Stepping out in Glen Park

Discover pizza, books, and a wild canyon in a hidden San Francisco, California locale

Rachel Levin

For sunshine and suburbia ― even wilderness ― in the often fog-cloaked city, head to this underrated enclave on San Francisco's south side. Narrow streets are flanked by colorful single-family homes, and the villagelike center is lined with bakeries, a bookshop, and noteworthy new restaurants. But the best part of Glen Park is the boulder-strewn and eucalyptus-filled canyon, the city's most rugged open space, which welcomes joggers, dog walkers, off-roading strollers, rock climbers, and (for one week in June) grass-chomping goats.

GETTING THERE

San Francisco's Glen Park neighborhood is south of Noe Valley. It has a BART stop on Diamond St. at Bosworth St., just steps from Chenery St., the hub of the neighborhood. Glen Canyon Park is less than 10 minutes from BART on foot.

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GO

Glen Canyon Park Wander beneath 350-foot-high canyon walls, by huge red rocks, trickling Islais Creek, and footbridges. Stay on the main trail and turn back anytime; if you don't mind a little bushwhacking, follow the route about a mile to Diamond Heights. (In late June, look for hungry goats, brought in to clear brush and thus deter fires.) INFO: Free; O'Shaughnessy Blvd. at Elk St.; ample street parking; 415/831-2700.

SHOP

Bird & Beckett Books & Records Behold, a bookstore the way they used to be: Musty, cramped, and staffed by smart, friendly folks. Plus open-mic poetry (7:30 on the first and third Monday of each month) and live jazz (5:30-8 Fridays). INFO: 2788 Diamond St.; 415/586-3733.

EAT

Destination Baking Company You can smell this bakery from blocks away. Only three tables, but tray upon tray of just-baked treats: chocolate croissants, lemon tartlets, and moon pies. INFO: 598 Chenery St.; 415/469-0730.

Café Bello Locals' favorite for fresh-roasted fair-trade beans and whimsical frothy flourishes. INFO: 2885 Diamond St.; 415/585-3457.

Gialina A small, family-run spot with thin-crust pies inspired by Nonna. Try dandelion greens with sweet Italian sausage, or the Wild Nettles: green garlic, pancetta, and fontina. INFO: $$; 2842 Diamond St.; 415/239-8500.

DON'T MISS ...

Dining is for families on kids' night at Chenery Park Restaurant ( $$$; closed Mon; 683 Chenery St.; 415/337-8537), typically an adult-friendly place. Every Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. on, tots of all ages (with parents in tow) come for no-fuss hamburgers and mac 'n' cheese, with root beer floats for dessert.

Discerning diners can eat up the neighborhood's newest destinations, both scheduled to open this spring: the super-swank sushi restaurant Sangha ( $$$; 678 Chenery; 415/333-0101) and French bistro Le P'tit Laurent ( $$$; 699 Chenery; 415/334-3235).

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