Painted Ladies and Playgrounds: Explore Alamo Square

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Known popularly as the NOPA neighborhood (North of the Panhandle) and extending up to Alamo Square and Western Addition, this hood is home to some of the most famous Victorian houses: the Painted Ladies. You’ll find sweeping views from the comfort of an awesome playground, a gourmet ghetto, and stellar shopping all just a quick walk from this centrally located park. Read on to discover our picks for the best places to shop, eat, and play.


Play Here
Located on the east side of the park, the playground at Alamo Square rivals views from nearly any peak in the city. Keep your eyes out for the Transamerica Pyramid and the gilded dome of City Hall. With an elevated section for the 2-5 crowd, you can keep your little ones at an arm’s length while still having a bird’s eye view of the bigger kids. From the top of the equipment, you might just get a peek of the Golden Gate Bridge, too!  The west side of the park is designated for doggies, so let your pooches have a go and your kiddos have a gander.

Insider tip: Listen closely for the wild parrots that make their home throughout San Francisco, including nests in the trees near the playground. SF-Kid-Alamo-Square

Chomp Here
After posing for some pics to send home to Grammy, head down to Divisadero Street where you’ll find a wide variety of foods, from burgers and BBQ to Little Star Pizza. On Sundays there’s a farmer’s market on Grove Street at Divisadero, from 10am to 2pm, year round. And don’t forget to treat yourselves to ice-cream from Bi-Rite Creamery’s new Divisadero location!


Geek Love
Divisadero is ever evolving and often features pop-up shops, especially around the holidays, so take a few minutes to stroll the blocks. Kids will love Gamescape, arguably the most well-stocked game store in the greater Bay Area, and Comix Experience, a collector’s haven of comic books and comic-related paraphernalia.

Good to Know: The bathrooms at Alamo Square are a short uphill walk from the playground and are not particularly well-maintained so hit the loo at the local coffee shop before you head up.

Getting There
Parking can be difficult in this neighborhood, especially on the weekends and there are no parking garages so patience is required. This neighborhood is easily accessible by public transit, with MUNI lines 5 Fulton, 21 Hayes, 24 Divisadero, and Haight Street bus lines and the N Judah just a quick walk away.

Check out these other places to play tourist with your kids! What’s your favorite one?

Copy and pics by Amber Guetebier