Yerba Buena Gardens

#4 in Best Things To Do in San Francisco
Yerba Buena Gardens picture
APlights/Getty Images

Key Info

750 Howard St

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Parks and Gardens, Free Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
4.5scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

After a day of hasty sightseeing, the Yerba Buena Gardens provide travelers with an opportunity to wind down and enjoy San Francisco's weather and unique culture. The gardens proper include 5 acres of landscaped lawns complete with flowers, trees, water and art. The Cho-En Butterfly Garden attracts native San Francisco butterflies with plants (also native) that encourage butterfly growth from eggs to adults. Meanwhile, the Reflection Garden serves as a tribute to the Ohlone Indians as well as a performance area for various oral traditions. The Upper Terrace Garden and the Sister City Gardens, which include plants from San Francisco's 18 Sister Cities from around the world, are where visitors will find the area's cafes and most of its seating. Additionally, the East Garden houses a variety of sculptures and water features. Lastly, three of the Yerba Buena Gardens' lawns boast designs meant to appeal specifically to children.

What's more, attractions like the Children's Creativity Museum and the Yerba Buena Ice Skating + Bowling Center flank the Yerba Buena Gardens, so travelers could feasibly spend an entire day exploring this area of San Francisco. Due to the number of restaurants that also surround the gardens, many past travelers recommend stopping by the Yerba Buena Gardens after grabbing lunch nearby. Recent visitors recommend checking out the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial as well.

Plus, the attraction's location in the SoMa neighborhood makes it easy to reach from many tourist hot spots. The Powell Street Station of the BART public transit system will put travelers a short walk from the center of the park. The attraction is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Be sure to check the Yerba Buena Gardens website before your visit for information on public performances and other events.

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Type
Time to Spend
#1 Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge's vaulting, orange arches amidst the rocky seascape of the San Francisco Bay have made it one of the West Coast's most enduring symbols and the city's most popular tourist attraction. The bridge's name, "Golden Gate," actually refers to the body of water it spans (the Golden Gate Strait that connects the Pacific Ocean with the San Francisco Bay), and was built to make travel between San Francisco and Marin County an easier feat. 

There are plenty of great spots to capture a snap of the majestic bridge. But if you want a truly postcard-worthy shot, head to the Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point, situated high on a hill overlooking San Francisco. If you have extra time, make sure to explore the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The actual span of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area encompasses multiple places in San Mateo (south of San Francisco), San Francisco and Marin Counties (Alcatraz and Muir Woods included), but notable parts of this recreation area can be found just a stroll away from the Golden Gate. From the bridge, travelers will find some scenic, bayside trails, some of which lead to secluded beaches, including Kirby Cove and Black Sands Beach. If you really want a trek, journey to the Point Bonita Lighthouse for sweeping views of the bay, found at the very tip of the Golden Gate Strait.

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