Every big city has its tourist magnets, and ours is no exception. Golden Gate Park, Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf are spectacular places to visit, but locals know that there’s much more to San Francisco than what’s listed in the travel guides. When you’ve exhausted the city’s tried-and-true must-sees, you’ll find that every neighborhood has its secrets, and those hidden places are well worth seeking out. For a break from the urban grind, San Francisco has thousands of fun escapes tucked within its winding streets and jagged cliffs. Here are five of them:
This sculpture, constructed on the tip of a jetty in the San Francisco marina, is actually a musical instrument played by the Bay itself. Constructed of PVC organ pipes, the Wave Organ emits sounds that change with the tides. The jetty, which extends from the Golden Gate Yacht Club, also overlooks the Golden Gate and Alcatraz and offers a panoramic view of the city.
This massive art installation is constructed from 37 reclaimed Monterey cypress trees and stands 100 feet tall, rising above the secluded Bay Area Ridge Trail in the Presidio forest. The unhealthy trees were felled as part of a reforestation project and repurposed by Goldsworthy into the sculpture, which can be seen from downtown on clear days.
Nestled within the Cayuga Terrace neighborhood, this whimsical park is best known for its colorful sculptures of imaginary wooden creatures and totem poles. But if that’s not enough to entice you, the park also includes a children’s playground, walking trails, basketball and tennis courts, a ball diamond, and more.
For a truly mind-bending experience, make the trip to this psychedelic attraction on Pier 39. Great for all ages, the mirror maze is lit with black lights, causing it to glow with neon colors. Covering 2,000 square feet with 77 mirrors, the maze is filled with twists and dead-ends that will disorient and delight.
Along the Coastal Trail in Lands End park is a hidden labyrinth nestled within Eagle’s Point. Constructed with stones, it was modeled after the traditional walking labyrinths of monasteries. Except for a spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge, walking the labyrinth is a solitary experience that feels like it’s unraveling at a remote corner of the world. A peaceful and contemplative experience.
There’s plenty in this city just waiting to be discovered by old and new residents alike. It’ll take nearly a lifetime to check out everything there is to see, so get out there and explore!