San Francisco Museums
While staying at Washington Square Inn in the heart of San Francisco, California you might want to take in one of the nation’s largest parks: The Golden Gate State Park. Sitting on 1,013 acres, Golden Gate Sate Park offers something of interest for just about everyone. Visit M.H. de Young Museum, Conservatory of Flowers, or the Strybing (Outdoor) Arboreteum, which has tons of beautiful plants from around the world. Possibly the best walk in an awesome park. Golden Gate Park is one of the best places to bike and rollerblade, withcars banned every Sunday from 5 am to 5 pm. Rent bikes or rollerblades and have a ball. Following are the highlights of many of the sights and experiences available to to visitors of Washington Square Inn and Golden Gate State Park.
During your stay at The Washington Square Inn, there are numerous famous museums and gardens in the San Francisco area for your enjoyment.
Conservatory of Flowers
Since 1879, locals and visitors have marveled at San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers, the oldest glass-and-wood Victorian greenhouse in the Western Hemisphere and home to more than 10,000 plants from around the globe, located within Golden Gate State Park.
Japanese Tea Garden
Many people’s favorite part of Golden Gate State Park, this was originally built as part of the sprawling Midwinter Fair. Begun by an Australian in 1894, this intricate and private (depending on the season) complex of paths, ponds and a teahouse features native Japanese and Chinese plants. Also hidden throughout its five acres are beautiful sculptures and bridges.
M.H. de Young Museum
Sixteen years after the Loma Prieta earthquake rocked the old museum and made it a seismic hazard zone, the new de Young reopened on October 15, 2005. In addition to the newly installed permanent collection of American, African, Oceanic, American Indian, New Guinea, Maori and Filipino art on the first and second floors, visitors can see treasures from Egypt’s Golden Age in special exhibition galleries. Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and until 8:45 p.m. Friday. Admission is $6-$10, free for children younger than 13 and for all on the first Tuesday of the month. Muni riders with Fast Pass or transfer receive a $2 discount. The museum courtyard, cafe, store, sculpture garden and tower located in Golden Gate State Park can be entered without admission fee. 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, (415) 863-3330. (Web site) (-SF Chronicle)
Reviews, photos, video and more: SF Gate’s special de Young page.
The de Young museum’s Web site has fairly thorough directions to the park. Note that John F. Kennedy Drive is closed to automobile traffic Sundays from Transverse Drive to McLaren Lodge.
San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum
Begun in 1937 with WPA funds and charitable donations, this 70-acre horticultural extravaganza within Golden Gate State Park entices the senses with more than 6,000 plant species. The garden of fragrance — with signs in Braille — brings flowers alive with scent alone. The main entrance is on Ninth Avenue at Lincoln Way. Also accessible from the Japanese Tea Garden through the Friend’s Gate. Free guided walks are given daily at 1:30 pm. The Gardens are open weekdays, 8 am-4:30 pm and weekends and holidays, 10 am-5 pm. Free.
This beautiful lake, the largest in the park, is popular with fly fishers and amateur boaters. It also serves as the park’s principal reservoir. Paddleboats and rowboats can be rented at the northwestern side of the lake. (Call (415) 752-0347)
California Academy of Sciences
The academy expanded so much in its 150 years that it outgrew its site in the park, , replacing it with a dazzling structure designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano. The redesign includes a new Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium and modern exhibition spaces. construction for the new $370 million museum has now been completed! Visit the California Academy of Sciences – the only place on the planet with an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum, and a 4-story rainforest all under one roof.