Special Things to Do and See in Golden Gate Park
Sports & Recreation
Nate Thurmond Basketball Courts – The recently resurfaced courts were dedicated to legendary Warriors player Nate Thurmond.
Horseshoe Pits - Hidden away in the secluded northeast section of Golden Gate Park, the horseshoe court dates back to the 1920s, with hand-hewed rock, a raised arena, and concrete relief sculptures added in a 1934 project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
Golden Gate Park Tennis Center - Construction of the new Golden Gate Park Tennis Center is underway. The proposed project scope includes the complete renovation of the Golden Gate Park Tennis Center including: the installation of 17 new full-size tennis courts, including a sunken feature court with built-in seating for 200; one pickleball court; a new 7,800 sq ft clubhouse with a players’ lounge, recreation room, locker rooms, kitchen and dedicated space for the Tennis & Learning Center
Kezar Pavilion – Adjacent to Kezar Statdium, Kezar Pavilion is the city’s home for major events such as the Pro-Am Summer Basketball League, Roller Derby, and features High School/Basketball games. Boxer Stadium is used for premier adult soccer and rugby matches
Kezar Stadium - The original, much larger stadium at this location was designed in Roman style by architect Willis Polk and opened in 1925. Eventually proving an unwieldy traffic and parking burden for the neighborhood, it was torn down in 1989 and replaced with the current stadium, known as "Little Kezar". Available to rent for athletic events
Kezar Triangle - Is a 2.8 acre multipurpose grass meadow with dirt paths located between Kezar Drive, Arguello Boulevard and Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park. It is situated west of the Kezar Stadium and has a discus cage for track and field events
Polo Fields - The Polo Fields make up the city’s largest athletic field complex consisting of seven full-sized ground sports fields that can be used for soccer, rugby and lacrosse. Surrounding the athletic fields is the the Polo Field Cycling Track, which was built in 1906 and was one of the most important racing venues in California in the first half of the 20th century.
Anglers Lodge & Fly-Casting Pools - Tucked away in the park’s western end, just across from the Bison Paddock, are three serene pools and a rustic mountain-style lodge, home to the Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club. Generations of San Franciscans have learned to fly-fish here, and people come from around the world to participate in tournaments and other events.
Spreckels Lake - From early March through late October, Spreckels Lake is the place to catch model yachts — both sail and power boats — in action. Home to the San Francisco Model Yacht Club, Spreckels is a manmade lake, built in 1903 and designed specifically for model yachting.
San Francisco Model Yacht Club - The club is devoted to the building and sailing of model yachts, both power and sail. Whether you are a builder, sailor, or just curious about this interesting and beautiful hobby, all are welcome!
Petanque Court - Petanque is a French game similar to lawn bowling or bocce ball. The courts have a small, active community, the SF Pentanque club.
Bercut Equitation & Dressage Ring – Golden Gate Park Stables once offered private and group lessons in jumping and riding, as well as the exciting daily guide rides that used to tackle 12 miles of trails. The Bercut Equitation Field (located on Chain of Lakes Drive E, near JFK) served as the temporary space for fifteen horses and the company’s professional wranglers.
Golden Gate Park Golf Course - The official Golden Gate Park map and guide refers to this 9-hole course as "short but tricky". Dedicated in 1951, the course features a restaurant and is open every day.
Archery Range - A flat field with a row of stuffed bales against a bushy incline. Use of this field is free, but you need to bring your own equipment, including targets. Just don't play in the bushes behind the bales.
Soccer Fields – The Beach Chalet Athletic Fields are great neighborhood fields to play at.
