I've driven past Golden Gate park many times on my way up to either Muir Woods or San Rafael and each time I drive through the park I tell myself that I should stop in and visit. On Monday, we decided to visit the park since we had to head up to SF anyway to drop off my sister.
A park of its massive size, I was mentally prepared to have my mind blown by amazing sights. In particular I really wanted to see the Japanese Tea Garden about which seems to be quite lauded.
My mind was blown, blown by how lame it was. Of course there is my usual complaint of many big cities, the difficulty in finding parking, but I can most deal with that if the venue is worthwhile. In this case, it seems as though a majority of this vast park is just set up for people sit on the grass and have a picnic. Ok, well that was a disappointing, but no big deal, a big city needs such parks so that those folks who don't have large backyards can go somewhere to enjoy some grass and toss a Frisbee around. I figured the arboretum and tea garden would be amazing. We walked through the arboretum and that was such disappointment I was questioning if hadn't inadvertently missed it.
And then there was the Japanese Tea Garden. First they claim that the garden is free on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but they still charged $5 on Monday probably because it was a holiday. Fine by me for an amazing tea garden experience. Sadly, that wasn't to be. The garden was small and there really was nothing special about it. No ornately arranged plants, no rock garden, very plain and very boring. About the only mildly interesting thing is this bridge. Now this is the second so called Japanese garden I've been to in the Bay Area which has been a disappointment (the first was Hakone Gardens). Am I just expecting too much? Of course I've seen far better gardens in Tokyo and Osaka but my expectations were definitely not to their level.
So we got bored fairly quickly and decided to head to the Golden Gate bridge and go for a short walk along the bridge. It was one of those rare days where the bay was clear so there was a good view.
Since I didn't get a chance to see the conservatory of flowers this time, I may consider visiting the park again to see the conservatory but my hopes aren't very high.