"Golden Gate Park is a celebration of nature—only, there is really nothing natural about it. The 1,000-acre urban parkland, among the nation’s largest, is a series of groves, gardens, and lakes, all seeded, shaped, and constructed by human hands and machinery. When the city set aside the land, in 1870, it was a windswept expanse of sand and shrubs that few thought could be tamed for the leisurely enjoyment of the local citizenry. William Hammond Hall, the park’s surveyor and first superintendent, planted barley, and then lupine, both of which rooted and spread across the sands, holding it down and making it possible for further planting to take place. Within ten years, natural-looking woodlands had been established across the oncebarren land. The park also has historic buildings, museums, a boathouse, a bison paddock, and a classy brewpub. Plan on spending a few hours walking and exploring the terrain before enjoying a well-earned beer or meal."