When I first saw the San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, it seems as if it is not only the home of recreation, fine arts, science, and culture; but is also where tourists as humans, flora, fauna, and climate dwell in harmony. Yes, this was something to be felt, not something to be described in words! Such is the charm of this rectangular park that is a small hamlet in itself.
Extending inwards from the Pacific, the Golden Gate Park is the nucleus of several gardens as well as historical attractions all of which are explored by driving or walking on the wooded or paved roads. Among the main attractions are the two premiere museums, Japanese Tea Garden, outdoor botanical garden, buffalo herd, and the Conservatory of Flowers.
Ensuring that you do not miss spotting any of the highlights, I recommend starting your journey by first knowing about the park at the Park Headquarters at the Stanyan and Fell streets where park maps are offered for $3. As I have already said, there two methods to discover this green yard, either drive or walk. If you wish to drive, this is possible through the 49-Mile Drive. However, I would suggest for the guided walking tours so that you can come to know about the exact history of the park. But, I will share my journey that was via driving the mentioned road.
From the Great Highway, you start your drive to the Golden Gate Park and first spot the Beach Chalet looking over the Ocean Beach. Remember, this is where you will also end up your drive tour. So, keep in mind that this is an ideal place to get fresh via its delicious snacks as well as good beach vistas upstairs. Okay, going right will bring you on the John F. Kennedy Drive where you will see the most famous attraction named Queen Wilhelmina’s Windmill. Come here in spring where the bottom blooming tulips are just very reviving! Moving ahead in east, the Buffalo Paddock welcomes you where the flock of American bison can be seen. Also, explore the Spreckels Lake where boating is just fun on weekends!
Drive in east across the Park Presidio Drive and you will reach the popular Conservatory of Flowers glimmering in real white. Aiming to conserve a water lily garden, tropical landscape, and a moving display of potted plants; this conservatory is well worth a visit even for a reasonable fee. Just stroll further from here to arrive at the AIDS Memorial Grove that is a silent zone devoted to the AIDS patients.
Going south of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive followed by a right turn will take you on the parking site. Park your car and go ahead to visit the two most admired museums. The California Academy of Science after much refurbishment since 2009 offers its visitors a chance to marvel at a white alligator, planetarium, aquarium, and some probing multimedia displays. Do spot for a green roof of native plants as well as an observation deck. Other museum is an art gallery called the DeYoung Museum having a reasonable entrance fee.
Reflecting a rustic style, the Japanese Tea Garden is where you can sip some good tea or can walk on some of its peaceful tracks with some entrance fee. After this, do explore the San Francisco Botanical Garden – the majestic dwelling of thousands of plants for a botany aficionado. Join a guided walk tour here, which happens daily. And yes, no admission charges are taken here.
Move in west and you will be able to spot the Stow Lake featuring a loop drive. This is the park’s largest lake and is popular for paddle boating. Also, visit the Shakespeare Garden that is the hub of the writer’s works and characters. Now, move ahead in west to come back on the Great Highway for enjoying a pleasing sunset and a few refreshments.
Best time to visit
If you wish to walk, Sunday is the best; however, driving is ideal on the weekdays.