At the top of the ritzy Pacific Heights neighborhood sits Alta Plaza Park, a tiered park of nearly twelve acres. The tiers are like a beautiful set of concrete stairs from Pierce street called, fittingly enough, The Grand Staircase. You may recognize the Grand Staircase from some landscape photographs, as well as the car chase from the 1971 movie "What's Up Doc?" which starred Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neil. Even today, you can still see the damage caused by the several cars used to stage the scene.
Once you get to the top of the park, you will find some of the most beautiful views in San Franciso. On a clear day, you can see the Transamerica Pyramid and maybe even as far out into the bay as Alcatraz Island. But even on a foggy day, you will find the walk up to the top of Alta Plaza to be worthwhile. There are two full tennis courts, a basketball court that can double as a tennis court, and a really amazing kids playground that includes plenty of sand, swings, and play structures.
As you might expect in a city named for Saint Francis, dogs are welcome. However, they must be on a leash unless they're in the very clearly marked off-leash zone. The park is well-manicured and beautifully landscaped in general, but you should plan on bringing your own doggie bags and carry extra water for your fur baby.
Note: Although the park is open from 5:00 AM to Midnight daily, the bathrooms are only available from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Also, while the bathrooms are handicapped accessible, the park is known for its iconic concrete stairs, which are found throughout the park, linking the tiers of the park. There is wheelchair access from the corner of Scott and Jackson. Please keep this in mind if you or your dog are mobility impaired.