Big Rec - Two back-to-back baseball diamonds on an incredibly large stretch of lawn. This patch of green stands out clearly when looking down at the park from the vantage point of Grand View Park in Golden Gate Heights. Two indoor handball courts are situated just north of the Big Rec Fields, off of Middle Drive East. On the east side of the handball courts, a path leads up toward the DeLaveaga Dell/AIDS Memorial Grove. Two rings of stones, possibly headstone pieces, lie embedded in a clearing around a tree on the path south of Middle Drive East
Marx Meadow & Disc Golf Course are part of the vast "chain of meadows" in this middle section of Golden Gate Park, Marx Meadow is located near Fulton Street and the 25th Avenue park entrance. It's a sloping bowl of lawn bordered on two sides by the Disc Golf Course. The Disc Golf Course is a recent addition to the park.
Museums & Institutions, and other buildings
Conservatory of Flowers - A Victorian confection of wood and glass, the Conservatory of Flowers, which opened in 1879, is the oldest building in Golden Gate Park and one of San Francisco’s most beloved landmarks. It houses some 1,700 species of aquatic and tropical plants, many of them rare, including a 100-year-old giant Imperial philodendron, a world-renowned collection of orchids, giant water lilies, and carnivorous plants.
National AIDS Memorial - This memorial is a dedicated space in the national landscape where millions of Americans touched directly or indirectly by AIDS can gather to heal, hope, and remember. Its mission is to provide, in perpetuity, a place of remembrance so that the lives of people who died from AIDS are not forgotten and the story is known by future generations
California Academy of Sciences - Originally opening in Golden Gate Park in 1916, the facility later came to include the Steinhart Aquarium (1923), the African Hall (with dioramas), Science Hall, and Morrison Planetarium. Entire generations of children visited on field trips. Completely demolished and rebuilt, the new Academy of Sciences opened in 2008. It now includes the downstairs aquarium, penguins and displays from the African Hall on the ground floor, the rainforest dome, and the living roof
deYoung Museum - Founded in 1895 as the Memorial Museum and renamed as the DeYoung in 1924 after the San Francisco Chronicle publisher who had guided its development. The original structure was built in Egyptian style. The museum was completely rebuilt and re-opened in 2005. Exhibitions of art and historic artifacts are featured
Japanese Tea Garden - is the oldest in the United States, created for the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition as the fair’s Japanese Village exhibit. The garden’s lush, harmonious landscaping pays homage to the traditional Japanese art of the garden. Paths wind through its three and one half acres of carefully chosen and manicured plants, including graceful Japanese maples, twisting pines, clipped azaleas, and cherry trees
County Fair Building - With event space for 50 to 2,000, the County Fair Building is one of the most popular venues in the city for community events, meetings, weddings and other private parties. Featuring a total of approximately 30,000 square feet of event space and four separate rooms, plus a patio and courtyard, the County Fair Building (also known as the Hall of Flowers) is a flexible space for events.
San Francisco Botanical Garden - San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum is a living museum within Golden Gate Park, offering 55 acres of beautiful gardens displaying nearly 9,000 different kinds of plants from around the world. The Garden features nationally accredited collections of high elevation palms, Mesoamerican cloud forest plants, and Magnolias.
Library of Horticulture at San Francisco Botanical Garden - The Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture, established in 1972, is northern California's most comprehensive horticultural library. The Library houses approximately 27,000 volumes and 250 current plant and garden periodicals. The Library collections cover all aspects of horticulture including gardening, garden design, botanical art, ethnobotany and pest management, with an emphasis on plants grown in Mediterranean and other mild temperate climates
Stow Lake Boathouse - Stow Lake Boathouse, on the lake’s north shore, rents pedal boats, row boats, and has a snack bar. The current building, built in 1946, replaced the original 1893 boathouse
F.C. Egan Memorial Police Stables – Are the headquarter’s for SFPD's Mounted Unit, which boasts one sergeant, six officers and nine horses. The unit was founded in 1874
Senior Center - The Golden Gate Park Senior Center is a recreation center dedicated to the enjoyment of quality activities for all seniors age 55 and over. With the goal to provide seniors with programs to improve/maintain their physical, intellectual, and social well being
Bison Paddock - Of the variety of animals housed in the park to entertain visitors in its early days, only these few bison (aka buffalo) remain. Introduced to the park in 1891 when their population was dangerously low, the bison are cared for by the staff of the San Francisco Zoo
Gardens, Groves, Meadows, & Lakes
Sue Bierman Grove – Is named for civic leader Sue Bierman who to honor her 1960s fight to stop a freeway extension through the wooded concourse that leads to the park.
