The Seward Street Slides

Ready to grab a piece of cardboard and fly down some really steep slides?

All set...

For the faint of heart, never fear. It's not nearly as scary as it looks!

One of the hidden treats of San Francisco is tucked away on a steep hill in the Noe Valley neighborhood. Two long, cement slides await the brave.

seward street slides, vertical drop
The Drop

History of the Seward Slides

These slides have passed their 30 year anniversary and are still providing thrills for those who know where to find them. The parallel slides were built in 1973 using a design created by a 14-year-old girl, Kim Clark, who won the design competition for the park. Kim grew up on Seward Street.

This very steep and small piece of San Francisco real estate was headed for an apartment building...104 units!... when the residents took action to change the zoning laws and have the plot of land reserved for a park.

Most of the park is taken up with the slides, with a community garden above it, and little flat area at the bottom.




Tips:

  • Bring a piece of cardboard.
  • Keep your arms inside.
  • Don't go after a recent rain.
  • Check the opening hours.
  • Beware the street cleaning times.


Cardboard

It's much easier to slide down on cardboard. The surface is smooth cement, but clothing will create some friction and therefore some drag. You want to go fast!

The best cardboard shape is a narrowish, maybe a foot wide or a bit wider if you can bend the sides up. The slides are quite narrow. Also, ideally, you want both your bottom and feet on the cardboard, so long enough for that. Some people bring plastic serving trays, but I've never tried one.

There is usually some cardboard there, but not always.

It's not really dangerous - the sides are too high to fall out - but some people do scrape their elbows, so make sure you hold your arms in.

Is it better with or without sand on the slide? The debate continues.

Slide Hours

Open Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 to 5. Closed Mondays.

Park hours are different than slide hours.

When it's closed, it's really closed. They put metal barriers on the slides at intervals, so you can only slide down small sections. Bummer.

Park Hours and Rules

Adults are supposed to be accompanied by children, but many childlike adults go on their own;-)

The Ride

It's a steep climb to the top of the slides, but there are some stairs and railings to help.

The Red or the Yellow? The two slides run parallel, but the yellow one is slightly steeper and faster.


There's sand at the bottom, so the landing is pretty benign. Little kids seemed to shoot off the end, but I came to a stop before that.

The End

My first ride down...

It's fast. What a rush!


Visiting the Seward Slides

It's not that easy to find, stashed away in a maze of winding streets, but it's worth the effort!

Kind of Hidden


Seward Street Slides Map
Seward Street Slides
Map data (c) OpenStreetMap contributors, CC-BY-SA

By Bus

From Downtown SF: You can get to within a couple of blocks of the park from downtown. Take the J-Church Muni Metro from Market Street downtown, get off at 24th Street and Church Street, and catch the 48-Quintara bus. The bus takes you to 21st and Douglass Streets, which is a short walk to the slides (on Seward Street, off Douglass Street, right near 20th Street. See map above.

Parking

There is free, on-street parking in the area. Depending on the time of day, it can be tricky. Just make sure to look for those Street Cleaning signs: big ticket! And turn your wheels on the hills.


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Scroll down for COVID updates.



COVID-19 Status: at midnight on Monday, March 16, San Francisco was placed under a "shelter-in-place order.

All residents were ordered to stay home, except for necessary trips to grocery stores and essential medical visits, and solo outdoor activities like hiking.

The city had been gradually reopening of many businesses and activities, but in December, came under a strict, stay-at-home directive, due to a sudden increase in infection and hospitalization rates.

Most recently, January 28, 2021, SF has moved to a somewhat less restrictive status.

Public transportation options have been cut way back. See SF transit for more info.

See COVID rules for current SF status.

Mask rules: everyone in SF is now required to wear a mask when they are outside and within 30 feet of other people.

Masks must be worn in stores and places of business and people not within the same household must stay 6 feet apart.

SF Curfew still in effect: 10 pm to 5 am.

What is open? Muir Woods, the Botanic Gardens, Golden Gate Park, Japanese Tea Garden, Pier 39, SF beaches, Golden Gate Bridge, and Twin Peaks (by foot or bike) are all open.

Parking lots for SF beaches and the Golden Gate Bridge are open. But the Welcome Center lot and Merchant Road lot are closed.

Restaurants can now be open for outdoor dining, and many restaurants are open for take-out or delivery.

Businesses can allow customers inside, but on a limited, 20% capacity basis (grocery stores 50%).

The SF Zoo is open again.

Alcatraz is closed. They are selling tickets for a few weeks out, but that's iffy. See Alcatraz.

Hair salons, and open air tour buses and boat cruises can now operate.

Indoor museums are closed. Outdoor museums can be open.

Hotels are now accepting reservations from tourists but they have to quarantine in the hotel for 10 days, and non-essential travel is discouraged. Essential workers and locals needing quarantine may also book hotel rooms.

Travel quarantine: Anyone traveling to SF from out of the Bay Area must quarantine for 10 days.

Exploratorium: possibly opening spring 2021.

Playgrounds: open.

Schools: many private schools have begun reopening; SF public schools are still on hold, except for a few charter schools.

On hold: indoor swimming pools and indoor movie theaters are still closed.

Last to open will be concerts, live theater, sporting events, nightclubs and festivals.

Napa and Sonoma county wineries can be open for outdoor wine tasting.

For a handy list of what's open or closed in SF, plus info on what's open in other cities and counties of California, see California reopening schedules.

See coronavirus news in the SF Chronicle for details and updates.

See SF closures timeline.

Most recent Bay Area stay home order.

Also see site and parking lot closures for the National Park Service (Alcatraz, Muir Woods, etc.)

Plus helpful info on which parks and hiking trails are open in the Bay Area.

And to check the air quality (fires) in SF and the Bay Area, see airnow.gov and the SF Chronicle map showing current tests.




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