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12 votes

Stow Lake

Stow Lake Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California 94118 USA

Free to Visit
Closed Now
Opens Tue 9:30a
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards
  • Wheelchair

“Float around the lake for a breezy day”

Stow Lake is a man-made lake in Golden Gate Park with a rich history that dates back to 1893. The lake has provided San Franciscans with an outdoor escape for more than a century, as they come to enjoy the scenery and allure of the city. Offering hiking and bike trails, Stow Lake is a popular destination for visitors looking to engage in active pursuits in the park. A lazy Sunday afternoon may include a rowboat ride across the waters. Weekend picnicking, wildlife viewing, and even ghost hunting are also favorite endeavors of park visitors. Things to Do at Stow Lake: If you are a San Francisco local and frequent Golden Gate Park, floating or paddling about Stow Lake at least once in your lifetime is a must. Creating endless memories, those who rent a row boat, electric boat or pedal boat from the Stow Lake Boathouse may steal a romantic kiss on the water, catch a glimpse of a waterfall, or treat the kids to an adventurous afternoon. The Boathouse is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day of the week – ready to provide you with a vessel of your choosing. Before you leave, consider taking advantage of the Surrey Quadricycle photo op at the rental center.Bring your lunch and enjoy a picnic in the park while at Stow Lake. Offering eight picnic tables and two BBQ grills, some people also rent the picnic area for family celebrations, parties, and other gatherings. When nature calls, locate the Stow Lake restrooms situated close to the Boathouse. Hungry or thirsty? The onsite café at the Boathouse provides visitors with a cup of coffee, healthy snack, or tasty sandwich. The surrounding bridges, feathered residents, meandering turtles, and other bursts of nature create a wealth of photo opportunities – so don’t forget your camera. For some parents, bringing the kiddies to Golden Gate Park’s Stow Lake is a tradition. Children enjoy walking around the lake and crossing over the bridges to venture throughout Strawberry Hill, which is situated in the center of the lake. The more ambitious outings may include a visit to the historic Pioneer Log Cabin located near John F. Kennedy Drive. Other sights of Stow Lake include endless wildlife, many birds (some of which are on a serious prowl for their next meal), and the bright red colors of the round Chinese pagoda – a gift given to the park from San Francisco’s ‘sister city’ of Taipei. The more daring visitors of Stow Lake might want to stick around as dusk nears to investigate the legend of the White Lady, who is at the center of a more than 100-year ghost tale. In Golden Gate park, a lady was walking her baby in a stroller. As she sat on a bench to rest, she didn’t notice that the stroller had rolled into the lake. She asked everyone she saw if they had seen her baby, and finally went to look in the lake and was never seen again. Urban legend has it that at night, a statue in her honor will come to life and ask you if you’ve seen her baby.

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Stow Lake

Stow Lake Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California
94118 USA


Closed Now
  • Mon - Sat: 9:30 am - 5:00 pm
  • Sun: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

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  • Independent
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Free Parking
  • Yes Parking

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