The Best Parklets in San Francisco

Necessity is the mother of invention, and while parklets are by no means a novel creation, the pandemic undoubtedly spawned their golden era in cities throughout the country. In San Francisco, a parklet program was started in 2010 to repurpose underutilized street space — parking spots — into public areas that included seating and bike racks.

In the coming years, the city installed 38 parklets, a paltry sum compared to the 1,250 parklets that have been installed since July 2020. At the time of publication, the number of shared spaces and parklets hovers around 2,100 with more on the horizon.

Shared Spaces, a program of San Francisco’s Economic Recovery Task Force, was established in May 2020 as a temporary solution to the forced closure of restaurants and bars across the city. A respite for socially-starved residents and a lifeline for cash-strapped business, the parklets were granted numerous extensions, but the fate of these ad-hoc structures was in limbo until this past July.

Thankfully, the SF Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to make the city’s pandemic parklets all permanent fixtures. Here are 10 of our favorites.

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Photo: @canelasf

Canela

Watch the various historic F-Market & Wharves streetcars woosh by while snacking on tapas from your perch in the heart of the Castro.

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Photo: @_ben_brothers

Cotogna

Not unlike a Zen-like spa experience or dining in a Wine Country olive grove, Cotogna’s parklet is a serene and charming respite in Jackson Square.

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Photo: @ coronashaxx

The Devil's Acre

One of the largest parklets in the city, each pod here is separated and can seat up to six at a time. It also boasts heaters, TV’s, and music.

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Photo: @eandosf

E & O Kitchen and Bar

Heaters for the cold, umbrellas for the sun, a generous happy hour from 3pm to 6pm are among the things that make this Union Square spot a must.

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Photo: Bryan McDonald

Mandalay

It’s great to see this beloved Inner Richmond gem stay in step with the changing needs of restaurants so customers can keep enjoying the rainbow salad and jasmine flower art tea. With heaters throughout and tables arranged with ample space between parties, it’s a pretty cushy al fresco experience.

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Photo: @thepagebar_sf

The Page

Embodying the ethos of Night at the Roxbury — the outside is like the inside, the inside is like outside — guests here can enjoy drinks and offerings from the Little Chihuahua while surrounded by hanging paintings and even a fireplace.

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Photo: @palette.sf

Palette

Spanning over 60 feet — almost the full length of the restaurant’s main building — the Terrace at Palette can comfortably accommodate 25-30 guests on its raised redwood-planked patio.

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Photo: @perbaccosf

Perbacco

Guests are welcome to dine indoors or sotto le stelle — under the stars — in this state of the art parklet located in a quieter corner of the Financial District.

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Photo: @toscacafesf

Tosca

Indulge in some of the finest Italian offerings in the city under twinkling lights and winding vines. Interior design legend Ken Fulk opted for a classic look, complete with red checkered tablecloths.

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Photo: @thevault555

The Vault Garden

San Francisco’s first re-designed restaurant in the wake of Covid, the Vault Garden features over 100 outdoor seats that are safe, tented and weather protected.

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