While you’ll be running through the Golden Gate Park during the marathon or half marathon, there’s so much to see and do here that it’s worth coming back and spending some time relaxing or going to one of the museums or attractions located within the park.
Golden Gate Park is a 1,017-acre park located on the west side of San Francisco, and it is often compared to Central Park in New York, except that Golden Gate Park is 20 percent larger. The park truly offers something for everyone, including the De Young Museum (fine arts museum with a sculpture garden), California Academy of Sciences, Conservatory of Flowers and a rich history of San Francisco. It’s a great place for a picnic and relaxing afternoon the day after the race. There are 10 lakes to enjoy, a carousel and playgrounds for the kids, windmills and a tulip garden, a buffalo paddock and even a restaurant with an ocean view.
A favorite destination within the park is the Japanese Tea Garden. It is the oldest public Japanese garden in the United States, and it was built in 1894 to showcase a Japanese village for the California World’s Fair. With its incredible variety of plants, trees, shrubs, water features, bridges, and Japanese structures, the garden is a must-see wonder when you’re in San Francisco. And yes, you can extend your time at the garden by enjoying tea or a light meal at the tea house. (How to get to the Japanese Tea Garden.)
I have been trail running in the Bay Area for most of my life, growing up in the East Bay at the foothills of Mt. Diablo. After being a mostly short and mid-distance runner my whole life, I recently turned to marathon training. I’m hoping to tackle the San Francisco Marathon, among others, in 2019. In the meantime, training and competing in 10Ks and half marathon races take up most of my time.