Hello again! My name is Nisha and back in December I wrote about throwing dinner parties. I am taking a break from dinner parties to join Jess & Linz for this season’s Adventures series. I can’t wait for all of the posts to come, I’m always up for an adventure!
I moved to San Francisco from Portland two years ago. Portland is filled with parks and forests and even parks with built-in forests. Your eyes have to get used to seeing so much green on a daily basis. San Francisco is only 7 miles by 7 miles big but somehow we fit 825,000 people inside. All of the houses are smushed up against each other and apartments with access to a backyard with real dirt are rare finds. I didn’t realize how much I need trees and dirt until I moved to SF so I found an apartment near the biggest park in the city – Golden Gate Park.
At 1,017 acres, Golden Gate Park is actually 20% larger than Central Park in New York. The park extends from the middle of the city all the way to the beach. Inside, there are lakes, a field with bison, a fly fishing pond, windmills, museums, botanical gardens and so much more. After living just a few blocks away from the park for two years I’m still finding new trails and hidden gardens.
One of the best ways to explore new corners of the park is by biking or jogging – you can combine your sightseeing and exercise into one activity. When I jog I like to turn onto a trail I haven’t tried before and then figure out how to loop home. Sometimes my sense of direction isn’t perfect and I end up going for a mile longer than I intended (but hey, then my after-run treat is even more deserved). Other times I like to go for a jogging scavenger hunt and run from garden to garden, make a loop of the 5 closest lakes or go say hi to the bison. I use a great site call San Francisco Days that has detailed descriptions about every feature of the park to figure out what to see next.
When biking, its a good idea to stick to dedicated bike paths and roads that are wide enough for bikes and cars. I usually map out something with Google’s bike map directions. San Francisco’s Bicycle Coalition also publishes an extensive bike map and many cities have similar organizations. The most common ride I do is a sprint to the beach and back which takes me past several of the parks attractions and is a nice 8 mile round trip. There are also several bike loops you can plan depending on how long you want to ride.
The next time you find yourself in a new city, use your workout time to do some sightseeing. You may get lost the first few times but it will still be fun!