Take a Break in One of San Francisco’s Privately-Owned Public Open Spaces
Did you know that there are dozens of public spaces throughout downtown San Francisco where you can sit and enjoy lunch, or squeeze in some time outdoors between meetings? Better yet, you could host a small meeting in one of these pretty spots to switch up your surroundings and get the creative juices flowing.
These spaces, more formally known as privately-owned public open spaces, or POPOS for short, are designed to provide quality open space for downtown workers, residents, and visitors. So the next time you need a respite from the urban cityscape, take a work break at one of our favorite public spaces. Here are a few of our favorites.
222 Second Street
Just a few blocks from our own office, at the corner of Howard and Second Street, you’ll find a first floor lounge with seating, tables, wifi and a cafe inside LinkedIn’s headquarters.
This space is open during business hours, and while indoors, offers plenty of sunshine through the floor to ceiling windows. It’s perfect for grabbing and discussing work over coffees.
555 Mission Street
This outdoor plaza is another public space that we frequent close by our office. The space is always open, and hosts several art and landscaping features plus ample bench space for sitting and chatting.
Grab a cup of coffee at the small alleyway coffee window, Special Xtra, then settle in on one of the many benches.
101 Second Street
On the ground floor and mezzanine level of 101 Second Street you’ll find a greenhouse featuring tables, benches, large trees, and art, served by a cafe. .
Since this space is indoors, it is open during business hours
100 First Street
Open to the public at all times, you’ll find the Sun Terrace, a beautiful outdoor space, located on the second floor above the southeast parking garage attached to 100 First Plaza. The Sun Terrace offers tables and benches, so stop by to enjoy lunch, and some grassy areas to sit.
While you’re there take in the featured art sculptures, including the Linear Fountain, and a view of the street below.
642 Commercial Street
Located at 642 Commercial street is Empire Park, an urban garden with chairs, tables and benches scattered throughout the park. It’s open during business hours so stop by for your lunch break or a midday, outdoor escape.
The garden features a water fountain and in front of the park, you’ll find even more benches.
600 Montgomery Street
Did you know you don’t even have to leave the city to experience northern California’s redwoods? At the base of the Transamerica tower, you can find aptly named Redwood Park, a miniature urban redwood forest that is open during business hours.
The park is extensively landscaped and features a water fountain, art sculptures, and plenty of seating.
343 Sansome St
If you’re looking for a view of the bay, stop by 343 Sansome Street and head up to the 15th floor open space. You’ll find seating in an urban rooftop setting surrounding a large sundial.
View this post on Instagram
One of San Francisco’s best kept secrets is their privately-owned, publicly accessible rooftop gardens. I love them and they are scattered across the downtown area. I walk in the building, past the security desk, and ride the elevator to the 15th floor. No one questions what I am doing there.
Down below on Leidesdorff Street, which closes during lunch hours, you can grab a bite to eat.
150 California Street
Speaking of views, 150 California Street has plenty of them, highlighting the urban feel of downtown San Francisco.
View this post on Instagram
New #POPOS visit today! This is on the 6th floor of 150 California Street. It's open 9-5 and you can just walk on in and take the elevator – no hassles. A great spot to sit and have lunch 🌯👌🏻😎 #showmeyourpopos #privatelyownedpublicopenspaces #poposofsf #missd_popostour – – – (175 of 366) – – – #missdhutch3662016 #photo3662016 #streetsofsf #culturetripsf #californiacaptures #alwayssf #igerssf #sf_insta #jj_california #tv_buildings #igersnorcal #sanfrancisco #jj_architecture #sanfranciscoworld #sfdreaming #urbanunity #sfguide
Sit at one of the ten tables to enjoy lunch with a side of fresh air, or simply stop by this rooftop space during business hours to enjoy some sunlight and scenery.
101 California Street
At corners of California and Davis streets, you’ll find a plaza with terrace steps decorated with an army of potted plants.
On days that you want to eat out but skip the formal lunch options, grab a bite from one of the food stands or trucks and wander over to grab a seat.
100 Pine Street
The privately-owned public open space at 100 Pine Street is an urban garden nestled among two buildings and accessible through the front entrance or a side alley on Front Street during business hours. It’s a great spot to stop for a chat or outdoor meeting.
View this post on Instagram
This #POPOS at 100 Pine is tucked between two skyscrapers. It doesn't get much sun, but it feels secluded from the hustle and bustle of downtown. Granite and teak floors, lush plants, and a trickling fountain contribute to the zen vibes. Even these guys having lunch were whispering like they were in church. Accessible from the lobby of 100 Pine or a side alley on Front street. Open 9-6. For those who haven't seen my other POPOS posts, I'm on a mission to visit all of the 75+ #privatelyownedpublicopenspaces in downtown #sanfrancisco . Some of my photos of these secret gardens were recently featured in Mabuhay magazine (link in bio ⬆️). I want to also give a huge thank you to Erica @eatexploresf for getting me a hardcopy of the magazine. It was quite a thrill to see my photos in glossy print! Thank you ❤️😊 #showmeyourpopos #poposofsf #missd_popostour – – – – – (308 of 366) – – – – – #streetsofsf #alwayssf #culturetripsf #ihaveathingwithpigeons #ilove_sanfrancisco #igerssf #jj_california #jj_streetshots #jj_streetphotography #jj_forum_1720 #jj_mobilephotography #sfgate #sfdreaming #shotoniphone6s #metro_affair #urbanunity #sf_insta #whpescape #missdhutch3662016 #photo3662016
It’s hard not to feel relaxed after taking in this waterfall.
1 Sansome Street
With a simple step off the streets into this marble-clad atrium, you’ll feel worlds away from downtown San Francisco. The space is most popular during lunch hours when workers pull up a chair to enjoy a bit to eat and break from the office.
For a quieter moment, you can stop by in the morning or afternoon.
50 Post Street
At 50 Post Street you’ll find Crocker Galleria where you can grab lunch at the food court, or at the farmer’s market on Thursdays. But instead of grabbing a seat downstairs, head to the third floor and take the roof garden exit to find this privately-owned public open space.
After lunch you can take an elevator downstairs to peak in on the Wells Fargo bank vault.