POPOS – San Francisco Hidden Treasures

Ali Sullivan
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POPOS – San Francisco Hidden Treasures: Privately Owned Public Spaces in San Francisco.

Alright, let me put y’all on real quick. Hiding in plain sight all across the city, lies private but accessible pockets hosting some of the most striking views. After one of the guests staying here at the Pacific Tradewinds hostel kindly told me about POPOS, or, Privately Owned Public Spaces in San Francisco. I had to dig in and discover them for myself.

While many are hidden, all are relatively easy to find and all completely accessible to the public during operating hours. To no surprise, the results were refreshing.

Generally located central to the Financial District, which is right around the corner from ITH Pacific Tradewinds, these shiny spaces are anything from small parks, quiet resting places, to gorgeous rooftops. I’ll tag the official website below citing the full list, but I want to take the time (and save yours) to point out five of my favorites.

If you’re seeking a solemn space for some time alone in a busy city, look no further. Here are some of the best privatley owned public spaces in San Francisco.

543 Howard, 543 Howard St



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A small deck located almost directly next to the Salesforce Park, lies a simple overlook far vaster than all the others I visited. Directly in view of a bridge for public transport buses, it’s a unique view of life still and moving. It’s anything but a black heart.

343 Sansome St.

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A remarkably still, towering space in the sun. 15 stories up, this sunroof has gorgeous views of the surrounding Financial District. The roof has ample chairs, benches, and room. Not stylish by any means, but I found it a great space to hold solace. Solace 200 feet in the air isn’t so bad….especially with a joint or cigarette. Not only great for some time alone, a big group could easily be brought up to the rooftops for a BBQ with a view. I may or may not have felt compelled to shout from the rooftops during my time in the sky.

Citigroup Center, 1 Sansome St.

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A wide-open garden space with great airflow on the corner of Sutter and Sansome Street, this colossal marble space is a great place to enjoy a tea and read a book when passing through to Union Square.

Crocker Galleria, 50 Post St.

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Off both Montgomery and Post Street and atop an admittedly empty indoor shopping strip, lies a quiet rooftop with trees, benches, and shade. 3 stories up off the street, it’s a simple but great space to look up at the looming surrounding residential buildings.

Salesforce Park, 425 Mission St

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Okay, you caught me. While not *technically* listed as a POPOS, it serves as the same. Completely open to the public, Salesforce Park is at the center of the Financial District and in close proximity to many I visited. This park is definitely more populated than the others, with the same great views.

The park is sandwiched between two towering office building and is rich with green set against the surrounding glass. In the shape of an oval and the length of about 3 football fields, what’s unique about this location is that it’s enclosed with a laid track for a leisurely stroll. Hosting a coffee shop and bar at its center, this is the perfect area to grab a drink and walk off the calories as you drink it.

I hope when visiting San Francisco you enjoy these spaces and more! Linking more here, if you compelled to check out the others listed, and there are plenty.


The best thing about all of these privately owned public spaces? They are all within easy access to ITH Pacific Tradewinds, making it the ideal place to stay while exploring the city. It couldn’t get any easier to see amazing views of the city by the bay!



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