With winter setting in, we know it’s hard not to dream of pastures greener than San Francisco. With its steep hills and chilly fall weather, it’s tempting to get wrapped up and hibernate.

Before you do, we suggest making the most of the last days of autumn by checking out some of the city’s Privately Owned Public Open Spaces (POPOS). Provided and maintained for the public by private developers, POPOS include plazas, terraces, atriums, gardens and more. We’ve selected five rooftop gardens that we think are worth a visit.

Empire Park

SF rooftop empire park 1

Photo: Matthew Lew

SF rooftop empire park 2

Photo: Matthew Lew

Hide from the world while sitting on a bench in Empire Park, a small rooftop garden with potato vines, tree ferns and a small fountain designed by Pepo Pichler. Sitting on the site of a demolished building, this quaint POPOS is the perfect place to bring your paper bag lunch.

Address: 600 block of Commercial Street at Kearny Street

Sun Terrace

SF rooftop sun terrace 1

Photo: Matthew Lew

SF rooftop sun terrace 2

Photo: Matthew Lew

On top of the garage of 100 1st Street is a lovely rooftop area called Sun Terrace. This POPOS is open 24/7 for all of your relaxation-seeking needs as long as you brave the four flights of stairs that lead up to it.

Address: 100 1st Street

One Kearny

SF rooftop kearny

Photo: Matthew Lew

One of the newest additions to the POPOS family, One Kearny combines San Francisco’s historical Victorian elegance with innovative design. With closely manicured shrubbery and 11th-floor views that are nothing less than mind blowing, the space looks like something out of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”

Address: 1 Kearny Street

Sansome Rooftop Deck

SF rooftop sansome 2

Photo: Valerie Veteto

SF rooftop sansome 1

Photo: Valerie Veteto

The Sansome Rooftop Deck is a quick 15-floor elevator jump up to a beautiful view, and it’s the FiDi’s best lunchtime hotspot. Enjoy tons of seating and planters filled with seasonal flowers, but be sure to get there during business hours while it’s still open.

Address: 343 Sansome Street

Tenderloin National Forest

SF rooftop tenderloin 1

Screenshot: Youtube

SF rooftop tenderloin 2

Screenshot: Youtube

So this one isn’t a garden, but we couldn’t resist adding it in. The Tenderloin has a rough reputation, but if you work in the neighborhood then you can find solace in Tenderloin National Forest, formerly known as the Alley. A haven for local gardeners and artists, the founders work hard to provide a safe space for public art, performance, experimental art projects and classes.

Address: 509 Ellis Street between Cohen Place and Leavenworth Street

Developments featured in this article

More Like This

Facebook Chatter