Alamo Square Park

Top choice Park

in The Haight & Hayes Valley

Hippie communes and Victorian bordellos, jazz greats and opera stars, earthquakes and Church of Satan services: these genteel 'Painted Lady' Victorian mansions have hosted them all since 1857, and survived elegantly intact. Pastel 'Postcard Row' mansions (aka the Full House sitcom backdrop) along the southeastern edge of this hilltop park pale in comparison with the colorful, turreted, outrageously ornamented Queen Anne Victorians along the northwestern end.

In the 1860s, an outlaw named Dutch Charlie wouldn't let anyone near Alamo Sq's crest – now hilltop picnic benches let you take in the view he so jealously guarded, while toddlers play tag on his turf at a Victorian-themed hillside playground.