Ready to grab a piece of cardboard and fly down some really steep slides?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Adults are supposed to be accompanied by children, but many childlike adults go on their own;-)
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.
It's fast. What a rush!
It's not that easy to find, stashed away in a maze of winding streets, but it's worth the effort!
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.
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.