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San Francisco – Inner Sunset Start

August 14, 2009

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View of the Inner Sunset from the deYoung Tower

View of the Inner Sunset from the deYoung Tower

San Francisco: Inner Sunset – Panhandle – Golden Gate Park

Starting Point: 9th Ave & Lincoln Way

Access: Public Transit: #71, N-Judah, #6, #43, #44

Distance: 4 miles

Water Fountains: 4

Restrooms: 4

Starting at 9th & Lincoln run east on the south side of Lincoln Way.

Inner Sunset

Pedestrian Traffic: Light

You are running in the Inner Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco.  The area was generally developed around the turn of the century when residents of San Francisco began moving westward with the construction of Golden Gate Park and the California Midwinter Fair held in 1894 in the park.

After the 1906 earthquake the development of the Sunset neighborhood boomed as previous residents of San Francisco needed new, affordable housing away from the devastated downtown area.  Henry Doelger a major real estate developer and contractor of the first part the 20th century and largely responsible for developing large tracts of land in the Sunset districts grew up just one block south of where you are, at 7th Ave. & Hugo St.  His main office was located on Judah St. between 8th & 9th Ave. just a few blocks from here.

Continue running onto Fredrick St., keeping to the right as Lincoln and Frederick split.

Up the hill to your left is the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).  This is one of the top research universities in the US.  If you are looking for a great view of the city check out the UCSF library overlooking Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, and the Golden Gate Bridge.

If you cross over to the left side of the road you will be running past Kezar Stadium.  This is a great public track, if you are looking to get in a track workout while in town.  But try to avoid after-school hours as some of the local schools use it for practices and games.

Kezar Stadium was built in 1925 and through the years has been the home of the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland

Kezar Stadium

Kezar Stadium

Raiders.  In 2001 it was officially renamed Bob St. Clair Field after a former member of the 49-ers and native San Franciscan.  Through his high school, college and pro career St. Clair played 189 games on this field.

**Water Fountains and Restrooms are located inside the track**

The next street you come to will be Stanyan.  Cross the street and turn left, running north on Stanyan.

Just past the McDonald’s on your right is Haight St. This is one f the most liberal neighborhoods in San Francisco and home to the hippie movement of the late 1960s.

The Panhandle

Pedestrian Traffic: Light – Medium

The Panhandle - View from Stanyan

The Panhandle - View from Stanyan

Continue running straight until you reach Oak St. Oak and Fell streets make up one of the main East-West thoroughfares of SF, with timed lights it makes it possible to drive from Golden Gate Park to downtown within a matter of minutes. It is a very busy street so be careful crossing to the middle where the Panhandle is located.

Run east on the Panhandle taking the path to your right.  To the right of you is the Haight District.  Originally developed in the late 1800s as a resort and vacation spot for San Franciscans, today it is home to many trendy retailers and thrift shops.

To your left in the park was the location of the Summer of Love in 1967.  Over 100,000 young people flocked to San Francisco that summer.  Scorning commercialization you could find free music, food and drugs in the neighborhood.  The summer culminated with the staged funeral of ‘hippie’, sending many of the young people back to their homes with new ideas and trends that would change the world.

**There are restrooms and water fountains located near the basketball courts in the middle of the park – you will run by them twice on this run**

Run to the end of the panhandle on Baker St., turning left, and left again running back on the other side of the park (along Fell St.)

The panhandle is named such because of its appearance as a handle to Golden Gate Park on the SF map. The original plan for Golden Gate park encompassed an area stretching from City Hall (Civic Center) to Ocean Beach, but because of resident protest, land purchases, and city ordinances the Panhandle became the eastern most part of the park and is significantly less wide than the rest of the park.

William Hammond Hall was the first superintendant of Golden Gate Park.  Because the western parts of the city were originally all sand dunes, he had a particularly challenging task of finding plants that could grow in the terrain.  It is interesting to note that Frederick Law Olmstead was originally called to design the park, but called the task impossible.  In 1870 Hall began work on the Panhandle.  He used this area as an experimental ground to find the ideal plants and trees to be used in the rest of the park.  He finally settled on the Eucalyptus tree as a staple of the park because of its quick growth and shallow roots that allowed it to thrive in the terrain of the area.  You can often smell the sweet Eucalyptus trees while running through this area.

Continue running straight until you reach the end of the Panhandle at Stanyan.  Cross Fell St. (to your right) then cross Stanyan.  Run straight, keeping to the right.  You will enter Golden Gate Park on John F. Kennedy Dr., the northern thoroughfare of the park.  This street is closed Saturday and Sunday during the summer months, creating a safe place for San Franciscans to enjoy the outdoors.

