San Francisco may be best known for attractions such as The Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, but this Californian city is home to countless other attractions as well. From botanical gardens to themed bars, here are 10 off-the-beaten-path things to do in San Francisco.
1. Stop By The Wave Organ
This unique instrument isn’t played by a person, but instead by the ocean itself. The Wave Organ is an acoustic sculpture located on the San Francisco Bay. The sculpture creates sound when waves crash into the various pipes and structures that make it up. For best results, visit at high tide.
2. Visit The Seward Street Slides
Here’s a great suggestion for those traveling with children. Tucked away in a tiny neighborhood park, the Seward Street Slides are a set of narrow, winding concrete slides that kids will love. Adults may also have fun slipping down this unique attraction. Many visitors recommend bringing cardboard to slide down on to increase the smoothness and speed of your trip. Additionally, the slides are closed in the evenings, so be sure to check the hours before you go.
3. Check Out The Aquarium of The Bay
If you’d enjoy seeing ocean life up close, head over to Pier 39’s Aquarium of The Bay. This Aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), as well as being an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute, making them a high-quality and reputable facility to visit. You can look forward to watching jellyfish drift through tanks, traversing a shark tunnel, or saying hi to some river otters during your trip.
4. Explore The San Francisco Botanical Garden
If you’re looking to spend some time relaxing, look no further than the San Francisco Botanical Garden. These gorgeous, sprawling gardens feature a huge variety of plants from all around the world, from looming redwood trees and exotic flowers to foliage native to San Francisco. This is a great way to catch your breath on a busy trip, and can also make for the perfect setting for a romantic stroll.
5. Enjoy A Drink At The Tonga Room And Hurricane Bar
Wanting to grab a drink? Add a fun twist with a visit to The Tonga Room And Hurricane Bar. This tiki bar has an almost surreal feel to it thanks to it’s large, central lagoon. The lagoon was once a swimming pool. Nowadays, you may not be able to take a dip, but you can look forward to enjoying some live music played by a band on a boat in the middle of the lagoon.
6. Visit Some Ruins
The Sutro Baths were originally built as a public swimming facility in the late 1800s. After a period of financial hardship and a devastating fire, the facility was eventually left in ruins. You can visit the ruins today for yourself by heading over to Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
7. Explore The Exploratorium
Here’s another option for adults and kids alike! The Exploratorium offers hands-on, fun learning on a variety of subjects from microbiology to shadows. A visit here is a great way to not only keep children entertained but also add an educational twist to your trip. Adults won’t be left out either – the museum also offers some adults-only programs on Thursday evenings.
8. Find Quirky Gifts At Paxton Gate
Paxton Gate is a curiosity shop in San Francisco and the perfect stop for those looking to add a quirky flair to their trip. It offers a vast variety of eccentric wares ranging from fossils to more morbid items such as preserved snake paperweights.
9. See Bison
Bison might conjure images of remote wilderness, but you won’t have to travel far at all to see them in San Francisco. Head over to Golden Gate Park to check out the Bison paddock, home to a group of majestic animals.
10. Explore The California Academy Of Sciences
Exploring a museum may not sound like a fun afternoon, but the California Academy of Sciences is far from your average museum. This sprawling museum is home to a 3-story indoor rainforest, as well as a variety of live inhabitants from alligators to butterflies. Guests will also enjoy checking out some of the historical exhibits, which include a looming whale skeleton. Finally, if you’re in the mood for a bit to eat, the museum also offers on-site dining.
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