San Francisco is creating its own 'High Line' to rival NYC

Valerie Stimac
Lonely Planet Writer

As cities across the globe grow up and sprawl out, it’s no surprise that urban parks are on the rise. Following the popularity of New York City’s High Line, cities including Seoul, Miami, and London have all opened green spaces that take advantage of surplus area above (or below) each developing city.

San Francisco’s newest urban park. Image by Valerie Stimac

Now, add San Francisco to that list of cities. Since it opened in mid-August, the park atop Salesforce Transit Center has quickly become a popular spot for visitors to downtown San Francisco and working professionals in the neighborhood’s towering skyscrapers.

The 5.4-acre Salesforce Transit Center Park sits atop the newly-designed and renamed Transbay Transit Center that serves as the hub for bus transportation in San Francisco’s Financial District. Eventually, train services will also pass through the building, helping consolidate and organize the city’s increasingly convoluted public transit options.

Salesforce Transit Center Park. Image by Valerie Stimac

Named for the towering Salesforce skyscraper to which it’s attached by a skybridge, Salesforce Transit Center Park is a welcome haven of tranquility in a noisy city at the street level. Whether it’s construction sounds from the latest building going up or San Francisco’s notorious congestion, the park is designed to insulate visitors with clever, modern design and a beautiful barrier of trees and plants from around the world. Different sections of the park include species that emulate the forests of Northern California, Chile, Australia, South Africa, and even the Mediterranean. Each of these green spaces is marked by signs that educate visitors on the plants as well as San Francisco’s terrain and climate.

The park is 5.4 acres. Image by Valerie Stimac

Within the park, there’s more than just walking paths. There’s an amphitheatre, play park for children, dining patio, and eventually a food court (still under construction). There’s a 1000-foot “bus fountain” that uses sensors from the bus terminal below to trigger fountains of water — and signs demonstrate children playing in the water on one of San Francisco’s rare hot days. Throughout the week and weekends, events are held including HIIT and Tai Chi classes; live music and vinyl-listening sessions; and yoga and meditation sessions.

The park is full of amenities for visitors to enjoy. Image by Valerie Stimac

Even the bus terminal — the most functional aspect of the structure — is an architectural masterpiece. Open and airy mimicking the same curved designs of the park above, it’s a design-friendly transit center that competes with the classic designs of other cities, and is a definite step up as San Francisco continues to grow.

Salesforce Transit Center Park is open during the day but closed at night and patrolled by security to help maintain the serene atmosphere.