Everyone sings the praises of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, and Sundays are a perfect day to tune in on its hidden art and free music scene. Go on a mile-long meander around the park’s Music Concourse, starting in the Monarch Bear Grove. Here you’ll find Druid’s Circle, a simple formation of stones meant as a spiritual oasis for nature worshipers. Spend a moment channeling the metaphysical then head a few hundred yards west to the Shakespeare Garden for a touch of the classical.
Bright green iron gates mark the entrance to this romantic corner. The grove is a great spot to curl up with a book (okay, iPhone) or snuggle with a beau. After your fill of literary allusions (panels with floral quotations from Shakespeare accompany the various plants), take the trail past the California Academy of Sciences and enter the Music Concourse. Free concerts are held in the plaza on Sundays at 1 p.m. Listen to the melodies echo around the band shell while you walk among the pollarded elm trees and toss pennies into the fountains. Across from the entrance to the de Young Museum, you’ll find the Cider Press, a bronze statue rumored to have once been a fountain running with apple cider.
Finally, set your eyes on the striking facade of the de Young before wandering through the main lobby and into the Osher Sculpture Garden (no entrance fee). A giant blue and silver paperclip installation is one of the first pieces to grab your attention. Follow the path to the Turrell Skyspace in the northeast corner of the garden. The installation, known as “Three Gems,” is a sky watcher’s paradise. Follow a cylindrical tunnel to its center. Sit on the curved bench under the spherical dome and gaze through the skylight. Light shining through the oculus reflects on the dome’s white concrete, making its way across the dome like the sun across the horizon—an ideal place to contemplate the sky and the passing of time.
Enter the Monarch Bear Grove from Nancy Pelosi Dr. Concerts are held in the Music Concourse every Sunday at 1 p.m., through October 8. The Osher Sculpture Garden closes at 4:30 p.m. Dog-friendly except for the Osher Sculpture Garden.