In neighborhoods throughout San Francisco, our iconic public parklets are a breath of fresh air for a city lacking space.
In the nine years since SF got its OG parklet—in front of now-closed Mojo Bicycle Cafe on Divisadero—the city has gained an additional 51 pocket-sized sidewalk parks, each with its own design and flair. Now these beautified former parking places are an integral part of city life here, offering free spaces to gather, to showcase local art and design, and to encourage San Franciscans to take a break outside.
It all started by in 2005, when design studio Rebar converted a parking spot to a mini-park for a day, making the case for converting underused public spaces into citizen-friendly hangouts. The folks at San Francisco Public Works got inspired, and in 2010, opened the first trail parklet as part of the Pavement to Parks Program. The success of this project has since inspired an international movement, with cities across the globe converting parking spots into petite parks.
Camp out with a book, chill with your dog, or catch up with friends—here are 10 of our favorite parklets in SF.
Rotating Art Outside Luna Rienne
Luna Rienne Gallery's parklet (3318 22cd St., Mission) is the perfect spot to soak up the sun and check out a rotating outdoor art exhibit. While the parklet currently features individually cut and painted planters and seating designed by Reuben Rude, past installations have included everything from a 3D cityscape mural to recycled bean bag chairs.
Catch a Drift at Trouble Coffee
While scoring a place to sit in this scavenged driftwood-filled parklet on a Saturday morning is no easy feat, ogling at throngs of the city's cutest dogs and children makes the crowds worth it. A piece of Trouble Coffee's (4033 Judah St., Outer Sunset) $4 buttery cinnamon sugar goodness doesn't hurt either.
Dinosaur's Digs at the "Deeplet"
Home to a succulent triceratops, SF's only residential parklet, known as the Deepistan National Parklet, located in front of a picture perfect Victorian (945 Valencia St., Mission) is worth a gander. You'll find occasional events at the "Deeplet"—the home owner even had his wedding there—and the lush greenery and extra sidewalk space provide relief on a particularly crowded block of Valencia.
Vintage Van Vibes at Rapha
Steps away from the Marina's most popping bars and restaurants, this 'gramable 21 foot long vintage Citroen van is a great place to recharge. Despite its controversial history—it was first installed by cycle shop Rapha (2198 Filbert St., Cow Hollow) in 2013 before an official permit was issued, and neighboring shopkeepers were split on the eye catching design—the whimsical parklet is now a well loved, permitted Cow Hollow fixture.
Réveille Coffee's Skyline Front Seating
Catch views of Downtown SF from this spacious parklet, located outside of Réveille Coffee (200 Columbus Ave., North Beach). Three tiers of modern wood seating perfectly compliment sloping Columbus Street and the city's stunning skyline. If you're looking to get some work done outside, you'll find chairs protected by large umbrellas to block out the sun, while the benches are the ideal spot to catch up with friends over coffee.
Stylish Stools at Museum of Craft and Design
On the days where stubborn Karl refuses to burn off anywhere in the city except Dogpatch, be sure to pay this stylish parklet housed by the Museum of Craft and Design (2569 3rd St., Dogpatch) a visit. A sleek bench, white stools, succulents, and pop of lime green compliment the industrial setting and create the perfect spot to watch museum patrons come and go. For some free outdoor fun, check out museum events held at the parklet, including this month's MAKE party.
Fools Errand's OG Parklet
Pay a visit to the parklet that started it all! SF's original parklet, installed in 2010, still stands and maintains the same positive vibes that first sparked the parking spots to patios movement. Grab a beer from Fools Errand (607 Divisadero St., NoPa)—the replacement for the parklet's original host, Mojo Bicycle Cafe—and enjoy the views of constantly changing NoPa before heading to a hot new nearby eatery.
Wondrous Wheels at Four Barrel Coffee
At this point it feels like basically every hipster coffee joint in the city has their own parklet, but this structural one hosted by Four Barrel Coffee (375 Valencia St., Mission) is not to be missed. Featuring a standing bike rack as an integral part of the design, this parklet is as functional as it is visually pleasing. The many barstools make for an ideal people watching perch on a sunny day or spot to hang at while you wait for a table to open up at one of Valencia Street's many eateries.
Ocean Avenue's Rolling Parklet
The perfect place for a solo outing, this pint sized parklet, designed by students at Youth Art Exchange, features wooden bench seating and a colorful railing that will brighten Ocean Avenue's foggiest days—and provides an optimal reading spot. The best part? As the city's only parklet on wheels, it moves to a new Ocean Avenue location (Ocean Ave., Ingleside) every six months.
Architectural Excellence Outside Farm : Table
While Post Street may not be the first spot that comes to mind for chill outdoor seating, this sleek, geometric parklet will make you reconsider. Slanted wood benches make for optimal lounging, while the parklet's red-accents and succulent gardens provide eye candy. Bonus points if you snag one of Farm : Table's (754 Post St., TenderNob) signature fruit topped toasts.