San Francisco, CA

7 Things You Must Do When in San Francisco

San Francisco, California has a population of almost 900,000 people with a lot to see and do. From adventures in the outdoors to new bars popping up, there is always something to explore. Whether you are visiting for the first time or trying to expand your comfort zone in the city you call home, here are seven things you must see and do in San Francisco.

1. Golden Gate National Recreation Area

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is a large national park that stretches over 75,000 acres. You can go for a hike, visit one of the many beaches or forts, or check out Crissy Field March. One of the lesser-known activities is Sutra Baths. Created in 1894, the Sutro Baths were a massive indoor pool system with water from the Pacific Ocean. The baths stretched over three acres and closed during the Great Depression. Now you can visit the ruins of the baths and envision the massive structure.

2. Shakespeare Gardens

Not to be confused with the national park, the city-owned Golden Gate Park downtown pays tribute to William Shakespeare. The large garden has sculptures with famous quotes and biographical information about the man himself. You can also see the plants referenced in Shakespeare’s work throughout the garden. This is a tranquil spot in the middle of the city.

3. Bourbon and Branch

Grab a drink in the most secretive bar in the city at Bourbon and Branch. This bar is actually a complex system of secret bar areas. Through a trap door into the basement, you will find an actual speakeasy from the Prohibition era. Four of the bars require a reservation at which point you get the password that lets you enter. One bar, The Library, requires no reservation. You just need the password (which is “books”). Read the rules carefully. You cannot take pictures or use social media while inside.

4. Magowan's Infinite Mirror Maze

On Pier 39 in the city, you can find Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze. Using black lights and a series of mirrors, you have to find your way through the dark. It only costs $5.00 per person, and it is open seven days a week. Bring some friends and laugh as you try to make your way through.

5. House of Air

Play like a kid again at the House of Air’s giant system of trampolines. You can jump on your own, play a game of dodgeball, take a workout class, or get a private jumping lesson. Learn to do acrobatics by signing up for a class or getting an instructor. Challenge your friends to an obstacle course to test your abilities. There is also a special area just for kids.

6. Ferry Building

Do some shopping at the Ferry Building at the end of Market Street. Dating back to 1898, this building once served as the central transit building welcoming commuters from their trains and ferries. The famous large clocktower still exists today. Now you can visit independent producers and artisans selling a range of food and unique goods. It is the perfect place to shop for local goods.

7. Exploritorium

Exploritorium merges science with the arts to create an interactive experience for children and adults. This is one of the few museums at which touching an exhibit is not only encouraged but can be mandatory. The exhibits change, but you can try out object levitation and experience different sensory perceptions through light and sound. Go to one of the weekly night-time events for a social night out at the museum.

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