Dolores Park

Park in The Mission, Dogpatch & Potrero Hill

Image by jejim Getty Images

Semiprofessional tanning and taco picnics: welcome to San Francisco's sunny side. Dolores Park has something for everyone, from street ball and tennis to the Mayan-pyramid playground (sorry, kids: no blood sacrifices allowed). Political protests and other favorite local sports happen year-round, and there are free movie nights and mime troupe performances in summer. Climb to the upper southwestern corner for superb views of downtown, framed by palm trees.

Dolores Park was built on the site of a former Jewish cemetery that was used as a staging ground by Barnum & Bailey Circus and sold to the city in 1905. San Francisco's 1906 earthquake and fire violently interrupted park planning, and it remained bumpy, squishy and poorly drained until its 2015 regrading. At the corner of 20th and Church Sts, note the gold-painted fire hydrant: this little fireplug was the Mission's main water source during the 1906 earthquake and fire, and stopped the fire from spreading south of 20th St. Flat patches further down are generally reserved for soccer games, cultural festivals, candlelight vigils and ultimate Frisbee. Fair warning: secondhand highs copped near the refurbished bathroom may have you chasing the helados (ice-cream) cart.