Lonely Planet Writer

Discover why rope swings are appearing all over San Francisco

Much like the concept of yarn bombing – created in a bid to bring more fun and energy to a city – one secret group dubbed SwingBombSF has set up simple wooden-seated rope swings all around the streets, hills and parks of San Francisco for passers-by to enjoy.

The swings are placed all over San Francisco. Image by SwingbombSF

“We wanted to do something that would bring an element of play, surprise and joy to people,” said a representative from SwingBombSF, “something that anyone could enjoy. Something that would bring people together in a fun way.”

The swings are proving popular. Image by SwingbombSF

SwingBombSF’s Instagram feed is filled with positive comments from people who’ve stumbled upon the swings in locations like Tank Hill and between Levenworth and Lombard St. While some swings are in beautiful surroundings, others bring life to the city’s starker concrete spaces. One thing is for sure, getting on any of the swings has evoked feelings of nostalgia and memories of simpler times for many who have used them. And it’s a great way to stop and take in San Francisco life.

Sadly some of the swings have been cut down for safety reasons. Image by SwingbombSF

“The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive,” explained the SwingBombSF representative. “People have shared that they have gone out on #SwingbBombSF hunts with friends, met strangers, reconnected with their love of the city… and somebody even traveled over 300 miles to enjoy #swingbombsf.”

The swings have gained fans from near and far. Image by SwingbombSF

Despite the positive reactions, the locally authorities have been cutting down the swings for ‘safety reasons’. Sadly, the majority of the swings no longer exist, but the folks behind #SwingBombSF are not disheartened and will continue to do things in the city that will bring people more “joy, play, and surprise”. If their Instagram is anything to go by, people are inspired to create similar concepts in their own cities.

The swings are making everyone smile. Image by SwingbombSF

“LOVE that you guys did this,” wrote one @goplae on the SwingBombSF Insta account, “fits right into our motto that ‘the world is our playground’.” “The list of reasons to love San Francisco are nearly endless,” said Insta user @josiahq, “and discovering that some 50+ swings were hung all over the city this weekend is just the latest. We found about a dozen of them :) Thanks.”

It’s inspirational stuff, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old…we grow old because we stop playing,” writes the SwingBombSF team on one of their posts with a picture of a fully grown man flying high on one of their swings. If you find a swing in San Francisco, don’t forget to capture yourself on it and share it with the SwingBombSF community.