Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

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After having lunch in the Haight district, it wasn’t far to drive over to Golden Gate Park, another attraction on my list of must-see stops.

Golden Gate Park is often compared to New York’s Central Park–they’re both large stretches of land, thoughtfully preserved in the middle of dense development.  But try to tell a San Franciscan that NYC’s park is better than theirs, and you probably won’t make a new friend.

GGP is located on San Francisco’s northwestern side, just south of the Golden Gate Bridge.  It’s mostly surrounded by residential neighborhoods, which must be great for the people living nearby.  There are roads that allow you to loop through the park by car, or you can bike, blade, or jog through.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t visiting on the most beautiful of days.  The park is, indeed, beautiful, but under a grey sky, everything looked a little flat.  So, I didn’t stay long, but I was determined to see one of the park’s most out-of-place landmarks.

Yup.  That’s a Dutch windmill, located at the northwestern corner of the park, just a few hundred feet from the Pacific Ocean.  As you can see, the windmill is surrounded by tulips in winter, part of a garden donated by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.

Another windmill is located in the southwest corner, however it is in the process of being restored, and as of my visit in 2007, only about half of the stone base was standing.

After their construction in 1903, the windmills served an important purpose: pumping water through the park’s system of creeks, streams, and ponds.  Since the 1950’s, the park’s water has come from the city’s sewage treatment plant.

As I drove around, I also passed part of the park’s famous Japanese Tea Garden.  But as you can see, it was so gloomy, I decided not to explore any further.

I admit, this is in no way a thorough guide to Golden Gate Park.  You should definitely check out Wikipedia orSFGate.com if you want to plan a visit.

Note: This trip was first published in 2007.

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