Secret Roof Tops & Gardens: The Best POPOS in SOMA (Privately Owned Public Open Spaces)

San Francisco, CA

  • A sundial on the roof of the Crocker Galleria.
  • "The Pequod Meets the Delight" by Frank Stella.
  • Part painting, part sculpture.  "Shards III" by Frank Stella.
  • Larry Bell's "stick figure" sculpture.
  • Charles Arnoldi's colorful painting.
  • "Moonrise Sculptures" and "Human Structures (San Francisco)"
  • Looking up from the middle of "Human Structures (San Francisco)" by Jonathan Borofsky.
  • Head up the stairs to the rooftop garden
  • Plenty of seating and open space.
  • The 1 Sansome St Courtyard.
  • A close up of "Star Girl" by Alexander Stirling Calder.
  • The cavernous and empty sanctuary.
  • The naked side of the Hobart Building.
  • Enter the Crocker Galleria.
  • The mansard roof on the roof of 1 Kearny.
  • A view looking south.

1 hour and 30 minutes
1.2 mi
Guided by Clay
Clay Sortino


By law, new high rise offices in San Francisco need to designate a certain amount of space to be available to the public. Many are weak executions that aim to do the least amount required, but others are surprisingly delightful: hidden rooftops, secluded gardens and secret lobbies. Come explore the best and most exclusive hidden spots and views of SOMA and Market Street. These are the Publicly Owned Public Open Spaces (POPOS) that even the locals don't know about.

About Your Guide

When I was a kid growing up in Central California, San Francisco was a pulsing metropolis - the place to be. SF had all the best concerts, all the creativity, all the food, all the best stories. Now that I live in SF all these years later, I still feel that way. I find humor in things I probably shouldn't. I love being outdoors, taking photographs, learning local history, and exploring the world through my rambunctious children's eyes.

Go on this Sidewalk

Guide Points

  1. LinkedIn Building Lobby

    The brand new 222 2nd Street was a gravel parking lot in 2013. Today it is the 26-story, 370 ft tall San Francisco headquarters of LinkedI…

  2. 101 2nd St

    Enter this glass building to find beige marble walls, black granite floors, indoor trees and metal tables. This indoor park and four-story…

  3. 555 Mission Street Plaza

    The plaza just west of the 34-story 555 Mission Street demands at least a quick stop to check out the two sets of sculptures that sit betwe…

  4. 100 1st Street Rooftop Garden

    This is a great POPOS to sit and hang out for a moment, so If you would like a local snack, check out Whole Cakes just west of the stairs o…

  5. Citigroup Center

    This stately, white marble edifice is the site of the former Anglo & London Paris National Bank building, built in 1910. Three stories tal…

  6. KPMG Building

    You will find a cavernous room with skylights, circular tables and empty chairs. It is a giant sanctuary that seems like it should be more…

  7. Crocker Galleria East

    The Crocker Galleria has all the appearances of a historic building from the industrial revolution, but the truth is that it was built in 1…

  8. Sun Terrace

    The 11th floor roof offers as close to private as it gets for a public restroom. Politely ask the guard on the ground floor for the key be…

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