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.
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, 2020, came under a strict, stay-at-home directive, due to a sudden increase in infection and hospitalization rates.
Since then, Covid numbers dropped significantly, but rose again when Omicron hit, then dropped again. They are fairly low now.
Big changes coming June 15 California was "fully reopened", meaning all business sectors reopened to full or almost full capacity, including concerts, stadium sports and festivals. SF since then has been basically open, though somewhat more cautious in some regards than other locations.
Vaccine requirements: as of March 9, 2022. SF no longer requires that restaurants, bars, theaters and gyms check for proof of vaccination, but they can choose to require it, so check each venue individually.
Documents accepted: paper or digital vaccination records.
Mask rules: as of February 28, 2022, no one is now required to wear a mask indoors in SF, whether vaccinated or not. Hospitals, nursing homes and public transit, still require masks.
As of March 28, 2022, over 88% of SF residents have been fully vaccinated.
Public transportation options have been cut back, but are expanding again. See SF transit for more info. Masks are still required of everyone on public transit (federal law), but not vaccination or test results.
The cable cars are running again.
What is open? Muir Woods, the Botanic Gardens, Golden Gate Park, Japanese Tea Garden, Pier 39, SF beaches, Golden Gate Bridge, most museums, and Twin Peaks (car access on Portola) 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 as well as outdoor dining, and many restaurants are open for take-out or delivery. /p>
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.
Alcatraz is open.The Day Tours, Night Tours and Behind the Scene Tours are running now. The Cell Block is open also.
No proof of vaccination is required for the Alcatraz tours. Masking only for the boat over, the dock area and indoor areas. 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: There are no quarantine requirements for travelers to SF.
Hotels are accepting reservations, but travelers are urged to limit contact with others in the hotel.
Masks are required inside the SF airport.
Indoor swimming pools are open to full capacity.
Schools: public and private schools are open. SF public schools started in-person learning for all students last fall (2021). Masks are no longer required for students in SF public or private schools.
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 >1,000, proof of vaccination or negative Covid test 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.
See Covid rules for current SF status (April 2022).
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.
Also see site closures for the National Park Service (Alcatraz, Muir Woods, etc.)
And to check the air quality (fires) in SF and the Bay Area, see airnow.gov.
Get the latest tips on visiting San Francisco.