Stern Grove is known for its free summer concerts that date back to 1938, but few people are aware of the beauty and other amenities offered by this secluded urban park. By foot, descend into the park from the corner of 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard via the nature trail along the southern hillside.
What Makes It Great
Towering eucalyptus trees sway back and forth and litter the ground with their button-like seeds; it’s easy to imagine that you’ve suddenly been transported to a jungle. Soon enough, the trees clear away and East Meadow, Trocadero Clubhouse, and eventually the Concert Meadow come into view. Continue west, past these features, to the grassy off-leash play area where dogs of all shapes and sizes are found chasing each other. A paved path along the perimeter of this field will guide you toward Pine Lake (also called Laguna de la Puerca). You may choose to circle the lake or shorten your walk by simply walking a circuit around the dog area. Pine Lake offers shelter to Canadian geese, mallards, and other nesting birds so please don't disrupt them and keep your dog on leash or in the dog play area. Make a stop or two along the lake to enjoy the songbirds melodies. You may exit the park on the furthest west side, beyond the lake, where a gravel road will bring you onto Wawona Street. Otherwise, finish up by walking the southern edge of dog playfield to return to the smaller parking lot. The entire loop from the park’s southeast entrance, including the walk around Pine Lake, is just under 2 miles.
Who is Going to Love It
A perfect place for city folk to duck away from the busy San Francisco streets. Come here to perform yoga or tai-chi outside; play a game of tennis, croquet or frisbee; have your pup play in the off-leash dog area; treat your children to a playground amid fragrant eucalyptus trees; roll out a blanket and sunbathe.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Stern Grove is located in San Francisco at the intersection of 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard, about 6 miles from downtown. Find directions to the park via public transportation, bike, and car here. There are two parking lots inside Stern Grove which have plentiful available spot outside festival and weekend days. The smaller lot is the first right off of 19th avenue via the Stern Grove Entry Road. It has roughly 25 spots and both East Meadow and Trocado Clubhouse are easily accessible. A second lot is located in the middle of the park. Go west on Sloat Blvd and turn right onto Vale Ave. Pass the gates to enter the lot. You may also find parking along a section of Sloat Blvd on the southeastern edge of the park. Tennis courts are located on a flat area along Sloat Blvd.