Uncle John’s Tree - Is a single, massive Monterey Cypress stands in front of the McLaren Lodge, where it has stood for over 100 years.
Peacock Meadow - The expansive grass of this meadow is a delightful place for a party to have plenty of fun in this garden filled northeastern corner of the park. Bring your blankets and lunch and spread out and play some games in this pretty, central spot!
Fuchsia Dell - Established in 1940 and located by the Conservatory of Flowers, the Fuchsia Dell provides a delightful, peaceful space to hold a wedding ceremony or reception in Golden Gate Park.
Liberty Tree – Is a large Sequoia Tree the Liberty Tree in Golden Gate Park by Sequoia chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. April 19, 1894, the one hundred and nineteenth anniversary of the Battle of Lexington (1894). The tree is huge and is growing is soil taken from each Civil War battlefield.
Dahlia Garden - Located in the northeastern corner of Golden Gate Park, the Dahlia Garden celebrates the official flower of San Francisco with a diverse spread of colors that grow in a thick, fenced-in treasure trove of blooms. The dahlias at Golden Gate Park start to bloom in June and reach their peak level of beauty in late August and September.
Arizona Garden - In 1880s California, there existed a distinct and exotic type of garden known as the “Arizona garden.” Laid out formally and composed of a combination of desert and subtropical plants, these gardens were the creation of the noted nineteenth-century landscape gardener, Rudolph Ulrich.
The Rockery - The de Laveaga Dell is the site of the former Deer Glen where deer and elk were kept in this fenced ravine. In 1898 a gift was received from the estate of Jose Vicente de Laveaga to fund improvement of the area. A fern dell with a cascading stream and rockery was created and planted with ferns, rhododendrons, camellias, irises and other plants.
Robin Williams Meadow - Robin Williams Meadow is the perfect spot with its gorgeous grass area and location near the beautiful Sharon Arts Studio! Listen to the nostalgia of the carousel music, dash over to Children’s Playground to run around, or just watch the dapper lawn bowlers do the playing for you
Hippie Hill - Hippie Hill is found on the eastern end of Golden Gate Park. Head for the hill located in between the Conservatory of Flowers and Haight Street. This infamous meadow and sloping hill notoriously received its name from being a gathering spot during the 1960s, it’s a fascinating fixture in Golden Gate Park. When the field isn’t ultra- packed, Hippie Hill is an interesting place to enjoy the sights and sounds of a sunny day at the park
CommUNITY Garden - The 0.66-acre site is situated at the northwest corner of Frederick/Arguello Streets. In addition to 67 raised bed community garden plots, the Recreation and Park Department is making available common landscape materials (mulch, chips and fines) stocked in holding bins and a gardening-tool lending library, demonstration gardens and educational programming are up next – unique public resources that make this an urban agriculture resource center per one of the goals of the new citywide Urban Agriculture Program
Lily Pond – This is one of the most idyllic spots in the park. The beautifully landscaped pond featured floating waterlilies and families of ducks.
Australian Tree Fern Dell - Impressively primordial in appearance, these groups of New Zealand ferns tower over other flora and lean out over the paths just south of the Conservatory of Flowers and toward the Lily Pond. This area was referred to during the 1960s as Mescaline Grove.
George Washington Elm Tree - According to the plaque beneath this tree, its parent tree was the one under which George Washington began his military command. This tree was planted in 1932 and can live up to 200 years
John McLaren Rhododendron Dell - he Rhododendron Dell is a 20 acre site, located in the heart of Golden Gate Park along Kennedy Drive near the Music Concourse. It was designed to honor John McLaren, the father of Golden Gate Park, with over 850 varieties of his favorite flower.The area includes a pathway system by which a visitor can view the collection.
