Helen Wills Playground (Broadway and Larkin, phone #292-2016) Named for another Bay Area tennis great, this playground recently underwent a complete renovation due in large part to community support and the fundraising efforts of Russian Hill Neighbors. There is a recreation center with restrooms, tiny tots and latchkey programs, and summer programs. It has a children’s playground, tennis court, and basketball court.
At the southwest corner of Broadway and Larkin Streets is Helen Wills Park, a multi-use play-space providing kids and adults the opportunity to exercise and meet others from the community.
A $3.4 million renovation project in 2005 built a basketball court, sandbox, toddler swings, tire swing, colorful playground with a soft surface, picnic table, and a two-room clubhouse with bathrooms and water fountains. The park also features a tennis court and tennis backboard, which is fitting as the park is named for Helen Wills, a famed local who won 31 Grand Slam tennis tournament titles in her career from 1919-1938.
A unique aerial walkway gives kids space to run above the park and three slides afford fun routes to come down before diving into the tunnels and hanging from the bars. Notably, even though the park faces busy Broadway Street, you are up above the city’s hustle once inside the safe fence, and SF Recreation & Parks keeps the park clean with frequent visits by the maintenance team.
For information on reserving the clubhouse for an event, contact SF Recreation & Parks at 415-831-5500.