Things to Do in San Francisco - page 3
San Francisco has one of the only remaining historic World War II Liberty ships docked in its bay, and it is open to visitors. Named for American Revolutionary War ship captain, the SS Jeremiah O’Brien is one of only two currently operational World War II Liberty ships afloat of the 2,700 built during the war. The ship survived the storming of Normandy on D-Day in 1944, and is now a National Historic Landmark visitors can tour near Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.
The preserved Liberty ship is completely unaltered, allowing for an authentic and accurate historical experience of exploring the ship just as it was made. Walking through the hallways and on deck, one can truly experience a time and place of being on the ocean in wartime decades ago. Everything from the engine room to the flying bridge is accessible to visitors, allowing a rare glimpse into life at sea and at war at that time.
Idyllic Pacific Heights, San Francisco’s most desirable address is famous for its historic homes—including Painted Lady Victorians—high-end shopping and dining on Fillmore Street, two hilltop parks, and billionaire residents. Everything in this neighborhood comes with postcard-worthy views across San Francisco Bay.
Home to the San Francisco Giants major league baseball team (winners of the 2010, 2012, and 2014 World Series Championships), Oracle Park is known for its waterfront setting on San Francisco Bay. This ballpark also features better-than-average stadium food, from Dungeness crab tacos to Hawaiian-style poke to Ghirardelli chocolate sundaes.
Located in the heart of San Francisco’s Nob Hill neighborhood, the Gothic-style Grace Cathedral is best known for its stained-glass windows that depict modern figures such as Thurgood Marshall, Robert Frost, and Albert Einstein. The church’s commitment to social issues is showcased in its AIDS Memorial Chapel, which houses a bronze altarpiece by activist Keith Haring.
When the sun breaks through the clouds in San Francisco, the Mission District feels it first, and locals flock to Mission Dolores Park to soak up those rays and enjoy picnics and lawn games on the grass. Noted for its view of the San Francisco skyline and proximity to some of the city’s best places to eat, Dolores Park is the place to be on a sunny afternoon.
A restored World War II submarine docked in San Francisco Bay, the USS Pampanito offers visitors a unique experience of military history. Explore the vessel that sank six Japanese ships in the Pacific, from the claustrophobic bunks shared by 70 submariners to the kitchen and dining area.
Sandwiched between San Francisco’s Civic Center and Alamo Square, Hayes Valley has grown into one of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods. Both residential and commercial, with its main drag Hayes Street, the area is full of custom shops and gourmet restaurants. There are also several Victorian and Queen Anne style townhouses in the surrounds, as well as numerous playgrounds and art-filled parks.
Though the area has been historically neglected, it has emerged as one of the most desirable areas in the city. Recent openings of coffee shops, craft cocktail bars, upscale boutiques, and even a beer garden have made this a hot spot of local activity. It seems that the city’s best new restaurants are opening in Hayes Valley on a regular basis. Its proximity to nearby arts and culture means it is often a pre- or post-show spot for dinner and drinks. It is also home to the new SJ Jazz Center.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) is a stunning venue for experiencing art in all its urgent vitality. The permanent collection, exhibitions, and events give artistic voice to issues facing California, the United States, and beyond, and encourage visitors to engage with art as an essential part of public life through interactive installations.
The Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic San Francisco structure that has been captured in countless photographs for decades. For travelers vying for the perfect snapshot, visit Sausalito's Vista Point for views of the bridge and San Francisco skyline in the distance.
One of San Francisco’s biggest districts, SoMa, meaning South of Market Street, encompasses several communities, including South Beach, Mission Bay, Rincon Park, AT&T Park, and Yerba Buena Gardens. A mix of commercial, residential, and entertainment neighborhoods, SoMa is a vibrant cultural hub of San Francisco that continues to evolve.
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Amongst its famous hills and winding streets, the cable cars of San Francisco have become perhaps the most iconic part of the famous city. Though they have a historic feel, the cable cars remain both a draw for visitors and a part of the city’s public transportation today.
The subtle sound of the cables running underneath the tracks is only the first clue as to how this classic transportation system works. The city’s Cable Car Museum goes into greater depth about functionality and history of the cars. You can learn about how and when they were first developed, as well as see three original cars from the 1870s. All of the system’s mechanical parts are on display, from the brake to the grips, as well as a large collection of historic photographs that take you back in time. There’s also the chance to go underground and view a subterranean cable in operation.
Fans of the curious and bizarre feel at home at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it houses rare and unusual plants from threatened rainforest environments. Pass a wide, welcoming front lawn and step inside the giant, white greenhouse to discover the beauty of the natural world.