Shakespeare Garden - Established in 1928, this formal garden features plants and flowers mentioned in Shakespeare's writings. The garden's marble bench was added in 1929. The iron entrance gate was added during a renovation in 1991.
Heroes Grove - Tranquil grove of coastal redwoods, surrounding a granite rock inscribed with the names of local casualties of World War I. Paths lead from the Rose Garden through this wooded area to the Music Concourse entrance at 10th Avenue. The grove was dedicated in 1919, and the memorial rock was added in 1932.
Rose Garden - With the sun peeking through a cluster of trees lining the road beside the Rose Garden located at Golden Gate Park, an award-winning spread of flowers greet visitors. A unique variety of roses bloom as the public is enlightened by the beauty, fragrance, and sight of hybrid tea roses and various miniature
Redwood Memorial Grove The meadow adjacent to this grove and the Doughboy Statue with laurel wreath are easy to notice while passing by on JFK Drive, but the redwood grove itself is visited less often. The trees were planted in 1930 in honor of war casualties, and have since grown enough to create a dense, shady grove.
Colonial Historic Trees Planted in 1896, this grove includes a tree for each of the 13 Colonies. Each tree is a different type, native to the area it represents. The gently sloping meadow and ring of trees create a tempting vista when you're passing by on JFK Drive. The bizarre Pioneer Mother Statue also tends to call attention and is rumored to be a creepy sight on foggy nights.
Stow Lake - Golden Gate Park’s largest body of water, Stow Lake is a popular spot for strolling, picnicking, and pedaling around in boats, which can be rented at the boathouse. Created in 1893, the lake was designed for leisure boating, as a promenade for horse-drawn carriages, and as a reservoir for park irrigation
Strawberry Hill Island – Surrounded by Stow Lake, Strawberry Hill Island is a wooded hill named for the wild strawberries that once flourished on its flanks. Trails follow the shoreline and climb to the hill’s summit, the highest point in Golden Gate Park at more than 400 feet.
Rainbow Falls - Named for the colored lights that originally framed the falls at their dedication in 1930, this is the second of two artificial waterfall systems created in Golden Gate Park. Water is pumped from nearby Lloyd Lake, and circulated in the trench stream along JFK Drive.
G. Washington Bicentennial Grove - Planted in 1932, this grove was apparently meant to honor the 200th anniversary of George Washington's birth, not the bicentennial of US independence. The redwood tree dedicated to Herbert Hoover was planted in 1935, according to the plaque beneath it.
Herbert Hoover Tree - Located in the middle of Golden Gate Park, the grassy oasis of Hoover Redwood Grove offers the scenery and natural beauty of local ‘gentle giants’ known as Coast Redwoods (or Sequoia sempervirens). The peaceful getaway is one of those often-overlooked locations in the park. The redwoods were planted in 1930 to honor war causalities.
Elk Glen Lake - Created in 1936, this lake is adorned by plum and cherry trees on its east side and surrounded by wild grasses that grow high in the early spring. Its location deep in the middle of Golden Gate Park, this one of the most hidden and seldom-visited features of the park.
Urban Forestry Center - A small maintenance area off limits to visitors, plant specimens are kept in the yards.
Mallard Lake - So easy to pass by, especially driving on MLK, this little gem of a lake features a shady stream on its east shore. This is apparently a natural, pre-existing lake.
Metson Lake - Just southeast of Speedway Meadow and the Polo Field, this lake is lined with wild blackberry bushes around its edge. It was constructed in 1908.
Hellman Hollow - The sprawling splendor of Hellman Hollow is one of Golden Gate Park’s loveliest spots. Stretching out in the middle of the park, Hellman Hollow offers a park-within-a-park for your party to enjoy.
