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 was 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.

Since then, Covid numbers had dropped significantly, but recently started rising again.

Big changes arrived June 15, 2021: California is "fully reopened", meaning all business sectors will reopen to full or almost full capacity, including concerts, stadium sports and festivals. SF is basically open, though somewhat more cautious in some regards.

As of August 20, 2021, almost 80% of eligible SF residents have been fully vaccinated.

Vaccine requirements: Starting August 20, 2021, SF requires that all restaurants, bars, theaters and gyms check for proof of full vaccination.

Documents accepted: paper or digital vaccination records.

See SF Chron article re: vaccination.

Public transportation options had been cut back, but are expanding again. See SF transit for more info.

The cable cars are running again and are free during August! In September, they will resume full (paid) service, starting with the Powell-Hyde Line, and the other 2 lines to follow after.

See COVID rules for current SF status.

Mask rules: another change, starting August 3, 2021. Everyone is now required to wear a mask indoors in SF, whether vaccinated or not. People may go without masks outdoors unless the area is densely populated. Hospitals, schools, nursing homes and public transit, still require masks./p>

What is open? Muir Woods, the Botanic Gardens, Golden Gate Park, Japanese Tea Garden, Pier 39, SF beaches, Golden Gate Bridge, and Twin Peaks (car access on Portola, main parking lot open) are all open.

Parking lots for SF beaches, Twin Peaks, and the Golden Gate Bridge are open, including the Welcome Center lot.

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

Bars that serve food can serve customers indoors.

Businesses can allow customers inside, up to full capacity. Malls are open.

The SF Zoo is open again.

Offices can reopen up to full capacity.

Alcatraz is open. The Day Tours and Night Tours are running on a somewhat reduced basis. The Cell Block is open also. See Alcatraz.

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

Indoor museums are open, including the CA Academy of Sciences.

Travel to SF. Per the California Dept. of Public Health: non-essential travel to SF from outside California is discouraged but the quarantine requirements are no longer in effect.

Unvaccinated travelers are urged to get tested before and after arrival, and to self-quarantine for 7 days, but this isn't mandatory.

"Non-essential travel" basically means tourism.

Hotels are accepting reservations, but travelers are urged to limit contact with others in the hotel.

Exploratorium: open.

Playgrounds: open.

Indoor swimming pools are open to fullcapacity.

Schools: private schools are open. SF public schools started in-person learning for elementary students April 12. Older grades: negotiations are ongoing. Hopefully all grade levels will be open for in-person fall classes. Masks will be required for students in SF public schools in the fall.

Indoor gyms and indoor movie theaters are open to full capacity.

Indoor concerts, live theater, and sporting events, may open at full capacity. For indoor gatherings of >5,000, proof of vaccination will be required.

Outdoor events for >10,000: may require proof of vaccination or negative test, but aren't required to.

Check individual events for requirements.

Napa and Sonoma county wineries are open.

For a handy list of what's open or closed, in California, see California reopening schedules.

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

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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