On a quiet street in the Haight district of San Francisco, this purple painted Victorian house stands as the former dwelling of the band Grateful Dead. Street art depicting guitarist Jerry Garcia can be found on the sidewalks in front of the house. The timing was such that the band lived there from 1965-68, including during the famed “Summer of Love” in 1967. San Francisco was the center of the “flower power” hippie movement, and the Haight became known for its Bohemian lifestyle and the birth of several new musical genres.
All five members of the rock band lived in the house, which became known after the drug raid in 1967 for the possession of marijuana. It is claimed that it was in this house that the Grateful Dead’s distinctive musical style was born, as well as its naming by Jerry Garcia. Fans of the band, or “Deadheads,” can often be found making a pilgrimage to pay their respects to the musicians.
One of San Francisco’s main thoroughfares, ever-pulsating Market Street cuts a diagonal line from the Embarcadero on the city’s northeastern edge to the Twin Peaks neighborhood. It’s home to everything from big-name shops, restaurants, and cafés to offices, theaters, and plazas—attracting visitors and locals both day and night.
A scenic stretch of Marin County across the bay from San Francisco, Tiburon is a relaxed seaside community with charming architecture and homes that feel more like New England than California. Bay cruises, hikes, and bike tours abound, and ferries run during the week, making it easy to visit this laid-back, affluent town.
This neighborhood in the northeast section of San Francisco features mostly high-end real estate with enviable views of San Francisco Bay, but it’s also home to one of the city’s top attractions—the crooked block of Lombard Street. One of San Francisco cable car travels straight up and down the hill on Hyde Street, drawing lots of visitors to this otherwise residential area.
Part of the larger San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, the War Memorial Opera House is a center for arts and culture in the city by the bay. It is home to the San Francisco Ballet and, of course, the San Francisco Opera.
The structure dates back to 1932, when it was designed by prominent architect Arthur Brown, Jr in a beaux-arts style. It was the first municipally owned opera house built in the United States, and at the time of its opening it was one of the most technologically advanced venues in the country. Today the elegant theater holds classical ballet and opera performances as well special events and lectures.
The opera house opens with a grand lobby and an ornately decorated 38-foot ceiling, lined with tall columns. Broad staircases lead to the theater, which is both modern and traditional at once. It is widely thought to be one of the most beautiful buildings in San Francisco.
With its cliff-top location on the western edge of San Francisco, the Cliff House restaurant attracts locals and visitors with its fine dining and views of the Pacific and Ocean Beach. Originally opened in 1863, the Cliff House has gone through many changes over the years and today is part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
San Francisco’s Exploratorium is more than a museum—it’s one giant laboratory. Perched on the downtown waterfront at Pier 15, the Exploratorium brings together science, art, and human perception through interactive, science-based experiences. The Exploratorium is wholly hands-on, with nearly every surface designed to be touched, played on, and engaged with.
Step inside the Walt Disney® Family Museum to understand the man and innovator who created Mickey Mouse and Disney World® and revolutionized the movie industry. Interweaving Disney’s personal history with early drawings of Disney’s animated works, this museum takes visitors back in time to Hollywood’s earliest days.
Journey through Asia—without embarking on an overseas trip—in this museum dedicated to art from the region. During your stay in San Francisco, view artworks spanning different periods in history and contemporary art from cultural regions, such as India, Japan, China, and Korea.
Right off Union Square lies the famous Marrakech Magic Theater. Regarded as something of a hidden gem of San Francisco, this small but intimate theatre is where MagicianJay Alexanderperforms his signature magic and comedy routines in a close and comfortable setting. Known for greeting his guests at the door and encouraging audience participation, Jay Alexander makes the Marrakech Magic Theater feel like a comfortable evening amongst friends. Not flashy or over-the-top, the comedy and magic are performed tastefully, and the lounge before the show offers guests a chance to try some fairly-priced wine, beer, or cocktails with some hors d’oeuvres should they please.
San Francisco foodies and local chefs alike flock to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market to peruse stalls bursting with some of Northern California’s finest produce. At the waterfront market, visitors can tempt their taste buds with local goat cheese, fresh-pressed olive oil, organic vegetables, and a variety of ready-to-eat artisanal goods.
From 1910 to 1940, hundreds of thousands of immigrants—mostly from Asia and Mexico—were processed at the US Immigration Station on Angel Island; many were also detained and interrogated. The restored station is now a museum dedicated to the education and interpretation of this period of American history.
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