Lindley Meadow - One of the grandest green spaces in glorious Golden Gate Park is Lindley Meadow. Its grassy area stretches along the south edge of JFK Drive in the center of the park, spilling down a steep bank into a wide flat space with picnic tables and grills tucked into the eucalyptus border.
Chain of Lakes - Sculpted from existing natural marshes, the Chain of Lakes feature the tall grasses and willows native to the area. The North Lake is the largest of the three in the chain, with an irregular shape and small islands jutting from the shallow water. A walking path follows the lake shore all the way around, and blackberry bushes dominate the banks on the west side
Queen Wilhelmina Garden The Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden features a blanket of tulips in bloom during February and March. The garden was dedicated in 1962 in honor of the queen of the Netherlands.
The Baseball Player - Joe DiMaggio Playground is approximately a 110,000 square foot park with a children’s play area, tennis courts, bocce courts, pool building and sport courts. It is located immediately adjacent to the North Beach Pool and Clubhouse, as well as the North Beach Branch Library
Koret Children’s Quarter - This playground has undergone several changes of face since it opened in 1888. The boat-like swing sets seen in early photos are gone, and a major renovation completed in 2007 brought cement slides, climbing areas, and a re-naming of the area to Koret Children's Quarter.
Carousel -The carousel operating here was built in 1912 and installed at the playground in 1941. Murals in the center of the carousel depict scenes from the park
Huntington Falls - Huntington Falls was inspired by a visit John McLaren made to the Sierras with naturalist John Muir. The sculpted rocks around the falls look a little theme park-ish, but it's no less scenic when you're climbing the adjacent stairs
Art, Architecture, & Sculpture
William McKinley Monument – Built in 1904, by Robert Aiken, the statue immortalizes the legacy of America’s 25th president.
McLaren Lodge - Built in 1896, McLaren Lodge was the home of the park department’s first superintendent, John McLaren, until 1943. McLaren Lodge is currently the headquarters for the Recreation and Park Department.
Clarke Pillars Gate - Installed in 1915, the sandstone pillars of Clarke Gate decorate the Arguello Boulevard entrance to the park from Fulton Street. Named in memory of an early Presidio area settler named Crawford Clarke
Ghirardelli Card Shelter - Constructed in 1988, using parts of the previous site, one of the highlights of this attraction is an eye-catching chess horse and other game pieces that decorate the space. While visiting the shelter, settle in at one of the tables for a relaxing picnic or day filled with board games
James Abram Garfield Monument – The park’s oldest monument, the cornerstone was laid on August 24, 1884, memorializes the 20th president of the United States
Major Gen. Henry Halleck Monument - The Halleck monument stands on the south side of JFK Drive in the Park, near the tennis courts, perennially shaded by a grove of coast live oak trees and a towering cypress. The inscription on the monument reads "Tribute To His Memory, from his best friend, Gen. George Callum, 1886." After resigning from the Army in 1854, he quickly established a successful and lucrative law practice, with much land speculation. His law library was renowned, and he became a pre- eminent collector of Californiana, assembling many of the original documents of the Spanish era
Alvord Bridge - Dating back to 1889, this is apparently the first bridge built with iron-reinforced concrete. It allows cars to pass over on Kezar Drive, while pedestrians can walk from the east edge of the park into Sharon Meadow without having to cross a street. The ceiling of the cavernous tunnel under the bridge is covered with artificial stalactities, mostly crumbled and broken off
Sharon Arts Building - Opened in 1888, it was meant to be an indoor play area and extension of the playground. It was damaged extensively in the 1906 earthquake (see history), and two subsequent fires (1974 and 1980). It now hosts an art studio with classes for adults and children
Sarah B. Cooper Memorial – This sculpture to a pioneer of children's education sits just west of the Children’s playground
John McLaren Statue – Sculpted in 1911 and dedicated to Golden Gate Park’s superintendent, John McLaren, this statue was taken out of store in 1943 put on display at the back of the John McLaren Memorial Rhododendron Dell
Brayton Gate - The curved benches framing the entrance to the park at 6th Avenue were installed in 1952. Vehicles cannot enter at this point, and it marks the entrance associated with the designated Skate Area.
