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Free Hidden Gems in San Francisco

Jeff Howard August 25, 2021

San Francisco is known for having some of the most breathtaking and recognizable landmarks globally. But The City’s iconic neighborhoods are more than just The Golden Gate Bridge and Coit Tower. Join us as we explore ten gorgeous hidden gems in San Francisco that are available at no cost!

Fay Park


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While nearby Lombard Street attracts much of the tourist attention, the quaint gardens of Fay Park present a much better spot to relax undisturbed. Located just blocks from the 1000 Chestnut apartments in Russian Hill and 2140 Taylor apartments in North Beach, this wonderfully landscaped space offers a piece of tranquility in the heart of a historic neighborhood. Search the grounds of the park, and you may come across the Fay Park Sundial, which reads: “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.”

Bison Paddock

Golden Gate Park’s vast open spaces and manicured gardens attract thousands of visitors daily, but not everyone knows about the American bison that have called the park home since 1890. Near Spreckels Lake and the new Golden Gate Park Dog Training Area off JFK Drive, the Bison Paddock is quite a spectacle to behold in a place like San Francisco. Although they spend most of their time grazing, the massive mammals can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour!

Ina Coolbrith Park


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San Francisco is a city of great views, and Ina Coolbrith Park in North Beach has some of the best sights without the crowds. Positioned just up Taylor Street a few blocks from the 2140 Taylor apartments, this steep and pint-sized park showcases an unbelievable award at the top. Featuring a zig-zagging path, the views look out across Chinatown, Financial District, Bay Bridge, Coit Tower, and the Transamerica Pyramid. As you reach the “Poet’s Corner,” glimpses of Alcatraz and Angel Island appear, providing a surreal panoramic look at San Francisco.

Walter Haas Playground


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Although Twin Peaks and Bernal Heights Park boast some of the most popular skyline views nearby, Walter Haas Playground quietly displays a unique look directly at the Bay Bridge converging with The City. Situated just above the equally scenic Billy Goat Hill, this greenspace includes connecting trails, a dog park, basketball court, playground, and plenty of space to spread out. You won’t find this wonderful park on many San Francisco travel guides, but you will find plenty of small groups enjoying a lovely afternoon.

Black Point


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Fort Mason, next door to the Marina Cove apartments, is undoubtedly one of the best places to catch up with friends and enjoy Golden Gate views in San Francisco’s attractive Marina District. While The Great Meadow and Center for Arts & Culture are consistently bustling with activity, there is more to see in the area! Found in the northeast corner of Fort Mason near Aquatic Park Pier, Black Point has reopened its historic gardens that connect to Aquatic Park. Here, you can take a look at the beautiful flowers and expansive Alcatraz & Ghiradelli Square views newly available to the public!

Grandview Park


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The Sunset District’s colorful 16th Avenue Tiled Steps might attract much of the attention in the neighborhood, but the true crown jewel of the Inner Sunset is found atop the stairs at Grandview Park. This stunning hilltop gem’s 360-degree views include the Pacific Ocean, Golden Gate Park, city skyline, and more! While the steep trek up the stairs may cause you to break a sweat, the short hike is more than worth the effort. The park is accessible from 14th or 15th Avenue at Moraga St.

Fort Scott Field


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Perfect for a game of baseball, softball, kickball, or soccer, Fort Scott Field brings Golden Gate views to an athletic setting. Close to the bridge’s entrance and Golden Gate Overlook, tourists often miss this delightful recreational field attempting to impress their Instagram followers. Instead, the community field is often utilized by locals looking for a fun day playing sports with friends and family.

Lyon Street Steps

One of the more well-known locations on our list, The Lyon Street Steps, still doesn’t quite receive the attention they deserve. Not a far walk from the 2000 Broadway apartments where Pac-Heights ends, and The Presidio begins, this 288-step staircase presents a view for the ages. Perfectly maintained with gorgeous flowers and foliage, The Lyon Street Steps almost feels more like a park than just a staircase. With tremendous views of The Palace of Fine Arts and blue bay waters below, you can also visit one of San Francisco’s iconic heart monuments here.

Pier 7


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Almost every San Francisco local has seen the photos, but do you know where to go to get this iconic glimpse of San Francisco? Pier 7 has become a tremendous spot for professional and amateur photographers to showcase their talents with the perfectly synchronized benches and light posts directly facing The Transamerica Pyramid. If you’re truly looking to impress your followers on social media, head to this unique spot during golden hour on a clear evening. You will not regret it! Residents of the 350 Union apartments can quickly access the pier by taking the Filbert Steps towards Levi’s Plaza.

Ruth Asawa’s San Francisco Fountain


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Public art has always been a large part of San Francisco’s past and present, but some of The City’s greatest works are hidden in plain sight. Although countless customers visit Apple Union Square next door, this peaceful plaza open 24/7 with public wifi, seating, and artwork is often missed. Ruth Asawa’s San Francisco Fountain depicts SF through a series of intricate sculptures filled with history and stories of how this great city came to be. Just a few blocks from our brand-new apartments at Trinity Place, residents should certainly visit this free space as they enjoy the many other fun activities in Union Square.

While these ten hidden gems in San Francisco are sure to give you a great time at no cost, The City By The Bay is filled with many more. Comment and share on social media with your favorite spot in SF we may have missed! #LoveWhereYouLive❤️

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