Best Park With a View - 2006
Sutro Heights Park
Of course, Golden Gate Park is our fair city's grandest chunk of green space; that's a no-brainer. And Stern Grove, with its descending trails and massive dog park, is pretty darn sweet as well. (Wouldn't it have been cool to have caught the Jefferson Airplane live in the grove back in those hippie days?) But only one city park possesses a sweeping view that takes in both the Western coastline (Ocean Beach, the Marin Headlands, Seal Rock) and Golden Gate Park, and that's Sutro. Built in the late 19th century by one-time S.F. Mayor Adolph Sutro who also built the Cliff House and Sutro Baths the 18-acre park used to be the grounds surrounding his home and greenhouse conservatory, but all that remains is the exquisitely crafted landscape, a fantastical geometry of Romanesque statues, an old stone foundation, and exotic flora. A picnic in this park near sunset feels like a scene out of some sci-fi flick set amid crumbling Atlantean ruins overrun with thick, tangled vines and seductively anthropomorphic flowers.