Powell Street Railway Shelter – This railway shelter on Fulton Street at 7th Avenue was built in 1889m and once was a major entrance for visitors arriving by steam trains and alter cable cars.
Brown Gate - Bronze sculptures of a bear and cougar, installed in 1908, adorn either side of the Brown Gate entrance at Eighth Avenue.
Chaplain William D. McKinnon Statue – William D. McKinnon taught at Santa Clara University and was chaplain with the First U.S Volunteer Infantry during the Spanish-American War in the Philippines. This sculpture, created by D. John MacQuarrie was placed in the park on August 21, 1927.
Robert Burns Memorial - Unveiled in Golden Gate park in 1908, this statue of the Scottish Poet Robert Burns measures 11 feet high and stands on a pedestal of California granite nine feet high. The statue is located off JFK Drive near the Rhododendron Grove.
Thomas Starr King Statue – This statue was unveiled by Thomas Starr King’s grandchildren on October 26, 1892. Thomas Starr King was an American Unitarian and Universalist minister influential in California politics during the American Civil War.
Pedestrian Tunnel Under JFK Drive - South of the playground, the JFK Drive pedestrian tunnel was designed in 1896. Even something as utilitarian as a traffic bridge was undertaken with fantastic style by the park's builders.
Francis Scott Key Monument - This monument, designed by William Wetmore Story and funded by James Lick, was the nation's first memorial to Francis Scott Key.
General Ulysses S. Grant Sculpture – In 1896, Rupert Schmid created this bronze and granite memorial to Ulysses Simpson Grant, Union General and 18th President of the United States. The monument is located on the south side of Museum Drive.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra – Unveiled in 1916, Jo Mora created this bronze and natural stone sculpture of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza kneeling before a bust of Cervantes.
Padre Junipero Serra Monument – Unveiling of this statue took place in 1907, designed by architect Edgar A. Mathews and commissioned by James Phelan and executed by Douglas Tilden, who was responsible for many of the statues in Golden Gate Park.
General John J. Pershing Monument – This statue in Golden Gate Park commemorates General of the Armies John Joseph (John) Pershing (1860-1948), an American general and commander from World War I. Behind his foot is a destroyed German helmet.
Goethe and Schiller Monument – This statue in San Francisco is an exact copy of the original monument that has stood on the Theaterplatz in Weimar since 1857. This copy was also cast in Germany. In 1899 it was cast from a plaster model of the original at a foundry located between Berlin and Dresden and shipped to San Francisco by boat and rail. Sculpted by Ernst Rietschel, the original statue was cast in bronze by the Königliche Erzgießerei in Munich. The San Francisco Goethe-Schiller monument was to be the first of at least four in the United States
Robert Emmet Statue - Robert Emmet was an Irish nationalist, Republican, orator and rebel leader. He led an abortive rebellion against British rule in 1803 and was captured, tried and executed for high treason. This statue, was donated to the city in 1919. The donation was made by James D. Phelan, a former San Francisco mayor.
Ludwig van Beethoven Bust – A little more than a year after the unveiling of the Giuseppe Verdi statue in Golden Gate Park, the German-American community gathered to unveil a statue of Ludwig Van Beethoven. The statue was a gift of the Beethoven Maennerchor of New York.
Giuseppe Verdi Monument – Dedicated in 1914, this memorial was a gift of the Italian Community spearheaded by Ettore Patrizzi owner and publisher of San Francisco’s Italian newspaper L’Italia.
