Mission Dolores Park is nestled among the rolling hills between the Mission and Castro Districts in the heart of San Francisco. A historic site where native peoples gathered acorns, the Spanish founded missions, and an early Jewish cemetery once laid also provide respite for 1,600 residents after the 1906 earthquake.


Since 1907 the park and playground has been loved by generations of children and adults. They have delighted in its natural setting, views over the city, 100 year old palms and melalucca trees. After years of intense use the existing playground became lovingly worn, dangerous and out of date. Today it is boasted as the best playground in the City while still meeting new safety and universal accessibility criteria.


KLA is the designer of this new world class urban playground. We developed a child centric landscape solution that utilizes the existing hillside topography and incorporates custom elements - a natural stone climbing wall, cascading slide, music ‘sound grove, wood tree climber, a play mound and footbridge. Our design recognizes the rich park history and provides an environment of discovery and fun while strategically fulfilling the developmental needs of children.


Public input from interactive public workshops helped us realistically address concerns of the users and create the best playground possible. We have worked in tandem with Friends of Dolores Park Playground, the San Francisco Parks Foundation, San Francisco Recreation & Parks. Half the cost of the playground was funded through a gift from Prometheus Development to the Mercer Foundation.











Nature Based Urban Playground

San Fransisco, California