Golden Gate Park

Pedestrian Traffic: Light – Medium

Coming up on your right is the Conservatory of Flowers.  Built in 1878, this was the first structure constructed in

Conservatory of Flowers - GG Park

Conservatory of Flowers - GG Park

Golden Gate Park.  It is currently the oldest wood and glass conservatory in the United States.  The garden houses four permanent exhibits with rotating plants so that you will always see plants in bloom.  Open 9-5 Tuesday – Sunday, admission is $5, with free admission the first Tuesday of each month.

Much of the eastern part of the park was developed as a result of the 1894 Midwinter Fair.  Samuel deYoung initially proposed the fair to boost the depressed economy of the 1890s.  Modeling the fair after the Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893, deYoung realized that many of the exhibits could easily be transported, reused, or recreated in San Francisco, putting together the fair in just six months.  The fair brought people from around the world to San Francisco, and created jobs for thousands of locals.  The fair not only included exhibits from around the world, but also highlighted all that California had to offer with exhibits from all California counties.

In front of you, on your left you will see the deYoung Museum.  Cross JFK Dr. and take the road just before the museum (Tea Garden Dr.).

deYoung Museum from the Music Concourse

deYoung Museum from the Music Concourse

This museum is deYoung Museum, named after Samuel deYoung.  The original building was built for the Midwinter Fair of 1894 in Egyptian style architecture.  You can still see the two sphinxes in front of the museum, from the original fine arts building of the fair.  The current building opened in 2005 after seven years of fundraising, planning and negotiation.  $190 million dollars of private funds were raised to build the new deYoung and it is the largest cultural gift made in San Francisco history.  Particularly interesting are the large collections of African and Oceanic art located on the second floor.  You should also check out the tower, which is always free to the public and open until 8pm most days during the summer.  The entire museum is always free the first Tuesday of the month.

Across the way is the California Academy of Science.  Originally built in 1916, the museum just reopened in the fall of 2008.  This is a great museum to check out for young and old.  It includes a green roof, planetarium, rainforest, and aquarium.  Check out the Thursday night Nightlife event for a 21+ event for just $10 and access to the entire museum.  The museum is always free on the third Wednesday of every month, but make sure you get there by 10am or you will end up waiting in line.

Between the two museums is the Music Concourse.  This served as the Grand Court of the 1894 Midwinter Fair.  Located here is the Spreckels Temple of Music Bandstand.  This is the third bandstand that has been located in the park, built in 1900.  It is the home of the Golden Gate Park Band, playing free concerts in the park since 1882.  You can still find them here every Sunday afternoon.

**You can find drinking fountains and restrooms inside the de Young museum as well as behind the Bandstand**

As you continue down Tea Garden Dr. you will see the Japanese Tea Garden to your right.  This was originally one of the Midwinter Fair exhibits, but has grown into a permanent fixture of Golden Gate Park.  Admission is $4, but you can get in free from 9-10am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Take a left and cross the next street you come to.  This is Martin Luther King Dr. Run straight here until you reach 9th and Lincoln.

Inside the Botanical Gardens

Inside the Botanical Gardens

On your right you will see the Botanical Gardens.  Originally laid out in the 1890s by park supervisor John McLaren, funding was insufficient to begin construction until Helene Strybing willed funds in 1926. The arboretum officially opened in May 1940.  You can find free guided tours every day at 1:30pm and weekends at both 10:30am and 1:30pm.

You have now reached the end of you run at 9th and Lincoln.  Hope you have enjoyed your run and your time in San Francisco.

**Water Fountains and Restrooms are available just outside the Botanical Gardens**

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Colby Jones permalink
    August 18, 2009 4:10 PM

    Love the historical facts and water-fountain locater! Hey, have you thought of doing…I don’t know… maybe an Outer Richmond run? Perhaps, the beautiful trails along the coast at Land’s End? 😉

  2. August 20, 2009 1:07 PM

    I am so thankful to know that there are 4 bathrooms on this run. Thank you cityruntours. You never cease to amaze me and aid me in my time of need.

  3. Amireh permalink
    March 16, 2010 4:05 PM

    This morning was my first time ever do a running tour. WOW! It was amazing. First of all, it took my mind off the pain – 4 miles never went by so quickly. And Erin was so knowledgeable, filling us in on the history of the area and pointing out cool landmarks. I totally want to run the rest of the city with City Run Tours!

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