Sure, there’s the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, but once you’ve made your way through the classic tourist hot spots and attractions, there are a plethora of unique experiences waiting to be explored in San Francisco.
Check the day’s high tide time and coincide it with a trip to the ethereal Wave Organ. Created by Artist Peter Richards in collaboration with the Exploratorium, this beautiful acoustic sculpture will captivate you. Carved from granite and marble from a demolished cemetery, it’s a remarkable sight, but it’s also an instrument played by mother nature herself. As the waves from San Francisco Bay crash against the end of the 20+ pipes, the sculpture produces a cacophony of low, subtle tones.
Held on the last full weekend of each month, the Treasure Island antique market is a must-do, even if you’re not actually in need of any antiques. You can shop stall upon stall of fascinating antiques (or just have a sticky beak at what’s on offer) while sampling local wines, craft beers, dishes from multi-cultural food trucks and be entertained by a bevvy of local musicians.
Image courtesy of Smith Brothers Construction
Head to the quiet Sunset district where you’ll find the Instagram-worthy 16th Avenue Staircase. These 162 steps are crafted out of mosaic tiles, all donated by the local community. As you ascend the artwork turns from sea level to a bright yellow sun and this is where you’ll discover fantastic views of the city. Remember to pack your camera!
Image courtesy of Bored Panda
What if we told you there is a way to see the likes of the San Francisco ballet, opera and orchestra for free? During the summer months these companies swap black tie performances for picnics in the park. All you’ll need is a picnic blanket and a few tasty treats. Make sure you head in early to secure yourself a prime picnic spot as it gets busy from 2pm.
Image courtesy of San Francisco Symphony
Known for hosting gathering all over the city (but only on certain days and at certain times – check their website to find out where they’ll be when you’re in town), Off the Grid are experts at creating a portable party. With over 32 trendy food trucks, music, entertainment, an onsite brewery and bar service, you can get your hands on everything from poke bowls to chocolate tacos.
Image courtesy of Inside Scoop SF
Perfect for the kids (or the kids at heart), don’t be deterred by the ‘no adults unless accompanied by a child’ signs on these winding concrete slides. Hidden away in a residential neighbourhood park, these slides were designed by a local teenager back in the 1960’s as a form of neighbourhood activism and are still enjoyed to this day.
Make sure you visit between 10am – 5pm Tuesday to Sunday, the slides are locked at all other times.
Image courtesy of Atlas Obscura
Hidden within a nondescript building on San Francisco’s Pier 39, this psychedelic maze is bound to be unlike any other maze you’ve ever experienced. Designed to be one-part art and one-part science, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into an alternative universe surrounded by mirrors, flashing neon lights and rave music.
Image courtesy of Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze
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