Lonely Planet Writer

Dolores Park - San Francisco’s favourite green spot is charging for picnic space

When it reopened in January 2016 after months of improvement work, Dolores Park quickly regained its favourite-green-spot-in-San-Francisco status with locals.

Dolores Park, San Francisco.
Dolores Park, San Francisco. Image by Brad Greenlee / CC BY 2.0

Lush lawns, new toilets and dog-friendly areas were added to the sweeping views for which the park was always famous and drew people back in droves. The regeneration was hailed a great success and everybody was happy – until the park’s increased popularity prompted authorities to begin charging to reserve a picnic spot.

Dolores Park, San Francisco.
Dolores Park, San Francisco. Image by Lucy Orloski / CC BY 2.0

The pilot scheme started at the beginning of May and means that if you just really, really have to have your birthday bash here and want to guarantee a section of grass on which to have it, you can pay anything from US$33 to US$325, depending on your group size. For your money, you get a chunk of space that’s yours for a set period of time (and staff will be on site to make sure nobody else nabs it). Of course, you can still just turn up and hope for the best, but with up to 10,000 people enjoying the park on sunny weekends now, it might be worth paying out just to bag a spot.