Where are the most exciting swings in San Francisco? These are not the overprotected constructions on city playgrounds with rubber flooring, rather than old-school rope-and-tire tree swings done by enthusiasts on various precious spots. Most of them have the added value of a vista site so get your camera ready!
#1. Bernal Heights Park Swing
A very popular spot with a very wanted swing that was broken and repaired numerous times. Everybody wants a piece of the action and everyone wants to take a photo of the amazing views that Bernal Heights offer. Go there at least once and try to avoid crowded daytime hours. Map.
While we’re at it, try Esmeralda Mini Park slides afterwards.
Obscurity factor *
Alas, it’s famous now
Looks scary to us. And you?
Feels a bit extreme, to be honest, without being a cliff-hanger per se
Instagram value *****
Social media feeds worldwide suffer without a snap from this spot
#2. The Extreme Swing on Billy Goat Hill
As swings go, this is one of the most visited in San Francisco proper with its stunning views to the city and the Bay. This 30-feet rope swing goes over a cliff and is most definitely not for the faint-hearted. Caution is advised. Admittedly, snapping a photo with a breathtaking panorama, swing or no swing, is a must there. Map.
Kid-friendly * Nope!
Adult-worthy ***** A monster!
Instagram value ***** Can’t miss that
Obscurity factor: * Well known and well visited
#3. Birdview Swing on Stonewall Panoramic Trail in Claremont Canyon
Now this gem is located off the beaten urban path and to catch the above view you need to reach Berkeley Campus and hike the Stonewall Panoramic Trail from there. As the name suggests the hike is worth it for the vistas alone; just make sure to be well equipped with proper hiking boots – the terrain is steep and rocky. Sweat it to the 15-feet rope swing and pose on a backdrop of Oakland, the Bay, the City, the Bridge – all in one single shot. Amazing! Map.
Kid-friendly *** Swing is alright, but those hike trails leading there are sure not for small children
Adult-worthy ***** Yes, yes, yes!
Instagram value ***** Top
Obscurity factor: **** Hidden gem
#4. Swing by the Big C on Charter Hill, Berkeley
Another must-go swing site accessible via Berkeley. A 15-minute uphill hike from the Foothill Parking Lot will get you to the Big C (a student-made concrete structure, it’s 102 years old now, wow!). Or you can settle for the swing with a view and spare yourself walking another 200 feet. Hint: Charter Hill gets sizzling hot in the summer; consider visiting early in the morning or at dusk. Map.
Photo by Kevin Jay Keenan
Kid-friendly **** No cliff-hanging or high seat. We say yay.
Adult-worthy ***** Oh, yes!
Instagram value: ***** Comparable to Stonewall Trail at #3
Obscurity factor: *** Not really a secret but not a tourist congregation either
#5. Glen Canyon Park Swing
Taking a break from climbing hills, find the lovely tire swing in the Glen Canyon Park. This small park in Diamond Heights is well-maintained, provides a good shade throughout; just take a walk while paying attention to the back alleys, and you’d inevitably bump into the swing – with or without a tire. Map.
Kid-friendly *** Yes, adult supervision needed
Adult-worthy *** Good enough with proper acceleration
Instagram value ** Not much, but a nice change from Golden Gate Bridge panorama shots
Obscurity factor: **** Needs looking for
#6. Land’s End Legendary Swing
Get to the Land’s End stone labyrinth to engage in some puzzle-solving. If you find your way out of it you’d be warmed for the real challenge: The Search of the Land’s End Legendary Rope Swing. From the cliff overlooking the labyrinth, head East, then climb the next hill and watch out for the tree swing on the way down to the small rocky cove. Be the first to post a picture from the said spot and tag us in. Failing that, resort to boat watching from the cliff or go back to observe Sutro Baths, Cliff House, Seal Rock and the sea lions. Map.
Kid-friendly * Probably not.
Adult-worthy **** A cliff-hanger, we were told.
