Every Wednesday or so we break down the details of a specific lesser known park in San Francisco. And why not? There are 220 of them, but it seems like Golden Gate Park and Dolores Park get all the attention. Since our normally scheduled Park Life post is on hiatus this week, we thought it best to update our map of some of San Francisco's lesser known parks. After the jump, a map of all the park's Curbed contributor Alex Bevk's been to thus far. Have a favorite park that you'd like Alex to check out? The tipline's always open or you can leave a comment after the jump.Read More
Updating the Curbed Map of Public Parks You Might Not Know About
Snuggled between Baker Beach and Lands End in the Seacliff neighborhood, many people are unaware of the tiny yet publicly-accessible China Beach. As part of the National Parks Service’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area, it’s rated as one of the cleanest beaches in the state. Legend has it that Chinese fishermen used to anchor their boats in the cove and camped on the beach (there’s a monument to them at the trailhead near the parking area at the end of Sea Cliff Avenue).
Corona Heights Park
Perched above the Castro and Corona Heights sits Buena Vista Park's southerly sister, Corona Heights Park. Originally known as Rock Hill, the spot was once a quarry and brick factory owned by the notorious Gray Brothers. Josephine Randall, the Recreation Superintendent of San Francisco, proposed that the City buy the 16 acres of Rock Hill for recreation, and it was purchased and named Corona Heights in 1941. In addition to killer panoramic views of the city, the park offers a little something for everyone.
Mission Creek Park
Across from the Caltrain station at 4th and King, the Mission Creek Park lines both sides of Mission Creek. The spot is the first of many parks and open spaces being developed in the Mission Bay neighborhood, and offers some nice green space in a hood otherwise dominated by by parking lots, construction sites, and UCSF. We're not the only ones who think so - the spot topped California Home + Design's list of 10 best San Francisco Parks in 2009.
Holly Park is one of the oldest parks in the city, built in the late 1800s as the neighborhood around Bernal Heights developed. After a recent renovation, the park now has lots of space for sports, kids, and dogs alike.
Perhaps most well-known for Cupid's Span, the giant bow-and-arrow sculpture, Rincon Park has some of the most coveted views in San Francisco. It's waterfront location makes it a favorite for people walking/jogging/biking the Embarcadero and for SOMA residents looking for a tiny slice of green space.
Golden Gate Heights Park
Located in that steep hilly crook between the Inner Sunset and Inner Parkside, Golden Gate Heights Park is perched atop one of the highest peaks in the city. Part landscaped park, part forested natural area, this spot features a little something for everyone - provided you can make it up the hill to get there.
Wedged between Mt. Davidson and Forest Hill, Edgehill Mountain Open Space is a protected mountain side that offers some killer views. Originally part of Adolph Sutro's San Miguel Ranch, the Edgehill Mountain land was sold following his death in 1898. After the land became one of the city's first subdivisions, known as Claremont Court, houses were built on the mountain's western and southern slopes. Soon after, winter rains caused mudslides several times in the past (in the '50s a house was taken out, and in 1997 mud crashed into some unfinished homes). In 1985, Edgehill Mountain Park was established when the city purchased one acre of the mountain's undeveloped western slope and designated the area an Open Space Park.
Hyde-Vallejo Mini Park
Located on the west side of Hyde and tucked in between two residential buildings, this spot is one of many mini-parks around Russian Hill. But at less than 30ft wide, it is basically the definition of mini.
Muriel Leff Mini Park
The Inner Richmond is full of amazing restaurants, bars, and shops, and the rent is still pretty reasonable, but it does suffer from a shortage of public green open space. That's what makes Muriel Leff Mini Park on 7th Ave so special - it's an unexpected mid-block oasis. Built in 1965, it's the first mini park in the City.
Dorothy Erskine Park
Located near the southern end of Glen Canyon Park in the Sunnyside neighborhood, Dorothy Erskine Park is a small hilltop outcrop. Named after Bay Area environmentalist Dorothy Erskine, founder of the Greenbelt Alliance and one of the founders of SPUR, the park’s name honors a woman who worked to support housing for the poor, promote urban and regional planning, preserve farmland, and create parks and open space. Today the park offers a quiet spot high above residential neighborhoods.
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Agua Vista Park
Nestled along Mission Bay, Agua Vista Park is a landscaped oasis along the waterfront. It offers some killer views of the ship repairs happening nearby, and a sunny spot to have a seat. Even though the construction in Mission Bay is new, the park has been around since the 1970s. Owned and managed by the Port, it's one of the few green spaces in the area.
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Sydney Walton Park
Conceived as part of the ten-acre Golden Gateway, Sydney G. Walton Square is like a little oasis in the Financial District. The park was designed by master landscape architect Peter Walker of Sasaki, Walker, and Associates in 1960.
Midtown Terrace Park
The residential enclave near Midtown Terrace Playground boasts some of the nicest houses in the city, with lots of single-family homes and children. Not surprisingly, the Midtown Terrace Playground and Sutro Recreation Center is a well-used and welcome spot tucked between Mt. Sutro and Twin Peaks.
Tank Hill Park
While most people — locals and visitors alike — choose Twin Peaks for a classic hilltop vista, less than a mile north is tiny Tank Hill with views that rival any in the City.
St. Mary's Square
Designed in 1957 over an existing historic park, St. Mary’s Square is a downtown rooftop park atop a parking garage near Chinatown. Perched up high on a steep hill, the park isn’t visible from most of the sidewalk that surrounds it, making it our new favorite hidden spot.
Allyne Park, right next to the Octagon House, can turn into one of Cow Hollow’s busiest spots. With lots of sun and a pretty garden, it’s easy to see why. A favorite of dog owners and parents with strollers, it offers a sweet spot of green in an otherwise residential and busy shopping area.
Ina Coolbrith Park
Perched atop Russian Hill on a street too steep for cars, Ina Coolbrith Park feels like a secret hideaway with twisting staircases and killer views. Dedicated back in 1911 (!) by supporters of the first California Poet Laureate Ina Coolbrith, the park offers a sweet spot to take a rest after climbing those monster hills.
Clay Street Mini Park
We love the city's mini parks, and the Clay Street Mini Park has the added bonus of the Presidio Branch Library on site. Rolling grassy lawns to lounge on while reading a book? We're sold.
John McLaren Park
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.