San Francisco Things To Do -
Awesome "Off-the-Beaten-Path" Moments

Shh! Can you keep a secret?

...because you won't find this list of San Francisco things to do in most travel guides for San Francisco!

1. Visit the Wave Organ.

Image of the Wave Organ in San Francisco.

It's an elaborate acoustic sculpture and quirky SF landmark, and if you go you'll be rewarded with great views of the city skyline, SF bay, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge.

You'll also likely have the place to yourself! Go at high tide for the best opportunity to hear the weird and warbled, amplified sea tunes! Check the tides.

Here's how to find it:
It's located at 1 Yacht Road in between Crissy Field and the Marina harbor just off of Mason Street.

2. Explore the Mission.

The Mission is one of the most happening neighborhoods in San Francisco, but it's not a part of town that tourists visit often.

Begin your exploration by browsing the off-beat boutiques along Valencia at 16th Street. Head south towards 18th Street, and when you get there, hang a right.

If you are hungry, grab a snack from one of the delightful spots on 18th Street between Guerrero and Dolores. There you will find the city's top voted bakery (Tartine), ice-cream shop (Bi-Rite Creamery), and gourmet market (also Bi-Rite), plus the highly popular Delfina Pizzeria.

If it's sunny, spend an hour or two in Dolores Park. It's where the young, hip urbanites of the Mission go to soak up some rays of sunshine. You'll see spontaneous dance parties with djs, hula-hoopers, sun-bathers, jugglers, picnickers, and happy dogs playing. There is also a spectacular view of the city skyline at the south end.

For dinner, consider a Mexican burrito from one of the Mission district's many taquerias. When the sun goes down, go for a pub crawl in one of the most happening nightlife areas of San Francisco.

3. Climb the mosaic-tiled Moraga Steps to the top of Grand View Park (or as locals call it, Turtle Hill).

You will be rewarded with sweeping views of San Francisco. This place is a true local gem that not many tourists know about!

Reflections through a crystal ball of the tiled Moraga Steps.Image of the Moraga Steps in San Francisco through a crystal Ball.

The steps begin at 16th Avenue and Moraga Street, in the Inner Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco, on the west side of the city.

4. Catch a movie at the independent Castro Theater.

Built in 1922, it is considered a historical San Francisco landmark, and is inarguably the most beautiful theater in town.

Try to catch a "sing-a-long" performance if there is one scheduled, such as Grease or The Sound of Music. People dress up as their favorite characters, and fun party-favors are passed out at the beginning of the show to enhance the participatory experience!

For the events schedule at the Castro Movie Theater, click here.

5. Go for a walk along Lands End, and find the labyrinth next to Mile Rock Beach.

Image of the labyrinth at Mile Rock Beach in San Francisco.

There are plenty of San Francisco locals who haven't walked the beautiful bluffs of the Lands End trail! You can find the beginning of the trail at the parking lot near Sutro Baths.

6. Glide down the Seward Street Slides.

These cement slides are tucked away in a charming little community garden in a corner of the Castro district. Grab a piece of cardboard at the bottom of the slide before heading to the top.

When you are finished you can explore the shops and restaurants around 18th Street and Castro, or make your way to the top of Twin Peaks to check out incredible views of the city!

7. Go for a soak at Kabuki Springs and Spa.

A Japanese style bath house, this is a wonderful place to relax your body and mind. They have alternating women's and men's days, except for Tuesdays when both are welcome to come together. There is a sauna, a steam room, a warm pool, a cold plunge, as well as a full range of spa services.

Located near Fillmore Street and Japantown, there are lots of places nearby to grab a bite to eat before or after your visit.

8. Hike trails by Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands.

Image of Rodeo Beach from Marin Headlands.

Ok, so it's not technically San Francisco, but it's just across the Golden Gate Bridge, which is a trip you should take if you are visiting this city anyway!

9. Touch Hopper's Hands, and see the Golden Gate Bridge from an alternate vantage point at Fort Point.

While there, grab a snack from the nearby Warming Hut, and watch surfers catch big waves at Fort Point Break.

Image of Warming Hut, Surfer, Golden Gate Bridge and Hopper's Hands at Fort Point.

In case you are wondering...

Ken Hopper is a Golden Gate Bridge iron-worker who had this little plaque erected when he noticed that runners at Crissy Field always touched their hands to the chain-link fence before turning around and running back.

Aside from bravely working at mind-boggling heights to maintain the integrity of the bridge, he also participates in the challenging task of suicide prevention, by coaxing back jumpers from the Golden Gate Bridge.

He is, along with the other iron-workers of the bridge, a local hero.

10. Join in on Critical Mass!

Image of bicycle riders participating in Critical Mass, San Francisco.

Critical Mass is a very characteristically San Francisco thing to do, and represents an important aspect of the personality of this city.

It's a bicycle movement that now happens in over 300 cities, but it got its start here in San Francisco in 1992.

Around 6:00 p.m. on the last Friday of every month, you can join hundreds of local bicycle enthusiasts as they ride through town, and cause a bit of mayhem to the rush-hour traffic.

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