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San Francisco’s Newest Park Is 70 Feet Above the Heart of Downtown

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The highly anticipated Salesforce Park is just minutes away from the Ferry Building Marketplace.

Photo by Nicole Antonio

The highly anticipated Salesforce Park is just minutes away from the Ferry Building Marketplace.

The 5.4-acre rooftop alone increases the neighborhood’s open space by 17 percent.

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After eight years of construction, Salesforce Transit Center is now open to the public. Situated atop the transit center, Salesforce Park offers both a community space and an escape from the bustle of Downtown San Francisco. The park is free for everyone to access year-round, whether or not you’re waiting for a bus connection. In fact, a vast array of activities from zumba classes to Shakespearean performances has been planned to encourage people to take advantage of the beautiful new rooftop space.

Separate from Salesforce Tower, the Salesforce Transit Center building consists of five floors—two underground, three above—with plans to expand operations in the near future. As soon as September, an aerial tram will take passengers from Salesforce Tower Plaza to the rooftop park. While the “Salesforce gondola” will be more fun than practical, other components of the $2.6 billion transit center aim to make life easier for commuters. The second-floor bus deck connects directly to the Bay Bridge, allowing buses from Oakland and other parts of the East Bay to avoid street-level bottlenecks upon entering San Francisco. By 2029, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority plans to use the bottom floor for train operators such as Caltrain and California High-Speed Rail.

That said, the complex offers just as much for visitors as it does for locals. Here are six of the many ways to enjoy Salesforce Park.

The Prehistoric Garden on the northeast end of Salesforce Park sits between the Mediterranean Basin and the Wetland Garden.

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Unlock your inner botanist

One of the most refreshing aspects of Salesforce Park is the shock of green it adds to the urban landscape. The rooftop, a whopping 1,400 feet long, includes 12 seamlessly integrated sections of flora from around the globe. Just beyond the Mediterranean Basin, walkers will encounter the Prehistoric Garden, which is a nod to the woolly mammoth tooth that was found under 110 feet of sediment during the building’s construction.

Get creative

Whether you’re a fan of knitting, writing, or another craft, there is a workshop for you. Join Monday Night Makers for evening seminars held by new partners each month, or bring your lunch to the rooftop’s Main Plaza for writing workshops and poetry readings. If your creative expression takes a more active form, consider the Cardio Dance class or Shimmytown’s Friday night swing dance parties.

The Main Plaza in Salesforce Park provides plenty of open space to share coffee with a friend, snack on a treat from a food truck, or even meditate in the morning.

Find your zen

There is nothing more San Franciscan than yoga in the park—except when it’s practiced in a park surrounded by offices for Instagram, Slack, and other tech giants. From 70 feet above street level, wellness-seekers can get their stretch on during twice-weekly yoga classes, work on balance at midday tai chi, and prepare for the week with Monday morning meditation sessions.

Designed by Ned Kahn, the Bus Fountain on the roof takes cues from motion sensors on the second-floor bus deck.

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Let the music move you

As the weekend approaches, check the rooftop park’s Main Plaza for ear candy. This fall you can groove with Live@5 on Wednesday evenings, a mix of vinyl throwbacks and Silent Disco on Thursdays, and acoustic tunes during lunch on Fridays. Caught in a rare San Francisco heat wave and finding it too hot to dance? Release your inner child (or your actual children) on the rooftop fountain that circles the park. The fountain is triggered by motion sensors on the second-floor bus deck, sending jets of water shooting into the air as buses bring passengers to their destinations.

Most of the park, including the Children’s Play Area, incorporates greenery into the design.

Bring the family

Aside from the ropes-heavy play area, Salesforce Park hosts a number of activities for kids and families. Listen in on storytime on Toddler Tuesdays, embolden energetic young’uns with improv and family fitness classes, and give their brains a workout with hands-on activities and experiments on S.T.E.A.M. Saturdays.

Support local businesses

On the street level and in the building itself, the Salesforce Transit Center will host a number of food trucks and pop-up shops. Eventually, the space will be home to permanent retail stores and restaurants, and maybe even a gym. Until then, visitors and commuters can patronize a rotating roster of blossoming shops and kitchens.

>>Next: Escape a City Without Leaving It in 15 Innovative Urban Parks

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