Views and Victorians: Things to Do in Alamo Square Park

Alamo Square Park has officially reopened to the public after being shut down for over a year. Following a $5.3 million renovation, and a few delays, the windiest park in the City has finally made its comeback.

The improved 12.7 acre park is now more ecologically conscious, armed with a superior irrigation system that will save 2.5 million gallons of water annually; this will make Alamo Square Park one of the most water-efficient spaces in the City, a testament to San Francisco’s commitment to taking strong action on climate change.

The home of the famous Painted Ladies remains a haven for dogs and their owners. Other new features in the park include pave pathways, a rain garden, native vegetation, and all-gender handicap-accessible bathrooms.

Alamo Square Park is sure to be a top-pick for sunny summer hangouts. With sweeping views, a lush landscape, and proximity to a collection of great restaurants and shops on Divisadero, this perched square of land has every quality to be as celebrated as Dolores Park. And a Bi-Rite Creamery, too.

⬇️ Scroll down for your #SFGuide to the new-and-improved Alamo Square Park ⬇️

The western side of the park, where dogs are allow to go off-leash. Photo: Justin Wong, 49 Miles.
The western side of the park, where dogs are allow to go off-leash. Photo: Justin Wong,

Let the Dogs Out

If you’re a dog owner, bring your pup to Alamo Square Park for an outing that will be as fun for you and as it is for you furry friend. At the park, you can unwind and unleash your dog: dogs are allowed off-leash in the designated dog play area on the western side of the park. You’ll see packs of dogs and their loved-ones frolicking around in this canine social hub. There are dispensers for dog waste bags too, so make sure to clean up.

Photo: Justin Wong, 49 Miles.
Photo: Justin Wong,

Tour de Architecture

In 1984, The Board of Supervisors designated Alamo Square as a historic district on account of its storied past and distinct 19th century architecture. Indeed, the homes lining the perimeter of the park are stand-out monuments — a critical part of what makes Alamo Square Park so uniquely San Franciscan.

Walk the border of the park to study the architectural styles of Victorian, Edwardian, and Queen Anne homes. Some key residences to check out (that aren’t the Painted Ladies) are the William Westerfeld House, the Archbishop’s Mansion, and the colorful mansions lining Scott Street. 

Photo: Justin Wong, 49 Miles.
Photo: Justin Wong,

Picnic Party

Alamo Square’s “Postcard Row” is instantly recognizable thanks to Full House, the show that shot this historic park to fame. (Note: the Full House house is not located in Alamo Square.) Host a celebratory summer picnic at Alamo Square à la the Full House opening credits.

Head to the open, grassy knoll at the south-eastern quadrant of the park that faces eastward toward the Painted Ladies, which has a partial view of the skyline with the top of the Salesforce Tower hovering above. Bring a blanket to lay on, a picnic basket full of treats from Bi-Rite (which is only a couple blocks west of the park), and a few friends. If you can get John Stamos to join, even better. 

Stop and Smell the Flowers

The new park is ripe with flowers, plants, water-efficient grass, and over $100,000 worth of new trees. Stop by and smell the flowers to enjoy the rain garden, native vegetation, and flower beds. Even though the beloved shoe garden is gone, there is still plenty of floral beauty to occupy your eyes.

Get Fit

Ditch the gym and head to Alamo Square Park to get your blood flowing. There are several creative ways to exercise in the park, and the scenery will be substantially more inspiring than your gym’s.

The newly paved pathways are perfect for taking an idyllic walk or going on a jogging, while the hills and stairs can provide for more intense cardio workouts. Since there is so much open field space, you can bring a yoga mat to do stretches and floor exercises at your own whim. The tennis courts are still in the works and are being used a nurseries for flowers. It is slated to reopen in a few months. Once the court reopens, make sure to grab some equipment and a pal to play a match. Additionally, make sure to be on the lookout for any yoga, Zumba, or other workout classes that will be hosted in the park!

Photo: Justin Wong, 49 Miles.
Photo: Justin Wong,
Photo: Justin Wong, 49 Miles.
Photo: Justin Wong,

Come Out and Play

Alamo Square Park is a great place to bring children. The open fields are excellent spaces to let kids run wild and expend their energy, as is the playground on the grounds. The two-tier play structure has six swings, three slides and a pair of climbing structures. Divided into two levels, the upper level is for older kids ages 5-12, while the lower level is for the younger ones ages 2-5.

The City’s Ready for a Close-Up

Between the views of the San Francisco skyline, the myriad historic mansions, and the lush landscapes of the park itself, Alamo Square Park is supremely photogenic and a great place to practice your photography skills. This is a great place to take primo shots with a professional camera or, since the park really is that photogenic, you can even get mesmerizing shots on your smartphone. Whether you want to snap refined aerial shots, architectural photos, or some fun pictures of you and your friends for Instagram, this park is definitely one of the best spots in The City for a photoshoot.

Photo: Justin Wong,
Photo: Justin Wong,

Explore the Divisadero Corridor

If spending a day at the park leaves you hungry or thirsty, you’re in luck: the park’s central location makes it easy to stroll over to restaurants, bars, and shops. Head over a couple blocks westward to Divisadero Street for a sandwich at Souvla, a drink at Madrone Art Bar, and some ice cream at the Bi-Rite creamery.

Photo: Justin Wong, 49 Miles.
Photo: Justin Wong,

Relax and Enjoy the View

With all the park has to offer, there really is no need to overthink the number of ways to enjoy yourself in Alamo. Find a spot on a bench or grass with a good view, sit back, and relax: this is a surefire way to get the most out of the beautiful Alamo Square Park. Indeed, one of the best things to do here is absolutely nothing but enjoy the view. 

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