Instagram value ***** Absolute must
Obscurity factor: ***** Stuff of legends
#7. Swing in the Golden Gate Heights Park
Cute and unassuming, this nice little swing is just what you need to get some rope-induced breeze in the summer should you find yourself in Inner Sunset district. Finding it is easy – located in the Northern outskirts of the Golden Gate Heights Park, at a strolling distance from Radio Terrace and 19th Avenue. Map
Kid-friendly ***** Totally
Adult-worthy ** Depending on your own level of infantile
Instagram value ** Ranges from cute to mundane
Obscurity factor: *** Medium
#8. Kirby Cove Panorama Swing
A surprise of a beach and a gem of a swing – a place to get very different views of the Golden Gate Bridge and – yes – take photos. The swing itself is marvellous, repaired countless times, and your inner child is in for a treat. Unmissable! Tip 1: Day trippers need to leave cars at the Vista Point next to Battery Spencer and hike down the dirt road to the beach. Tip 2: Get there for the sunrise and have the Kirby Cove all to yourselves. Photo: instagram.com/nicolexknox
Kid-friendly ***** Totally
Adult-worthy **** Very good
Instagram value ***** Fantastic angle to the Bridge
Obscurity factor: ** Can be quite busy from late morning to early afternoon in high season. Get ready to wait for your turn.
#9. Tank Hill Swings
No tanks there, just park. Got its name from accommodating a fresh water tank that became redundant in the 50’s and removed. To protect it from airstrikes during WW2 eucalyptus trees were planted around. Thanks to that the Tank Hill features several tall trees and – of course – a tree swing with a view. Map
Kid-friendly ***** Yes
Adult-worthy *** Good
Instagram value *** Views to the City and to the Bay. 18th Street stretches all the way to the Bay.
Obscurity factor: *** Not frequented by tourists, locals are not very populous too.
#10. Strawberry Hill Swing, Golden Gate Park
It wouldn’t be far off to say this is the swing with the best sunset views. From Strawberry Hill, the highest point of the Golden Gate Park, opens a view to Richmond and the Bay. Best of all, visitors tend to ignore the hill in the middle of Stow Lake. Strawberry Hill provides for a welcome escape from the crowds in the Golden Gate Park – it’s just rare humans, tons of butterflies, and yourself. Map.
Kid-friendly **** Yes
Adult-worthy *** Good enough for an adult
Instagram value **** Especially sunsets
Obscurity factor: ***** Hidden in the woods, very private
#11. Kite Hill Park Swing
The place is called Kite Hill for a reason – can be extremely windy so bring your hoodie. It’s a small hilltop area with a swing rope tied to probably the only tree of any significance. Sparsely visited mostly by dog-walking locals, you can enjoy beautiful views to Twin Peaks with very postcard-worthy sunsets. With nearby Seward Street slides gaining more and more fame, Kite Hill will probably follow suit. Go get your snaps now. Map.
Kid-friendly ***** Very good
Adult-worthy *** Good
Instagram value **** Great views to Twin Peaks and the City
Obscurity factor: *** Not famous yet but with increasing popularity
#12. Hippie Tree Swing in Tiburon
Getting to Tiburon, North of San Francisco takes up to one hour drive but it’s totally worth it. A well-known vista point, Hippie Tree overlooks The Golden Gate bridge, the city of San Francisco, Sausalito and Belvedere Lagoon. The swing is one of the best too – sturdy seat and long ropes. A must-see! Map.
Kid-friendly *** Ropes being high and seat placed very high, probably not so safe for younger kids.
Adult-worthy ***** We were enchanted
Instagram value ***** Can’t beat a Bay view towards the City
Obscurity factor: **** Hippie Tree is often listed but rarely visited.
Special Mention: Cherry Street Swing
Just a cute little tree swing in a quiet residential area. Why it’s topping the Yelp charts in the swings department we can’t really fathom, but we leave the picture here for it is as cute as the swing itself. Happy swinging! Map (but do respect the neighbors please)
Kid-friendly ***** It’s nearly a backyard swing, so totally ok
Adult-worthy ** Only if you’ve stuck in your 10s
Instagram value: ** There’s something in it though, ain’t it?
Obscurity factor: **** Most likely a minor celebrity on the Internets and entirely unknown to the majority of Presidio Heights residents.