Wow, life can just get the better of you sometimes. I hadn't realized how stressed out I was, until taking a week off to spend spring break with my kids. It was so nice to detach from the computer and take them camping at the Pinnacles, one of our favorite spots. Plus with no cellular service, I really got a chance to unplug and spend quality time with them. I’m still getting back into my groove, almost there...
Sunday it’s supposed to be 75º in Golden Gate Park. Something we enjoy there is riding out bikes on JFK Drive which is closed to traffic on Sunday’s (except for a shuttle bus and service vehicles). It’s kind of a party on wheels and it’s quite fun to just roll up and down here and see what’s going on. The Rose Garden is a nice stop, pull out the picnic blanket and have a snack. Our favorite spot is the Dahlia garden adjacent to the Conservatory of Flowers, and they should be in bloom now. The last time we visited I had some sidewalk chalk with me and the kids drew giant dahlias on the road surrounding the garden. It was delightful seeing them create their own dahlias as they can come in so many shapes and configurations.
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1-2-3 Things — Bike Sunday in Golden Gate Park
Quick inspiration for a day out with the kids around the SF Bay Area
Ride JFK Drive between Transverse Drive and the Panhandle
Picnic in the Rose Garden
Visit the Dahlia Garden outside of the Conservatory of Flowers
Bike Sunday on JFK Drive
Sundays and all holidays John F Kennedy Drive (JFK) is closed from the East End (Kezar Drive) to Transverse Drive and on Saturdays from April through September, JFK is closed to vehicle traffic (from 8th Ave to Transverse Drive).
This is not only a lovely opportunity to take a leisurely ride through the park, but also a chance to get your kids on an actual road and talk about how to safely ride your bike (without cars). The route isn’t very long (about a mile and a half each direction, roughly 3 miles round trip) and is quite flat, plus there are some nice places to stop along the way and throw down a picnic blanket, blow some bubbles, read a book, or draw with some sidewalk chalk.
We usually park on Transverse Drive, that road just south of the 19th avenue crossover. You might consider bringing a lock with you just in case. This is a pretty leisurely ride and there are just a lot of spots you might want to stop end explore a little.
Picnic in the Rose Garden
We usually enjoy reading all the funny names they have for various roses here, then giving them a sniff. It's nice just to wander through and spend a little time here. Really a nice stop to stop and smell the flowers.
A Visit to the Dahlia Garden
Did you know the dahlia is the official flower of San Francisco. It's little wonder why as dahlias come in such a vibrant array of colors, shapes, and sizes. This is one of our favorite spots, and holds a lot of fond memories.
Located just east of the Conservatory of Flowers (which is also another fun visit), the Dahlia Garden is located outside and free to visit. You can find it at the end of an access road for service vehicles. The garden itself is fenced off, but you can walk around it. Most flowers have labels so you can find their name.
You should also consider chatting about bees with your kids before visiting here. There will be a number of them working here in the garden. There is nothing to worry about, but you will see them and it’s best to set expectations.
The last time we visited, I had some sidewalk chalk with me and the kids ended up drawing a giant dahlia garden on the road around the garden. It was quite cute.
- With the concourse adjacent, you can stop off and enjoy a bit of music at the bandshell, or check out the various statues, fountains, and tunnels.
- The De Young has free areas (and a bathroom) like the cafe, sculpture garden and tower which are all lovely spots to visit. You will have to lock up your bikes though.
- The Japanese Tea Garden is always a lovely visit too, stop and draw some pictures, or enjoy a nice cuppa tea.
- Taking a detour to Stow Lake is always fun, I’ll be doing a letter on that one soon.
- Sharon Meadow, Hippy Hill, the Carousel, and Children's Playground are right by the end of JFK Drive (east end). Grab a piece of cardboard and head down the cement slides, or take a turn on the carousel.
- Have a peek at the lawn bowling club - its actually fascinating to watch.
- The 6th Avenue Skating place is a nice spot to stop and watch people have a lot of fun too.
- Parking on Transverse Drive just west of the 19th avenue crossover usually works out well for us - it really depends on how nice of a day it is and how early you get there.