This 5-acre patch of grass and gardens is the centerpiece of Yerba Buena’s cultural activity, and a great place to relax in the grass on a sunny day. The most dramatic outdoor piece is an emotional mixed-media memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. Created by sculptor Houston Conwill, poet Estella Majozo, and architect Joseph De Pace, it features 12 panels, each inscribed with quotations from King, sheltered behind a 50-foot-high waterfall. There are also several actual garden areas here, including a Butterfly Garden, the Sister Cities Garden (highlighting flowers from the city’s 13 sister cities), and the East Garden, blending Eastern and Western styles. Don’t miss the view from the upper terrace, where old and new San Francisco come together in a clash of styles that’s fascinating. May through October, Yerba Buena Arts & Events puts on a series of free outdoor festivals featuring dance, music, poetry, and more by the San Francisco Ballet, Opera, Symphony, and others.
- Erika Lennert