Across Point Lobos Avenue from the Lands End Lookout
parking lot, Sutro Heights Park is one of those San Francisco attractions few tourists visit. Not only does this pretty green space on the edge of the city offer excellent views of Ocean Beach, Seal Rocks and the Pacific, but it has an interesting history, too. Once the private estate of millionaire Adolph Sutro, the 22 acres atop this bluff were once a very elaborate—and expensive—formal garden filled with statues, sculpted hedges, fountains and broad pathways that Sutro opened to the public in 1885. Unfortunately the gardens fell into ruin as the Sutro family fortune declined, and by the time the land was donated to San Francisco in 1938, most of the buildings had to be torn down. You can see remnants of the estate’s 19th-century splendor scattered about the park, including a statue of the goddess Diana and the lions that once framed the front gate.