It’s a perfectly sunny day in San Francisco, and Yerba Buena Gardens is filled with people. Some are obviously on their lunch break, chatting with co-workers in between bites of their sandwiches. Others are there to nap, peacefully sprawled out in the grass. And every once in a while, there’ll be a truly interesting spectacle, such as the hula-hoop lady twirling God-knows-how-many hula hoops around her body.
Yerba is truly a place for people of all backgrounds and aspirations, and it’s beautiful, to boot.
As I sat at the top of the park behind the mini-waterfall, I could see the currents move lazily with the breeze. It reminded me of a river, or an ocean, especially with the seagulls peacefully bathing and playing in the water. The view past the water is simply breathtaking, from the huge office buildings, apartments and hotels springing up from the ground, to the different varieties of trees with shades across the green spectrum, to the clear blue sky as a backdrop to cap off the most perfect scene.
And there’s the sound – the indiscernible chatter of friends catching up, the chirping of birds looking for breadcrumbs, the faint thunder of the waterfall, and the noon-time traffic of cars on Mission.
It’s a place where I can simply be present, taking in and enjoying the sights and sounds while on my lunch break. It does wonders to clear my mind and along with that the stress of the workplace. Sometimes after I finish my lunch, I’ll sit there and just observe. I’ll notice the intricate details of the brick building in front of me or watch two birds chase each other and hide in the trees.
The times I’ve been there at night have been just as awe-inspiring. Standing near the top of the gardens, I’ll look up and see all the blinking lights from the high-rise buildings around the park, seemingly surrounding me from all directions. And in that moment I realize (like I do time and again) just how small my problems and worries really are. It reminds me of how much I enjoy living in the city and all the opportunities I’ve been given up to this point in my life.
Yerba Buena Gardens is my favorite park in San Francisco.
It’s a bold statement, I know. What about Dolores, Washington Square, Alamo Square, or the countless other amazing parks in the city? The answer’s simple. While I genuinely enjoy all the aforementioned parks, Yerba Buena Gardens has a special place in my heart, because it’s the only park where I consistently felt peaceful, happy, and one with the world, despite the hustle and bustle of city life.
Whether I’m picnicking in the grass with co-workers on a sunny day, enjoying lunch on the steps across from the Contemporary Jewish Museum, or sitting on the top of the waterfall overlooking the entire park, I’ll always leave Yerba feeling refreshed and thankful.