Map & Guide to San Francisco’s Best Dog Parks

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Tennis balls encrusted with wood shavings. Sticks to fight. Runny water bowls. Packs of socializing canines and humans. These are the marks of a great dog play area – and San Francisco has one for every square mile of land in the city.

In a city where dogs outnumber children, it’s no wonder San Francisco Recreation and Park operates 31 official dog parks that sport a variety of features, including fenced play areas, separate areas for small dogs, large stretches for large dogs, agility classes, seating and more.

Plus, the city has plenty of informal gathering spots in the dog and owner neighborhoods for leash socializing and long waterfront beaches for even more opportunities to stretch your legs.

Dog owners let their dogs roam free in the Alamo Square playground in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. | Morgan Ellis / The Standard

“These are our children and we care deeply about them,” said Kelly Edwards, parent of “Henry” and a regular at the Alamo Square dog play area where he chats with other owners and hands out gifts. treats to other puppies. “We appreciate a city that is so inclusive in so many ways, one of them being with dogs.”

Looking to expand your pup’s playgroup or fancy a change of scenery? Zoom in on our map of nearly 50 owner-approved play locations and read on to learn more about The Standard’s favorite dog parks.

The Standard Guide to San Francisco Dog Parks and Playgrounds

Alamo Square Dog Playground

After taking in views of the Painted Ladies from Alamo Square, stroll the beautifully landscaped trails to the opposite side of the park, where there’s a grassy hill that dogs can explore off-leash. This place has a tight-knit community of familiar faces – both human and canine – and visitors express a love not only for their own dogs, but for other members of the dog-owning community as well.

Bernal Heights Dog Park

Hike over 35 acres of grass and rolling trails at the top of Bernal Hill. Let the pups rumble as you take in panoramic views of the city and bay.

Dogs run and play with their owners at the Duboce Park playground in San Francisco, Calif., Wednesday, July 20, 2022. | Morgan Ellis / The Standard

Duboce Dog Park

Located between Duboce Triangle and Lower Haight, Duboce Dog Park reserves ample grass play space for off-leash dogs and provides the perfect setting for puppies to frolic and dog lovers to mingle. The crowd of dog owners represents the neighborhood perfectly, with a mix of families, hipsters, home office workers and other locals, which also makes for great people watching.

Dog owners and their dogs enjoy Francisco Dog Park in San Francisco, Calif., Friday, July 22, 2022. | Juliana Yamada / The Standard

Francisco Park

Fully fenced, Pepi’s Park Dog Run is part of the new Francisco Park, just one block from the Hyde and Bay cable car stop. Once the city’s first reservoir, it has been transformed into a vibrant community space at Russian Hill. Just steps from Ghirardelli Square and the marina, this playground offers lush green grass, benches and water fountains where you can watch both your dog and the classic cable cars.

Dog owners and their dogs enjoy Golden Gate Dog Park in San Francisco, Calif., Monday, July 25, 2022. | Juliana Yamada / The Standard

UN Plaza Dog Park

The all-new UN Plaza Dog Run is perfect for zipping around the Civic Center. Opened in April, the fully fenced playground is nicely shaded and offers easy access to croissants from the downtown branch of the legendary Boulangerie Arsicault nearby.

Golden Gate Park Dog Training Area

During the day, around 60-70 dogs run around the training area. Later in the evening, the crowd thins out and a small group of dog owners occupy the benches and picnic tables. These dogs and their respective owners are regulars, with many coming to the park twice a day. This constant socialization has produced friendships for both dogs and owners. Mary Liljedahl, who frequently brings her dogs to the park, points out that the park is an important community for people and dogs, with events like “Yappy Hour” and volunteer days.

One of four official dog play areas in Golden Gate Park, the training area underwent a $2.4 million renovation in 2021 thanks to a grant from the State of Natural Resources Agency of California. The facelift includes two fenced areas, new play surfaces, play equipment like boulders and climbing challenges as well as plenty of seating and water fountains for pets.

McLaren Shelley Dog Playground

McLaren Park serves dogs on the south side of town with two off-leash dog play areas. One is a huge 60 acre nature area with trails located inside the John Shelley Drive loop. The second is a smaller 1.8 acre parcel of space in the southeast corner near the community garden and sports fields.

Dog walkers using the Fort Funston trails in San Francisco, Calif., Wednesday, July 20, 2022. | Morgan Ellis / The Standard

Fort Funston

An adventurous duo’s dream, Fort Funston offers a variety of terrain ultimately leading to the beach with sand ready to dig in and ocean ready to splash. There are over 35 acres of trails, dunes and open spaces that make for a unique experience with every visit – dog walker Kelly Martinez says she visits five days a week! See if you can spot some of the graffiti-covered military bunkers and other structures dotted around the area.

Additional contributions by Juliana Yamada.

Editor’s note: The original description of the Golden Gate Dog Training Area has been revised to reflect the current use of dog play areas.

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