This unique park is a local favorite among Outer Mission and Cayuga Terrace residents. Located in a residential area close to the i-280 freeway and the BART tracks, it's considered to be one of San Francisco's hidden gems. Exploring the park, you'll find sculpture gardens, walking trails, a basketball court, a visitor's clubhouse, a tennis court, a baseball diamond, a multipurpose turf area, and its famous children's playground. The playground reopened in 2013 after extensive renovations and is a must-see for visitors with children.
Check out the park in the video below:
The designer and longtime gardener of the park is a local legend of sorts. Demetrio Braceros, who immigrated to San Francisco from the Philippines, was an employee of the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department for more than 20 years. In 1973, he left his job at a law firm to become a gardener with the parks department. In 1986, he was assigned to the 4-acre Cayuga Park, with the mission to "change the atmosphere."
When he started working there, Braceros said, "[T]here were prostitutes, drug dealers and crime. People got killed up there [...] I thought to myself, how can I help this place?" His solution was to transform Cayuga Park's naturalistic surroundings into unique works of art. His themed gardens and woodcarvings were featured on the PBS television series "California's Folfen Parks" and also in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Cover image: "Cayuga Park Welcome Wagon" by Orin Zebest is licensed under CC BY 2.0.