Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park

Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in San Francisco. This beautiful lake is man made and was completed in it's entirety in 1893. It is a circular lake which surrounds the island Strawberry Hill. It is located in between Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy Drive. Here is a shortcut in getting there. If you walk west on Martin Luther King Drive, there is a path right behind the Japanese Tea Garden. Take that path a few steps and keep looking towards your left. When you see the stairway, climb up the stairs and Stow Lake is right there. If you are driving, there is parking available around the perimeter of Stow Lake.
This lake is not only a tourist attraction but a favorite among locals who live in the area. It's a great way to enjoy nature and get some walking exercise. I personally know many people who walk there each morning.
The lake is home to bird life which include mallard ducks, seagulls, Canadian Geese, the occasional blue heron and much more. It has boat rentals which you can rent for an hour at a time. There are row boats, paddle boats and electric boats. The cost is from $14.00 per hour to $29.00 per hour depending on the boat you choose. Although there is a charge for the boats, the lake is absolutely free to enjoy.
As of March 1st, there is also food on the premises by way of concessions stands. There was major upheaval over the proposed food cafe but in the end it was approved so you are able to have a picnic and enjoy the lake.

Source: Photo taken at Stow Lake Chinese Pavilion
Source: Photo taken at Stow Lake
The Chinese Pavilion at Stow Lake was presented to San Francisco as a gift by our sister city Taipei in 1961. This colorful structure boasts a small pond of it's own with an arched bridge and beautiful flowers around the pavilion. It is a great spot to sit and have some lunch or just take in the beauty that surrounds the lake. This is also a very popular venue for weddings. There are permits that are required in order to hold an event here. There are also wedding packages which you can buy for your nuptials that run about $2,000.00.
Source: Photo taken at Stow Lake Chinese Pavilion interior
Source: Photo taken at Stow Lake
Wildfowl take residence on the island Strawberry Hill which is surrounded by Stow Lake. They are safe from natural predators while making their nests in the native trees and foliage. If you are a birder, Stow Lake is the place to set your sights on our feathered friends.
Ducks and their antics
Ducks and their antics
Source: Photo taken at Stow Lake
The arched bridge at Stow Lake is made up of hundreds of huge stones. The bridge allows you to walk from the outside perimeter of the lake towards the middle to Strawberry Hill. It was once reported that this bridge collapsed after the 1906 earthquake but there is no recorded evidence that this report was true.
Paddle boat under the bridge
Paddle boat under the bridge

A beautiful afternoon on Stow Lake.
Source: Photo taken at Stow Lake
Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park like many of the other lakes in the park is the perfect spot to enjoy nature and have some fun with your family and friends. Should you want more information on Stow Lake please contact me directly and I will be happy to help you.


DoanLegacy said…
Gorgeous photos, and the video is great! This is such a lovely to hang out for the day!
Autumn Belle said…
This looks like a romantic place. Beautiful scenery and zen surroundings.
dawn said…
I love the bridge... a beautiful place to write and dream the day away.
Kass said…
You are making me want to visit this place again. I love the name of this lake. Stow Lake. It sounds so cozy and secretive.
Ms Terri said…
I had to leave San Francisco. It may be temporary, it may be permanent -- I'm not sure yet. In the meantime, though, I'll look at your photographs to help stay in touch with the things I loved most about S.F.

Stow Lake was one of my favorite places, and within walking distance of my old apartment (sigh).
Icy BC said…
How beautiful, Jo! Your photos really bring out the best in this Botanical garden..I see some shadows and reflections in those pictures, too :-)
Self Sagacity said…
Hi there Joanne, you have been tagged by Self Sagacity. Please visit
to find the rules. Have a good day.
Ann said…
Love it, looks like a wonderful place to spend the day. We have a lake close by that has paddle boat rentals. I've thought about doing it, looks like so much fun.
Liz said…
The place looks so romantic. Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos with us. :)
AVCr8teur said…
I forgot how beautiful Stow Lake is. It looks a million miles from the city, but it's right in the middle of San Francisco.
Ratty said…
This place is absolutely beautiful. I like the emerald green water. I think that green is what a lot of those birds like too. That stone bridge is one of my favorite features.
Vernz said…
Hi Joanne, this is a romantic place .. love the classic looking bridge ...

The Bleeding Sky
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SquirrelQueen said…
I could easily spend a day in such a beautiful place. The paddle boats would be a fun way to cruse the park.
Cinnamon-Girl said…
What a gorgeous place! I really love the bridge!

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