Spreckels Temple of Music - Developed for the 1894 Mid-Winter Fair, this concourse is now the heart of Golden Gate Park's "museum district". The Music Stand (aka Spreckels Temple of Music) at the west end of the concourse was completed in 1900, and still hosts music performances on Sundays.
Rideout Fountain – Unveiled in 1924 in the Music Concourse, the fountain was made possible with a $10,000 gift from Corrine Rideout. Designed by architect Herbert A. Schmidt and the statue by M. Earl Cummings
Phoebe Apperson Hearst Fountain – Unveiled in 1926, this cast stone fountain, a tribute to Phoebe Apperson Hearst, stands on the south side of the music concourse in front of the California Academy of Sciences.
Lion Statue – Created in 1906, little is known about the bronze lion that sits contentedly upon a rock near the de Young Museum except that it was created by R. Hinton Perry and donated to the park by Shreve & Co.
Doré Vase - Created between 1877 and 78 by the great French sculptor Paul Gustave Doré, this cast-bronze sculpture is officially titled “Poème de la Vigne,” or “Story of the Vine,” the vase depicting motifs related to the art of winemaking. San Franciscan Michael de Young saw the vase in Chicago, fell in love with it, and arranged to have it displayed here as part of the 1894 California Midwinter International Exhibition. When the fair closed, de Young purchased the vase from the foundry for $11,000.
The Sphinxes - Arthur Putnam, created two cast concrete sphinxes which flanked the main entrance of the original Young Museum. They had been part of the Egyptian Building at the 1894 Midwinter Fair. The sphinxes are now located near the Pool of Enchantment.
Apple Cider Press Statue – This 1892 Bronze sculpture was originally exhibited at the Midwinter International Exposition in 1894. The statue was originally a drinking fountain with a cup attached by a chain, and some say it ran with cider instead of water.
Sundial – This sundial by Melvin Earl Cummings was given to San Francisco by the California members of the National Association of Colonial Dames in honor of the first navigators who approached the Pacific Coast. It sits just outside the entrance to the de Young museum.
Roman Gladiator Sculpture - Is an outdoor 1881 bronze sculpture by Guillaume Geefs. The statue depicts a nude man holding a sword, and wearing a cloak and helmet. The bronze plaque on the front of the base reads: IN COMMEMORATION / OF THE INAUGURATION / OF THE / CALIFORNIA MIDWINTER INTERNATIONAL / EXPOSITION / ON THIS SPOT THE FIRST SHOVELFULL OF EARTH WAS TURNED / WITH CEREMONIES ON AUGUST 24th 1893.
Hagiwara Family Monument - Immigrant and successful businessman Makoto Hagiwara took over management of the garden after the close of the fair. He was instrumental in expanding both the garden and its reputation. His descendants continued to manage the garden until 1942, when they were sent to an internment camp in Utah as part of the World War II imprisonment of all West Coast persons of Japanese descent. The collection of dwarf trees on Waterfall Hill, once part of the Hagiwaras’ collection, was returned to the garden in 1965. A bronze plaque honoring the Hagiwara family, by artist Ruth Asawa, was installed just inside the garden’s main gate in 1974
Gold Star Mothers Rock - Hidden away in Heroes Grove, a secluded part of Golden Gate Park, is the Gold Star Mothers Rock. This monument is a memorial to U.S. veterans who died in World War I, and has a surprising relevance to the Russian Revolution
The Doughboy Statue - Down the slope from JFK Drive toward the Redwood Memorial Grove is beautiful Doughboy Meadow. Bring your friends to play at the feet of the laurel-wreathed Doughboy statue and enjoy the day!
