The Seward Street Slides

San Francisco, California (CA)

The Seward Street Slides: rediscovering your inner child in San Francisco.

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Discovering the Seward Street Slides

“NO ADULTS UNLESS accompanied by a child.”

A sign near the Seward Street Slides.

Castro District in San Francisco is a residential paradise concealing a playful secret: The Seward Street Slides. Nestled between the houses of one of the city’s steepest hills and decorated with incredible views on all sides, these slides will reintroduce visitors of all ages to their inner child, while embodying the community spirit that makes San Francisco special. The twin, two-story concrete slides slid into the hearts of locals and tourists alike for their fast and thrilling nature – with a smooth surface and practically vertical incline, they are not for the faint hearted.

Seward Street Slides 1
- Brian Grossman

The Seward Street Slides: A Community Endeavor

Despite being situated in the Seward Mini Park, a small park with classic family-friendly allure, the Seward Street Slides are not your typical playground equipment. But then the Seward Street Mini Park is no ordinary space. Originally, the site was a super-steep, wasteland – overgrown with weeds and debris – that in the 1960s was slated to become a 104-unit apartment complex. Upon hearing the news, Noe Valley hills residents rallied together to save the vacant space.

After several years the activists were triumphant; the area was converted into a public park and a “Design in the Park” competition was held by a local sculptor, Ruth Asawa to identify how it would be filled. The community collaboration to save the area from residential development also contributed to an alteration of city legislation, which ever since required a minimum amount of open space in new development projects.

“It was a six- or seven-year struggle, but our fight against the development of that space worked to change zoning laws throughout the city… The resulting rezoning cut occupancy limits [for residential buildings] in half. I feel so happy that one small piece of land got eternal protection.”

Shimon Schwarzschild told the Noe Valley Voice.

Inspired by a slide at the former Playland Amusement Park in Ocean Beach, the Seward Street Slides were designed by 14-year-old local resident, Kim Clark. When the park opened to the public in 1973 the two concrete slides were surrounded by a beautiful garden and the community were overjoyed. Today, Seward Street Mini Park also has a playground and basketball court and is maintained by the dedication of the community and local organisations.

Sliding into Fun at the Seward Street Slides

Given that they were born from unified neighbourhood activism and a youthful vision, the Seward Street Slides exemplify the power and resilience of community collaboration. Consequently, the park serves as a reminder that even in a city as diverse and fast-paced as San Francisco, there are pockets of intimacy where neighbours come together, not only to slide down hills but also to forge connections and create lasting memories.

But let’s go back to that ‘sliding down hills bit’ because, well… It's the best bit! From the moment you arrive at the Seward Street Slides, you're greeted with an air of excited anticipation. The slides, flanked by vibrant murals and surrounded by native Californian vegetation, offer a momentary escape from the mundane trudge of normalcy. As visitors make the steep climb to the top of the hill – cardboard in hand – the panoramic views of San Francisco provide a stunning backdrop to the adventure that lies ahead.

Once atop the slides, the world takes on a different hue. And here lies the question – red or yellow? The two slides run parallel to each other but the yellow one is slightly steeper and thus faster (so bear that in mind!). With heartbeats racing, adults and children alike gleefully take their places. A brief countdown, a surge of adrenaline, and then gravity takes over as they zoom down the undulating concrete chutes. Laughter and shouts of joy pierce the air as each rider experiences the thrill of the descent before being spat out on the soft sand at the bottom.

Seward Street Slides
- Brian Grossman

A Celebration of Play

It's important to note that the Seward Street Slides represent more than just a fun diversion from reality; they embody the importance of play in our lives. In a world where we’re often plagued by responsibilities and routines, these slides offer a space where worries fade, and the simple act of sliding peels away those chore-like layers, leaving a sense of pure joy. It's a place where parents and children, friends and strangers, can come together to relish in the moment, leaving behind their cares and embracing the youthful playfulness that lives within us all.

Planning Your Visit

If you find yourself in San Francisco with a yearning for an adrenaline rush, the Seward Street Slides should be on your list of must-visit destinations. Whether you're travelling with family, friends, or flying solo, the experience of sliding down those concrete chutes is bound to leave you with a smile on your face and a renewed appreciation for the simple pleasures in life.

So, grab a piece of cardboard, put your brave faces on, and let the Seward Street Slides transport you to a world where play knows no boundaries and where the spirit of community flourishes with each exhilarating ride.

Interested in finding more places like this? Try one of our US Scavenger Hunts- untangle cryptic clues as a team, as you are taken on a journey to the most unique, unusual and bizarre corners of San Francisco and beyond!

The Seward Street Slides Questions


What you need to know

The Seward Street Slides
30 Seward St, San Francisco, CA 94114
37.757870, -122.439903
Tips before you visit

Here are a list of tips for visiting (or not visiting) the Seward Street Slides:

  • Bring some cardboard to slide on and always position yourself feet-first.
  • Keep your arms close to your body.
  • Watch someone else first – the slides can be quite steep and intimidating.
  • Don’t go after recent rainfall and check the street cleaning times.
  • Check the opening times (park hours are different to slide hours).
  • Be respectful to others using the slides, especially when it's crowded. But also to the neighbours who inhabit the area.