PARKS AND RECREATION

July 14, 2015

IMG_3224

I’m typing this from bed on a foggy, gloomy July day (hello summer!) and even my hot cup of coffee can’t completely chase the chill away. SF is infamous for her tempestuous weather but that doesn’t keep the adventurous traveler’s away (as my airbnb calendar daily reminds me) so why should San Franciscans let that keep us indoors? The days are long and the months seem even longer (how are there possibly still three weeks of July left?) so let’s grab some layers and chase after nature’s heart amidst an urban landscape. Golden Gate Park, Alamo Square, Dolores Park, Twin Peaks — these spaces have seen my face so many times and need no introduction. Today I’m exploring new sites, surprises and secrets…

1U6A3267

GRAND VIEW PARK

Ever since discovering Grand View it’s been one of my favorite parks in the city. This spot will ask the most of you — the only way to reach it is to climb one of several long, steep set of stairs — but your efforts will well be rewarded with panoramic views from Pacific Beach to the the bay to Sutro Forest. Fun fact — this is one (if not the last) spot within the city that still has SF’s original topography — before this peninsula was covered in houses and its parks were constructed with earth and plants from elsewhere. The soft sand and scrubby plants here are older than anything else left in San Francisco and despite the views connecting me to the city I do feel like I’m somewhere very different when walking these paths.

1U6A32571U6A32651U6A3248

FIND: The lesser known Hidden Garden mosaic steps off Kirkham Street

1U6A3194

KITE HILL

For my first few years living in the Haight I confused Kite Hill with Tank Hill — they’re both small, open hilltops in the middle of dense neighborhoods and they both have entrances that are hard to stumble upon even when looking. From the East side off Grand View Terrace or 19th St you’ve got half of the city spread out before you with views from Bernal Heights to Downtown; the West side where I’m walking above has a very different vibe. Instead of feeling set back observing at a stunning vista you’re right in the heart of the neighborhood.

TIP: with little shade this is a good spot to get some vitamin D.

sfparks

BILLY GOAT HILL

This is the steep little hillside park you’ve seen on instagram with a certain tree swing and an amazing SF backdrop. Unfortunately, when I was last there the swing had been cut down by someone who hates joy, but according to recent yelp reviews it might be back up. Regardless, this is a nice spot to retreat to on either cool or warm days to sit in the shade or sun and soak in the views with a bottle of bubbly.

1U6A3092sfparks1

Dress: Free People (similar here, here, here/worn here)/Jeans: Madewell (worn here)/Boots: Thrifted (worn here)

My go to SF summer uniform: sun dress over sweater tights/jeans with a scarf in my bag. In case it’s warm there’s a thousand places in SF where you can duck in and remove said jeans to also stuff in your bag, but if the wind changes you’ll need every inch of that extra fabric.

IMG_3223

CORONA HEIGHTS PARK

I’m always trying to time my visit to Corona Heights just right — to get there just as the fog is beginning to build up behind Twin Peaks in the late afternoon. Someday I want to make a time lapse as the fog breaks and pours down into Eureka Valley and Noe Valley — the sight is breathtaking. On this day Karl beat me to the spot and was already streaming past me, but even so the rocky spot has killer views of downtown and the Eastern half of SF.

sfparks2IMG_3234

BONUS: THE CURVIEST STREET IN SAN FRANCISCO

1U6A3002Despite popular opinion, Lombard is not the ‘crookedest’ street in San Francisco, although it may be the more scenic (I’ll let you be the judge). Vermont St between 20th and 22nd had seven sharp turns on a steeper grade of hill than Lombard, winning it the title of most crooked street of them all. That being said, Vermont is quiet, shady, residential and entirely less exciting than it’s Russian Hill competitor, however, this does happen here.

1U6A2992

Have you explored any new nooks of your hometown recently? Do you have a recommendation for an off the beaten path park I should explore next? Leave me a note in the comments or shoot me an email at threadandbones @ gmail. Until next time I’ll be on instagram if you’d like to stay in touch <3

Thank you for reading!

10 Comments
  1. Wow, Vermont street should definitely take the “crookedest” title! And it does look a bit chilly out there– I hated it when June Gloom was upon us in Pasadena, but now (despite the fact that I’m still overseas) it’s full on summer heat. Too much, if you ask me. ;) Stay warm and continue exploring SF’s nooks and crannies! That is, until we meet up in desert-like SoCal. :)

    • jm

      So yesterday – cold and dark; today – super warm and bright. You just never know in this town! I think I’m finally ready for some reliable good old SoCal heat… hopefully I won’t be eating those words next week! :-*

  2. I’ve recently discovered the complutense universtity pool, because with this heatwave and not AC at home, one needs to find new spots.
    btw loving those spots, they are not the regular image one has of San Francisco!

  3. Kristen

    Gorgeous views! It’s the darn summer wind! Yesterday my hair looked like I spent hours head banging to Metallica. I need more sweater tights. :)

    • jm

      Uh, are you really complaining because head-banging hair is a really hot look for you! ;-)

  4. So I definitely need to revisit San Francisco now…

    The first time my husband and I came to Upstate New York to scope out our future home, we camped out at Clarence Fahnestock State Park. It’s a lovely, quiet, wooded area, with great big stones jutting out of the earth. It’s well worth a visit, even if you’re not a camping person. And shockingly close to the city , too :)

    • jm

      Oooh I just searched for images of Clarence Fahnestock and it looks unreal. We don’t have parks quite like that on the west coast — looks like the setting of Lord of the Rings or something equally fantastical to me! Exploring the NorthEast more has been on my list for a while and this park is definitely getting added to the itinerary. Thanks for the tip! XO

  5. you popping the bubbly against that backdrop might be the most iconic photo of all-time! at least, when we leave SF, that’s how I’ll remember it ;) so many secret spots in this post! that stinking tree swing. its so elusive! how has no one caught this mad(wo)man who keeps stealing joy?.

    • jm

      Well someone may have caught her/him because recent yelp post mention the swing. They might be posting after their visit since the swing’s been taken down, but regardless I think it’s worth you and I investigating with another bottle of bubbly (or two) ;)

Leave a Reply to Barbara Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *