DOWNTOWN SAN FRANCISCO’S SECRET GARDENS

Do you work in downtown San Francisco? If you do, there’s a secret garden or roof terrace waiting for you to enjoy! 

For years, San Francisco has required large downtown developments to build small publicly accessible open spaces. Intended to break up the palette of concrete, steel, and glass in a part of town distinctly lacking in parks, these spaces are known as “Privately Owned Publicly Spaces” or “POPOS”. Several years ago, preeminent urban planning and policy group SPUR put together a handy guide covering San Francisco’s downtown POPOS. 

What’s even better, is that several new open spaces have been built since SPUR’s guide came out. Unfortunately, many of them are not easy to spot so you’ll need to have the location for your next lunch date figured out in advance. Look for the little brushed steel plaque designating a “Privately Owned Public Space” – but know that sometimes you’ll have to check in at a front desk or take an elevator to find it! I checked out the newest secret gardens for you so you’ll know where to go.  Check out my recent article and photos to scope out some unique public art and sunny terraces for next time you find yourself in San Francisco’s Financial District!

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