Dolores Park

Mission Dolores Park commonly known as Dolores Park, is a San Francisco city park located between 18th and 20th and Dolores and Church Streets. This park is special as it serves as a nexus between two major neighborhoods in San Francisco; The Mission and Castro districts. This beautiful landscape is therefore shared by many in the LGBT, straight, and artisan communities as Castro, the gayest neighborhood in San Francisco, and the Mission, home to the largest Latino population in San Francisco and enjoyed by artists of all kinds, converge harmoniously at this multi-tiered and majestically situated urban paradise.

This park is multi-tiered as the area closest to 18th Street is lined with tennis and basketball courts and a huge field just south of these, where many residents convene for a little American football, or soccer as they call it. Continuing south, you will encounter a hill, over which there is another huge field for lounging or walking dogs. Beyond this, you will encounter a children’s playground and another hill, which leads up to a grassy terrace. This area is locally known as the beach. Go to the Beach on a sunny day and the origin of its name will be obvious; pure nudity and debauchery. Its amazing that within just 50 meters of each other are gay men and children both frolicking in their own way. But families do not fear, as the beach is at the top of the hill and not visible from the base.

As mentioned before, the Mission is home to the largest Latino community in San Francisco, and coupled with the gay community in close proximity, you can imagine that this park is culturally enriching. On top of this are the beautiful views, at the south end of the park, toward 20th Street; the SF downtown area is clearly visible as well as the East Bay. On a nice sunny day, expect local vendors to be going around offering cheap beverages, or just bring your own. This is a popular site for birthdays and picnics and alcohol consumption here is very common. You will also encounter vendors selling ice cream and other treats, but be warned of vendors selling brownies and cookies; you never know what the main ingredient may be.

This park is truly a hidden treasure in San Francisco and the locals come out in droves on a nice sunny day. It is best that you visit during the warmest months; generally May through November. Also, do not forget to enjoy some of the best ice cream in the city. You will find a creamery at 18th and Dolores, called Bi-Rite.

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