Golden Gate Park’s Gems on a Bike
Golden Gate Park’s Gems on a Bike, Via ‘The Wiggle’
From Market St. to Ocean Beach, the San Francisco ‘Wiggle’ is a wonderful bike route that avoids all the hills and passes through some of the city’s most beautiful spots. I personally love to take this route on Sundays because that’s when Golden Gate Park closes some of its roads to cars and lets bicycles and pedestrians get free rein. Sunday is also the day that delightful characters hold a roller disco dance party, there’s also a Lindy in the Park all-day swing dance session, and often times Park Chalet Beer Garden has live music outdoors.
If you don’t feel like busting your hump, have no fear, this bike route ain’t the Tour de France, it’s a chill, flat, glide through the city, avoiding all the hills, and if you don’t have a bike don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to get your hands one (read bellow)!
If you are new to biking or to the city, a great resource for ALL THINGS cycling is the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, they have info on how to park and lock up your bike, bicycle traffic laws & safety, they even have an exhaustive paper and digital riding map of the entire city, SFBC just happens to be located on Market St. right near the start of The Wiggle too!
If you don’t have a bike or a friend to borrow one from, you can easily rent one for the day at City Ride in Hayes Valley, (Hayes Valley Shop 370B Linden St. San Francisco (415) 500-2050) which is also real close to the start of our hidden gems starting point, and they’re super nice people who will rent you a sweet bike for the day, for like $25 (you get 20% discount by booking online by the way).
Wet your whistle before launching off
Duboce Park Cafe has good food and beverages as well as outdoor seating with a view of all the dogs running around Duboce Park, its a nice spot to get fueled up before you hop on the tour. You can spy ‘The Wiggle’ bike path by the bright Green Bikes Painted on the Street:
The general path from the wiggle to the ocean
Pandhandle Your Way to Golden Gate Park
After you’ve wound your way through the Lower Haight following the green bike lane indicators on the road, you’ll find yourself in the SF Panhandle. It’s a strip of pines, cypress, and redwood trees that line a bike path through the ‘handle’ of Golden Gate Park. At the end of the panhandle you’ll find your way into Golden Gate Park.
The Hippie hill area isn’t just for 420, there’s often something happening there depending on the time of year. This past weekend the Aids Memorial Quilt is there for Pride Month. And yes, there is almost always a drum circle on the hill. If you’re riding with kids, there is also a massive, new playground just up the path from Hippie Hill, and brand new tennis courts too.
Flowers Flowers & More Flowers!
Ahhh, it’s hard to miss, beds and beds of flowers. The Conservatory of Flowers opened to the public in 1879, and if you’re into plants (orchids especially) check out inside as well, they’ve got veritable rainforest inside. AND, it’s now FREE to enter for locals! They have seasonal programing there and seasonal flowerbeds. This is also just a great place to sunbathe or picnic on the grass.
Roller Disco Party Sundays
It’s exactly what it sounds like, delightful SFers rollerskating and rollerblading their little hearts out to funky beats. Check out their website for their schedules, but Sundays are almost always a good time to check it out.
The New Skating Mural just finished on 6th and JFK!
Check out the new roller rink mural by Bay Area artist and longtime Golden Gate Park skater Aimee Bruckner, the design honors San Francisco, Golden Gate Park, and the park’s roller skating history with a counterculture-themed color scheme, a reference to the Golden Gate Bridge and a roller skate in the center circle.”
Get your Swing Dance On Sundays!
This is a big, open, free, swing dance party that happens every Sunday. For more info check out lindyinthepark.com. Don’t be shy, the water’s just fine. Every level of dancer will be there, and you can take turns dancing with everyone.
Check out this dope view for Free at De Young
Ya that’s right, a little known gem in GG Park is the Hamon Observation Tower located at the tipy top of the De Young Museum. You don’t have to buy a ticket to check out the view, just get in the elevator and shoot up into the sky. The 360 view of West San Francisco is splendid, you can see all the way to the Pacific on a clear day.
Golden Gate Bandshell Concerts
Cruise Stow Lake
Whether you want to paddle boat around, row your lover past the waterfall, or just get a cold beer by the water, this is cool spot to ride past.
Watch the horses, or ride ’em.
At the Bercut Equitation Field there are usually horseback riding lessons happening, will a multitude of horseys to say to. You can also book trail rides on horseback through Golden Gate Park, which is a new and cool way to experience the park.
Checkout the bison
The bison paddock is located next to Spreckels Lake, and just down from the big dog park (both smell like hell btw). Since the 1890s, the bison have become a treasured tradition in GG park, serving as a remembrance of the illustrious Wild West. These original GG park bison hailed from parts of Wyoming and Kansas, and later came calves from Yellowstone National Park.
Ocean Beach & Sutro Baths
The park ends at the sea. Ocean Beach is a HUGE beach with all kinds of activities, if you’re into volleyball there are usually tons of games on the weekends, and lots of surfing. There are even bonfires at night. Travel a bit uphill toward the North and you’ll find the historic Sutro Baths, and more beautiful views. That hill is a bear on a bike though.