If it’s above 70 on a weekend I can guarantee that half the city is in Mission Dolores Park. Before 2pm the park is full of families and people grilling or enjoying a picnic, after 2pm the place is a fucking mess. Every foot of land is covered in people, bikes, bags, blankets, and booze – which is exactly why I avoided the place like the plague. There are so many beautiful parks with limited people and spectacular views, why go somewhere that you can hardly move and reeks of body odor and weed? Last Monday I attempted to find out what is so appealing about Dolores that it attracts the likes of Zuckerberg, my boss, and most of my friends.
Chris and Eric planned the BBQ in Dolores Park to celebrate the beginning of SF summer. Eric arrived at 11:30am to plot out our spot of land and everyone else arrived shortly after. Within 15 minutes of sitting down, a nice girl walked over and offered us edibles.
Tori, Jeremy, and Amelia found us, added another blanket and we had a good little group going. For awhile we just sat around and drank some brews and wine – waiting for a free mime show to start (they had a whole stage and everything). We watched some dude, who must of missed out on his ticket to Burning Man, doing sweet tricks with a staff. A woman came up and gave Amelia (of all people) an unsettling postcard for some political agenda – Jeremy took it away immediately.
Around 2pm Alex, Laura, and Kyle met up with us, added another blanket to our pod, and now that everybody was here – we started to grill!
Mid-grilling the mime show started and the park started to fill up. I’m not sure if the two incidences were related, but who knows. There were two corgis running around – yay! A weird homeless man came and stood next to our grill seeking food. Chris told him we didn’t have anything for him, but he just stood there silently for a good 5-10 minutes. It was awkward. Once the homeless man left, another group of people asked to use our grill for their hotdogs because theirs was busted. We let them.
After awhile it was getting really hot. The sun was beating down on us and the crowds of people were producing a lot of heat. Tori, Amelia, and I went over to BiRite Creamery to get some soft serve. (Pro tip: the soft serve line is always way shorter than the ice cream one and just as delicious.) On our over we passed a bunch of people selling necklaces, sage (for burning), and other fine goods along the sidewalk.
Once back to the blanket the sellers were in full force. There was your normal ice cream kart, full of Choco-Tacos and Powerpuff Girl heads with gum ball eyes, and standard bottled water guy, but then there was your not-so-normal merchandise. One guy was selling pizza – like carrying around giant pizza pies in boxes. A bunch of people were selling edibles, but unlike the girl in the morning who looked relatively normal there was a girl dressed in a Little Bo’ Peep with a giant basket full of cookies and brownies and a man dressed in full garb Superman selling mushrooms. The most interesting was a guy balancing two sticks over his shoulders and on either side had these hanging golden vessels. When people bought from him he would use this thing that looked like an ice cream scooper. I still have no idea what he was selling.
Beyond the sellers, the park people were started to going on a bad trip around 4pm. One of the girls laying next to us started screaming out of no where and just as quickly went silent. A homeless-looking man with a giant backpack stood in front of us for awhile, holding a balloon in one hand and a whippet in the other, staring off into space. Convinced by people in our group who had ventured to the bathrooms that the porta potties were the way to go, I ventured into one only to find boxers covered in shit on the floor. Gross.
Before we decided it was time to leave, a guy arrived with an amazing sound system in a cart, break dancing ensued, a cute Golden Retriever came to hang out with us, and Kyle, the sleepy drunk, took a nap.
All in all hanging out in Dolores Park is exactly what I thought it would be, but I had more fun than I thought I would. The actual park is really nice and, unlike most of the SF parks, is completely devoid of fog (thanks Twin Peaks!). It’s in close proximity to a lot of things: beer, food, and -most importantly- ice cream. If you don’t want to move, they even have people who will bring the food (and other delights) to you. If nothing else, the people there are extremely entertaining. I enjoyed Dolores Park and I hope to see you there our next above 70 degree day. Gold shorts and neon yellow tank required.
P.S. You’ve pretty much seen all of my pictures in the post, but in case you want to see a few others – here’s my flickr set.