Stow Lake: Our most recommended tours and activities

California Academy of Sciences Thursday NightLife Admission

1. California Academy of Sciences Thursday NightLife Admission

Explore the nocturnal side of the California Academy of Sciences, the only place on Earth with an aquarium, planetarium, rainforest, and natural history museum. Experience these exhibits and more during Thursday’s festive 21+ only NightLife event, and sip on wine, beer, or a unique specialty cocktail available for purchase at bars throughout the museum. Get the party started with cool science and new unique themes every month. With live DJs, bars, ambiance lighting, and nearly 60,000 live animals (including familiar faces like Claude, our alligator with albinism), the night is sure to be wild. Meet the newest African penguin chicks, Pogo and Ozzie and the rest of the colony of playful penguins in African Hall. Catch the latest immersive show in the 75-foot planetarium, taking you on a spectacular journey to the far reaches of the universe, featuring different themes at varying times throughout the night. Step inside a lush, four-story rainforest teeming with life—from free-flying birds to exotic reptiles, amphibians, and more.

Golden Gate Park: Full-Day Self-Guided Bike Tour

2. Golden Gate Park: Full-Day Self-Guided Bike Tour

On this full-day self-guided bike tour you’ll ride through the historic Haight Ashbury neighborhood, once home to peace, love, and the Grateful Dead! Check out the gorgeous Victorian homes you’ll see throughout the area before heading into Golden Gate Park. Inside the thousand-plus acre park, the opportunities are endless. Visit the Conservatory of Flowers, Arboretum/Botanical Gardens, Shakespeare Garden, and Japanese Tea Gardens. Lock up your bike and visit 2 world-class museums, the California Academy of Sciences and the DeYoung, before circling around Stow Lake. Head to the beach, and ride along the oceanfront bike path. Real adventurers can continue on to the zoo before heading back past the Bison paddock and Spreckels Lake. Other options include riding north along the coast by the Cliff House, Sutro Baths, and Land’s End to the Golden Gate Bridge. You could decide to explore Alamo Square, the Civic Center area, the Mission, and the Castro. You’ll ride with maps mounted on the handlebars, clearly detailing 3 different routes to choose from! 

San Fancisco: Golden Gate Park Surrey Rental

3. San Fancisco: Golden Gate Park Surrey Rental

Pedal through the designated surrey route in the majestic Golden Gate Park. Your two-person surrey will fit two adults and one or two small children in the front child seats, and the four-person surrey will fit four adults and one or two small children in the front child seats. You'll enjoy your hour-long surrey rental by traveling on a designated route in Golden Gate Park. Starting from the music concourse, you'll ride down JFK drive, passing the botanical gardens and Japanese Tea Garden and exploring the beauty this 1,000-acre park has to offer. Later, circle around the Stow Lake Boathouse, where you can see boaters paddling and birds nestling by the lake. The ride concludes past the museums back inside the Golden Gate Park. Particular points of interest that you will encounter include Kezar Stadium, Sharon Meadow, the Conservatory of Flowers, the California Academy of Flowers, the Shakespeare Gardens, the De Young Museum, and the Stow Lake Boathouse.

San Francisco: Secrets of Golden Gate Park Audio Tour

4. San Francisco: Secrets of Golden Gate Park Audio Tour

On this self-guided walking tour, take in the serene oasis that is Golden Gate Park. It's filled with museums, lakes, bison, a Ferris wheel, and more than a thousand acres of meadows, redwood groves, and gardens. Learn about its history with this self-guided audio tour. While you walk, hear the park's story which is one of arrogant tycoons humbled by natural disasters, gunfire, and graft. It's the story of a city that honors its fallen and of one giant, stuffed grizzly bear. Perfect for natives and tourists alike, the tour was created by San Francisco Chronicle journalists Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight. It combines their love for exploring the city with the knowledge they've gained scouring The San Francisco Chronicle archive for the best stories. Highlights include: • Conservatory of Flowers: discover the controversial first museum in Golden Gate Park • AIDS Memorial Grove: hear the inspiring story of a volunteer-driven sanctuary built out of love • California Academy of Sciences: learn about the museum's resident 90-year-old fish and reindeer-friendly roof • Stow Lake: admire views of San Francisco • Music Concourse: visit the place where the Golden Gate Park Band has been performing for San Franciscans for 139 years • Sweeny Observatory and Monarch Grove: tour the ruins of a shrine to wealthy excess and hear about the park's ties to the bear on the California flag

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Stow Lake

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What people are saying about Stow Lake

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 120 reviews

So easy to use and go at one’s own pace. Interesting tidbits! We loved it.

Loved the narration, and the location-based app works perfectly