San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department, Green Gold By The Bay

Known affectionately and magically for her skyscrapers, San Francisco has so much more to offer than that.

If you are willing to scrape a little more, there is so more that is green to see. It’s not just about the concrete.

A beautiful city filled with green initiatives and going green advocates, it is understandable that the city by the bay has one of the greatest parks and recreation districts in the world.

The San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department is the city agency responsible for governing and maintaining all city owned parks and recreational facilities in San Francisco, California.

The Recreation & Parks Department also runs Sharp Park in Pacifica, California and Camp Mather in Tuolumne County, California.

Their current facilities include 4,113 acres of total recreational and open space with 3,400 acres of that land within San Francisco. writer, photo credit

While we guess that you may have not known that because we sure didn’t, but did you ever imagine that might be the case.

It is.

The department runs 179 playgrounds and play areas, 82 recreation centers and clubhouses, nine swimming pools, five golf courses, 151 tennis courts, 72 basketball courts, 59 soccer fields, numerous baseball diamonds, and other sports venues.

The Department is responsible for over 220 neighborhood parks and Golden Gate Park, the largest and the fifth most visited park in the United States. writer, photo credit

The Recreation & Parks Department is governed by a seven-member commission who are also appointed by the mayor of San Francisco to 4 year terms.

That is the general outline of a truly magnificent program.

Since it is often foggy, let’s wear a green jacket and take a closer look at what is being offered.

The Sharon Art Stu­dio is one of many cul­tural arts facil­i­ties oper­ated by the San Fran­cisco Recre­ation and Parks Depart­ment.

With its his­toric build­ing and its loca­tion in Golden Gate Park adja­cent to the Carousel and the Koret Chidren's Play­ground and within short walk­ing dis­tance of some of San Francisco’s great­est cul­tural resources, the Sharon Art Stu­dio has been referred to by one Recre­ation and Parks admin­is­tra­tor as "the jewel in the crown of the cul­tural arts division."

They certainly have our attention. We want to know more.

At they share, “The Sharon Art Stu­dio (SAS) is San Francisco’s largest pub­lic art cen­ter. Jointly oper­ated by the San Fran­cisco Recre­ation and Parks Depart­ment (SFRPD) and the Friends of Sharon Art Stu­dio (FOSAS), we are located in an his­toric build­ing in Golden Gate Park and offer arts edu­ca­tion for peo­ple of all ages in ceram­ics, leaded and fused glass, jewelry/metal arts, draw­ing, paint­ing, and mixed media.

But the Sharon Art Stu­dio is more than sim­ply a pub­lic arts edu­ca­tion facil­ity — it’s a com­mu­nity. Every day, peo­ple who are new to the stu­dio find them­selves learn­ing and cre­at­ing along­side indi­vid­u­als who have been attend­ing classes for 5, 15, or even 30 years.”

Very intriguing. Simply fascinating.

Are you very physical in terms of recreation? If you are young and into skating, San Francisco is the place to be.

San Francisco’s most recently added Skatepark, SoMa West Skatepark was designed to reflect iconic San Francisco spots, with a special nod to the Embarcadero Plaza. Skaters from all over the world travel to this park providing an exciting and enjoyable experience for all ages.

For your convenience, here is a list of other skate parks in the city:

Balboa Skatepark Ocean & San Jose, SF, CA 94112

Crocker Amazon Skatepark 1700 Geneva Ave., SF, CA 94134

Potrero Del Sol Skatepark Potrero & Army St., SF, CA 94110

Those experiences are just waiting for you to enjoy.

There is more.

At they add, “Adults and children of all ages enjoy our variety of athletic fields. We have soccer fields to meet every need from NCAA regulation fields to 7 aside or micro soccer. We have small diamonds that are perfect for youth to adult size baseball and softball diamonds. We have football and lacrosse fields. We even have areas for fun kickball, volleyball or flag football games that can be combined with a picnic. Depending on your needs we offer a range of ways to book facilities. Leagues, programs and events can apply online months in advance and confirm the availability of their fields with plenty of time to plan their seasons.

We offer many unique venues for concerts, races, or parties. Venues include iconic locations like Union Square Plaza, Palace of Fine Arts, Civic Center Plaza, and Japantown Peace Plaza. Other venues have high levels of foot traffic, such as Embarcadero Plaza (a transportation hub which also draws many to the Ferry Building for the Farmers’ Market), the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park, (located between the de Young Museum and the California Academy of Sciences), and Marina Green (a central location for boating, running, and viewing the Golden Gate Bridge).” We also offer locations for events in beautiful park settings like the Meadows in Golden Gate Park and Jerry Garcia Amphitheatre in John McLaren Park.”

For you football fans, do you remember Kezar Stadium affectionately known by those in the bay area as Kezar?

Historic Kezar Stadium, former home of the San Francisco 49ers, is a 10,000 seat multi-use stadium complete with a track that, in addition to hosting major sporting events, is used by thousands of runners and joggers.

In our circle, some actually watched Johnny Unitas and his Baltimore Colts walk through the tunnel and play. We also saw Bart Starr and the glorious Green Bay Packers play there as well.

Those were the days.

Speaking of historical occurrences, many popular films have been shots in San Francisco park locations. Some of the most popular have included Memoirs of a Geisha, The Princess Diaries, The Wedding Planner, Bicentennial Man, The Rock, Dirty Harry and many others.

All of these green spaces and facilities add immensely to the quality of life of all San Franciscans and visitors alike.

So when you drive by all of those majestic skyscrapers heading towards the San Francisco Bay Bridge, please remember down below and all around, there is a green magical wonderland waiting to enhance your San Francisco experience.

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