One of the most visited parks in the United States, Golden Gate Park attracts roughly 24 million visitors every year. At 1,017 acres, it is slightly larger than Central Park in New York City but takes up a large percentage of the land in the city of San Francisco, which less than 50 square miles. Besides the natural elements of the area, there are tons of great attractions to explore from museums to restaurants.
Golden Gate Park is located in the Northwestern part of the city, running from the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood to Ocean Beach and the Pacific Ocean. If you are looking for things to do in Golden Gate Park, you will have a lot to choose from. The De Young Museum was a staple in the park since it opened in 1921. After a long history of revolving paintings, European collections, Asian collections and San Francisco Art History, the museum was completely renovated in 2001 and reopened in 2005 with a brand new design. Another great attraction in the park is the California Academy of Sciences. The fun, hands-on museum is a great way to learn about the sciences in a fun way. Even better, head to the museum for their NightLife events, where you can explore the museum, have some drinks and dance the night away to a live DJ.
If you love flowers, Golden Gate has two great attractions that you will want to check out. The Japanese Tea Garden, located next to the de Young Museum, has the honor of being the oldest public Japanese garden in the nation. The garden features a classical Zen Garden, stone pathways, dwarf trees, bamboo, a small bridge and a special gift from the Japanese Government, The Lantern of Peace, which is a 9,000 pound stone lantern. The Conservatory of Flowers is another great place to visit. The oldest building in Golden Gate Park, it features 1,700 species of aquatic, tropical and rare plants.
One of the newest features of the park, the SkyStar Observation Wheel opened in 2020. The massive Ferris Wheel located next to the Academy of Sciences features 36 large gondolas, more than 1 million LED lights and reaches 15 stories above the park at the top. Other great attractions in Golden Gate Park include several windmills, the Beach Chalet, a Carousel, Hippie Hill and the Bison Paddock.