The Best SECRET Parks In San Francisco

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Tired of your go-to local park? Want to get out of your hood? Why not mix it up?! Grab your kiddos, dust off your explorers hat and hop on over to one of these hidden garden gems. We’ve rounded up the best secret gardens and parks right here in San Francisco. All you need to do is go, go go!

Roof Garden, Fairmont Hotel, Nob Hill

Why it’s great: Busy bees, edible herb planters, citrus trees and the San Francisco skyline, all in one easy-access little-known rooftop garden. The Fairmont Hotel, located atop of Nob Hill, was opened in 1907, and still retains an old-timey charm. With the clatter of cable cars rising up from street level at the cable-car intersection on Powell and California streets and a grand marble interior, it’s easy to feel like you stepped back in time. The Transamerica Pyramid pokes her head up through the jumble of FiDi buildings as if to say “peekaboo”, while 30-foot date palm trees provide pockets of shade for your little to keep out of the sun. Neat box hedge surrounds a circular fountain, and the pretty formal flowerbeds are home to sneaky spiders, snails and the odd ladybird. Low benches for snacking and people-watching, are dotted around the edges of the garden, next to sweet-smelling herb planters.
Where: Although accessible only from inside the Fairmont, the roof garden is open to the public. Enter via the Fairmont’s Cafe Cento, at 950 Mason Street (at California Street) and take the long back corridor all the way to the elevator. Head up to Lobby level, turn right and follow the corridor past gift shops and a circus wall mural to the mirrored corridor. Enter the rooftop garden at the end (signposted) through doors on your left.
Good to know: Cafe Cento is family-friendly and even sells honey from the hotel’s rooftop beehive. The Hotel has a fantastic ladies room situated off the corridor between the elevator and the roof garden. Extra spacious and clean, it has comfy plush chairs, perfect for nursing moms.
Photo Credit Jennifer Morrow via Flickr

Have you and your little one found an off-the-beaten-track park or garden in nestled in the heart of SF? Care to share the secret? Feel free to comment below.

–Kirsty Wilson Denovan

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