Three of Washington Square Park’s corners touch quintessential North Beach institutions: Tony’s Pizza, St Peter and Paul Church and Mama’s Homestyle American cooking. The corners are linked by Filbert, Stockton and Union St on which you will find Park Tavern, Original Joes and Goorin Brother Hat store. All the locales surrounding the park are worth visiting but a day is well spent laying on a blanket in the park, reading and people watching.
I spent my first weekends in the city in Washington Square Park and I got my first Californian sunburn there. I didn’t know anyone or anything about San Francisco so I would sit in the middle of the park and just absorb: dreadlocked soccer players practicing juggling while their loud speakers blasting reggae, yuppies laughing through a bottle of wine, a pizza chef in the making honing his craft by tossing a fake ball of dough, young couples picking up their dog’s poo, newlywed couples emerging to fanfare out of Peter and Pauls church. On Sundays there is an art show.
As the day progresses the different groups in the park come together, due partially to the finite amount of space. I remember many times being offered wine and joints from my proximate neighbors in the park. Hanging out in the park was a great introduction to the city and I go back to remind myself of the values I learned there: be open, be friendly, be interesting and relax.
Washington Square Park | Relaxing | Free
Columbus and Union
24 hours daily