interstate 280 take the Ocean/Geneva exit to Ocean Avenue.
Dogs allowed: Leash only, although we saw many dogs unleashed on our visit.
Don't miss: The park on a warm day. The southern neighborhoods in San Francisco are not normally known for their ideal weather, so when a warm front moves in the park really shines.
·Balboa Park and Pool [San Francisco Parks Alliance]
·Balboa Park [The Trust for Public Land]