Travel Guides

7 Unusual Things to Do Next Time You’re in San Francisco

9 months ago by matthew

San Francisco is known for a lot of things. From the Golden Gate Bridge to street cars and every coffee shop in between, its certainly easy to fill your time with plenty of things to do and see while you’re in the Bay Area.

But beyond the better known landmarks that populate San Francisco there lies a whole other world of hidden gems that are just as worth visiting as the ones we always hear about! From quirky to historically interesting and unusual we’ve put together a list of our top seven lesser known spots to hit up the next time you’re in San Francisco.


IG // @meganmckean


1. Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory

56 Ross Alley, San Francisco, CA 94108

Located in China Town just off of Ross Alley, the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory was opened in 1962 and treats visitors to traditional and flavoured fortune cookies as well as demonstrations of the motorized round griddles used in making the cookies!

Photos of the workers making the treats are allowed for a 50 cent fee and you can grab a bag of your own fortune cookies for just $5.00!

IG // @_paosole_


2. Balmy Ally

Inner Mission District between 24th Street and Garfield Square

Balmy Ally is home to the Balmy Street Murals, the most concentrated collection of street art in all of San Francisco. Since the murals began being painted in 1973, nearly all of the buildings along the alley way have been covered with some form of art work.

Featuring some of the most Instagrammable walls in San Francisco Balmy Ally is a can’t miss spot for any street art enthusiast and urban explorer visiting the Bay Area.

IG // @asiadiscovers


3. Sutro Baths

1004 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121

Another historically significant landmark on our list of lesser known San Francisco must-see’s is the Sutro Baths. The baths were once large popular public saltwater swimming pools until a fire burnt them down in 1966 leaving the facility in ruins.

While the baths were set to be developed into housing and shopping centres, they were saved in 1980 by the National Park Service in order to preserve the land as it still stands today.

Now, visitors can stop by and explore the ruins, however be aware the ruins themselves aren’t maintained so climb at your own risk!


4. Castro Theatre

429 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

The Castro Theatre originated under the ownership of the Nasser brothers, an old movie-business family living in the San Francisco area. In the 1970s the Castro Theatre made a shift in its programming to feature more unconventional and countercultural programs, quickly becoming a cultural hub and political space for the LGBTQ movement.

Today the theater stills has regular feature programming and even the occasional adult Disney singalong!

IG // @melaniealexandra


5. Seward Mini Park

30 Seward St, San Francisco, CA 94114

Featuring two long steep adult-sized concrete slides as its focal point, Seward Mini Park was designed in 1973 by 14-year old Kim Clark after she won a design competition. The park closes at sunset so make sure you stop by during the day to take a spin on the slides and embrace that inner child!

Bring a piece of cardboard to sit on if you plan on sliding though or else you may run the risk of ruining your pants!

IG // @emilyemilton


6. The Camera Obscura Building

1096 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121

Camera Obscura technology works by using exterior light sources to project an image of the surrounding area onto a surface. Located in Land’s End the Camera Obscura Building offers a large-scale interpretation of this cool photographic light phenomenon!

The building, which is shaped like a giant camera, was even added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001 for its historical importance in the engineering world!

IG // @jessmarak


7. The Wave Organ

83 Marina Green Dr, San Francisco, CA 94123

The Wave Organ is a seriously unique sculpture you can’t miss on the shoreline of San Francisco Bay. The sculpture creates a bunch of different wave noises from hisses to deep rumbles depending on the tide levels and there’s plenty of spots around the structure to sit and listen or investigate the different pipe openings!

The organ is located at the end of a strip of land that extends from the Golden Gate Yacht Club and offers a pretty awesome panoramic view of the city as well!

IG // @d_carter86

San Francisco is absolutely packed with things to do and see and so many of them are off the beaten path. There are so many hidden gems around the Bay Area to discover that this list is certainly just the start to the quirky and unique landmarks available for exploring!

If you haven’t already, make sure you download the Map2Next app, where you can check out even more recommendations and save all your favorite spots to a custom map itinerary for your next trip!