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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Tourism for Locals: Where the Redwoods Grow

Posted By on Thu, Feb 6, 2014 at 9:55 AM

The Urban Equivalent to the Secret Garden with Redwoods. - JUAN DE ANDA/SF WEEKLY
  • Juan De Anda/SF Weekly
  • The Urban Equivalent to the Secret Garden with Redwoods.

Ever just want to get away from it all?

As much as we love our city, sometimes the urban jungle can be exhausting and tedious. For those looking for an escape to a tranquil environment during the work day, but can't afford to take time off from their jobs, don't worry, there's spot to take a break from it all.

Visit this little haven that has been an oasis for white-collar workers at lunch time since its construction in 1972. It's located right next to the tallest building in our skyline and features the biggest trees in the world (and our state tree): the Transamerica Pyramid Redwood Park.

Nestled in the heart of the Financial District, Redwood Park is a unique juxtaposing feature to the Transamerica Pyramid: An intimate, half-acre redwood grove nestled among steel and concrete structures.

According to the Transamerica Pyramid Center, a total of 51 redwoods where transplanted there from the Santa Cruz Mountains (60 miles to the south of the City).

Peeking through the redwoods. - JUAN DE ANDA/SF WEEKLY
  • Juan De Anda/SF Weekly
  • Peeking through the redwoods.

The towering trunks of these native California trees dominate the park designed by Tom Galli. And although this kind of tree thrives with foggy weather, they are not to be found anywhere else near the FiDi (on a weekend, you can check out the grove in Golden Gate Park).

In areas where these massive trees are found, the branches create an atmospheric area that tends to be a few degrees cooler than areas outside of their reach, and brings about a serene air for those who are enveloped in their embrace. Ferns, boulders and a winding walkway add to the tranquility of this urban space.

At the center entrance of the park, a fountain and pond complete with jumping frog sculptures designed by Anthony Guzzardo, create a focal point in the gathering space. According the Pyramid Center, it was created in remembrance of Mark Twain, who for a time lived and wrote on this site of the legendary Montgomery Block, an office building and bohemian center that thrived from 1853 to 1959.

Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jack London, among others all wrote there, and also drank in the ground-floor saloon that later became the site for our iconic skyscraper.

The great canine mascots of SF. - JUAN DE ANDA/SF WEEKLY
  • Juan De Anda/SF Weekly
  • The great canine mascots of SF.

Yes, all great authors; however, you won't be seeing any plaques commemorating these men. On the contrary, the honor goes to man's best friend(s): Bummer and Lazarus.

The plaque in the park honors two amicable stray dogs that roamed the area in the 1860s and were the unofficial mascots of the San Francisco. Truly local celebrities because even journalists at the time followed the mutts along and reported Bummer and Lazarus's misdeeds, adventures, and eventual deaths.

Doesn't this park seem like a great escape from reality? But there's one huge disclaimer that must be made aware.

Do remember that this is a privately owned park and that it only remains open during regular business hours of the offices housed in the pyramid. So at nightfall, and weekends, the massive wrought-iron gates are sealed -- and the redwood oasis is closed off from the public.

Yet, don't let that hold you back from exploring this cool, hidden gem that lies in one of the heart of the City, districts and next to one of the most photographed locations in the Bay.

Plus you'll for sure get some great Instagram shots here (no filter needed!). Take deep breathes and snap away.

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF, Juan at @JuanPDeAnda, and like us on Facebook

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About The Author

Juan De Anda

Juan De Anda

Juan De Anda is a cultural correspondent with a concentration in tourism, literature, and lifestyle and has been writing for SF Weekly since 2013. As an avid traveler, he enjoys discovering destinations abroad as well as the never-ending hidden gems of San Francisco. #DondeAndaJuanDeAnda?


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