An Urban Hiker's Guide to SF: Five Cool Spots to Explore on Foot

Posted by Hunter Franks


It’s easy to miss the hidden wonders of San Francisco in the daily bustle of the urban metropolis. Last month, the GOOD San Francisco team got people together to slow things down to the original mode of transportation—walking.

More 50 participants from all over the Bay Area embarked on a three-mile urban hike. We partnered with Field Trip, a location-based mobile app that helps you engage with the physical world around you, by exposing intriguing, sometimes quirky, and always interesting tidbits about your environment. Together, we learned about hidden spots and posted signs prompting our fellow San Franciscans to explore this great city by foot. Below, five cool spots we discovered.

An urban garden with a 86-ton boulder
Located at 199 Fremont Street, this urban garden is a collaboration between a landscape architect, conceptual sculptor Paul Kos, and poet Robert Hass. A poem from Hass can be found engraved on the garden wall. Sierra granite is seen throughout the landscape, as is a 86-ton boulder, smaller boulders, and rough blocks at sitting height, while a fountain drips into a circular basin. If you enter through Fremont Street, you'll find a beautiful collection of birch trees.

The Ferry Building
When it was built in 1898, the Ferry Building clock was the largest wind-up, mechanical dial clock in the world. From here, it is a 15-minute walk to downtown. Or you can hop on a ferry and explore the wonders across the Bay.



Plaza at 555 Mission Street
A playful sculpture dominates this plaza that extends between Mission and Minna Streets. While it's paved mostly in black granite, when you're facing Minna Street, you get a beautiful contrast of green Ginko trees with wooden benches underneath.

The San Francisco Railway Museum
Did you know famed poet Maya Angelou was a Market Street Railway conductor at age 16? You can learn the amazing history of SF’s historic rail vehicles at the San Francisco Railway Museum, only a 15-minute walk from downtown. More cool facts like this one await anyone who visits this unique museum.



Lotta Fountain
According to Atlas Obscura, the Lotta Foundain, which can be found at the corner of Market, Geary and Kearny streets in San Francisco, "is a twenty-four foot cast iron sculpture, painted bronze and adorned with lion's heads, griffins, and other ornaments. The fountain has survived earthquakes, fires and attempts to move it to Golden Gate Park, and in the process has become San Francisco's oldest surviving monument. In many ways the fountain, which has played a central role in many of the city's greatest events, tells the story of San Francisco itself."

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