Pioneer Mother Monument - Located near the Pioneer Log Cabin is the huge figure of a cloaked woman with outstretched hands and two youthful innocents, a boy and a girl. The sculpture is a symbolic tribute to all mothers who braved the journey West over land or sea. The piece was created a year before the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), where it was placed to overlook the entrance to the Palace of Fine Arts colonnade. The date of 1914 was significant because the U.S. Congress proclaimed the establishment of Mother’s Day that year. Phoebe Apperson Hearst, mother of William Randolph Hearst, chaired the Pioneer Mother Monument Association that came up with the idea of creating the piece. The $25,000 cost was funded from the pennies and nickels donated by children, and by popular subscription, with the largest sum given by the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West
Pioneer Log Cabin Constructed in 1911 from redwood logs (floated down in the form of a raft down the coast from Humboldt County), to honor the pioneer women of California. The cabin now houses the Permits Division of the Park Department
Roman Bridge - The plain Roman Bridge and its counterpart, the rocky Rustic Bridge, both date to 1893.
Rustic Bridge - The Rustic Bridge and Roman Bridge were both completed in time for the 1894 Midwinter Fair. Then, as now, they allow pedestrians to walk from the outer shore of Stow Lake to the island of Strawberry Hill, and boats to travel underneath.
Prayer Book Cross - Sitting near the top of Rainbow Falls is a relic from 1894 and may be reached via a trail up the hill. In early photos, the cross is seen clearly on the hill (and is referred to as "Drake's Cross". Full grown trees now hide the cross almost completely from street level. At 64 feet, it is the tallest monument in the park.
Crossover Drive Bridge - This well-named road consists of four traffic lanes slicing through the middle of the park from south to north. At JFK Drive it literally crosses over via traffic bridge and then splits toward 25th Avenue to the west and Park Presidio Boulevard to the east. It's the main way to drive through the park if your intent is to get to the other side without stopping.
Portals of the Past - Part of the entrance for a Nob Hill Mansion destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. The columns, left standing after the collapse of the house, were transported to the park and installed in 1909 as a memorial.
Lloyd Lake - This is the reservoir for the water pumped up its adjacent hill to Rainbow Falls. The water is circulated via the JFK Drive stream and pours back into the lake in a cascade at its southwest corner. A trail entrance from Transverse Drive leads up the hill overlooking the water. The lake itself has a placid, dreamlike quality. It was also previously referred to as Mirror Lake.
Breon Gate - More vehicle traffic passes through this gate at 19th Avenue and Lincoln Way than any other entry point to the park. The pillars were a gift from a wealthy family and were dedicated in 1923.
Jewett Memorial Bench - Located near the crossroads of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Chain of Lakes Drive East. The bench can be found facing west looking at South Lake. The Jewett Memorial bench is a 12-foot long granite bench celebrating the life of Fidelia Jewett (1851-1933) a public school teacher in San Francisco for nearly fifty years. Jewett was a part of the Kern County Jewetts, who introduced sheep to the San Joaquin Valley and were early founders of Bakersfield California
Dutch Windmill - Designed to pump fresh water from below ground to irrigate the park, this windmill began operating in 1903. Electric pumps began to be used over the next decade, and both this windmill and its southern counterpart (the Murphy Windmill) fell to disuse and disrepair. A restoration of the Dutch Windmill was completed in 1981, and it is a purely decorative icon now.
Captain R. Amundsen Memorial – Across the Great Highway from Ocean Beach, stands a 10-foot-tall granite pillar with a bronze plate depicting the great Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, looking to the northwest. In 1905, Amundsen became the first man to sail through the Northwest Passage, the fabled sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific.
Beach Chalet - The current building housing the Beach Chalet and Park Chalet opened in 1925. The visitors center on the ground floor is decorated with 1930s frescoes painted by Lucien Laboudt, depicting scenes and local personalities of the era. The Park Chalet has an indoor bar area, and outdoor lawn seating.
Murphy Windmill Completed in 1908, this was meant to be a bigger sequel to the already successful Dutch Windmill. Apparently an oustanding example of turn-of-the-century mechanical ingenuity, its sails were the longest in the world for this type of windmill.
Millwright’s Cottage - This is a quaint building next to the Murphy Windmill that was built in 1903 as the residence for the caretaker of the windmill.