When the sun breaks through the clouds in San Francisco, the Mission District feels it first, and locals flock to Mission Dolores Park to soak up those rays and enjoy picnics and lawn games on the grass. Noted for its view of the San Francisco skyline and proximity to some of the city’s best places to eat, Dolores Park is the place to be on a sunny afternoon.
Located between the Castro and Mission District, Dolores Park is home to tennis and basketball courts, a soccer field, a playground, picnic tables, a dog play area, and plenty of green space, making it one of the city’s favorite parks. Standard city sightseeing tours don’t typically include the park, but walking tours of the Mission provide the chance to visit or pass by while exploring the neighborhood’s cultural history or food scene. Alternatively, pick up food and drinks at one of the many local businesses on 18th and Valencia streets, and head to the park with a blanket and a group of friends.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Wheelchair access is limited; there is a ramp at the entrance at Dolores and 19th streets.
- Public restrooms are available inside the park.
- “Leave no trace” is the motto to be followed—make sure to take all your trash with you when you leave.
How to Get There
Dolores Park sits between Church, Dolores, 18th, and 20th streets. Free and metered street parking is available (pay attention to the posted signs for limits). The J-Church light rail runs along the park’s western edge. Bus route 33 passes by the park.
When to Get There
A sunny Saturday or Sunday afternoon is prime time for people-watching with what may feel like half of San Francisco. Go on a weekday afternoon to enjoy the vibe without fighting for a space on the grass.
Mission San Francisco de Asís
Founded in 1776, the oldest structure in San Francisco, known as Mission Dolores, is often overlooked by visitors who go to the Mission District to frequent the shops, bars, restaurants, and park. But it’s worth a stop to see the historic architecture and learn about a piece of California history.