One of the most accurate descriptions of Dolores Park that I’ve heard is that it’s basically just an outside bar. It’s two full city blocks of hipsters with their beloved bikes, hoola hoops and slacklines and endless amounts of skin. This hub of lenient sexuality is the epitome of the Mission, and its epicenter in the summer. Bottom line: it’s the best people watching anywhere.
To the outsider it may seem like utter mayhem. On the hottest of days every single patch of green is covered in blankets, coolers, bikes, Bi-Rite shopping bags and tiny dogs. There’s a food truck parked in the middle of the park, and people are everywhere. Everywhere. To the Dolo connoisseur, however, you could map it out like a high school cafeteria. You can accurately describe to your friends where you’re sitting not based on landmarks, but what “section” you’re in…but I’m not telling you what they are. They’re better learned by experience.
Personally, I recommend that you get there before 1 pm. Get yourself a primo spot, set up shop with your blanket, beverages and snacks, and watch all the hungover people roll in wearing their skinny jeans and neon sunglasses. You’ll get to see the random band(s) set up full drum kits, slacklines strung up between palm trees and whatever else people brought to show off.
The park is located between 18th and 20th streets on Dolores. Keep in mind that parking is at a premium so I encourage you to ride your bicycle or vintage Vespa or whatever.
A few words of wisdom for the Dolores Park novice: 1) No matter how hot it is at 1pm, it will always be cold when the sun goes down. Bring a hoodie. 2) Bring something to sit on – Dolores is also a dog park. Just saying. 3) Don’t forget sunblock. And 4) Bring more snacks and drinks than you think you’ll need; sharing is caring.
Dolores Park [Map]
Between 18th and 20th streets on Dolores