There are so many unique places in San Francisco, it can be hard to figure out where to start your search. Of course it is hard to narrow this list down to just 10, but these unique places in particular should not be missed. Let’s check ’em out!
1. Camera Obscura: 1096 Point Lobos Avenue
Opened in 1946, this gem is located on the grounds of the Cliff House and features a working camera obscura, which reflects images of the beachfront outside. You can also find holograms here. When you arrive to the Cliff House, descend the stairs on either side to reach the platform where you'll see the Giant Camera/Camera Obscura booth.
2. Fairmont Rooftop Garden: 950 Mason Street
On the top of Nob Hill is a turn-of-the-century oasis with the style of a private estate. Dazzle at the palms and incredible views on this rooftop. Also, look out for the Penthouse Suite, perhaps the most expensive room in town. Ironically, if you're looking for a cheap cup of coffee, head down to the attached
, which offers some of the cheapest java in town.
3. Cable Car Museum: 1201 Mason Street
This museum offers a subterranean peek into the heart and soul of cable car operations in San Francisco. Admission is free, too!
4. Legion of Honor: 100 34th Avenue
The building is a replica of the French Pavilion and similar to the Hôtel de Salm in Paris. Walk around the front and gaze at Rodin's classic sculpture. The building is on an elevated site in Lincoln Park, which features spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
5. The Wave Organ: Yacht Road
An oddity for sure, the Wave Organ was built in 1986, in collaboration with the Exploratorium. This is an acoustic sculpture that amplifies the sounds of the waves from the Bay.
6. Dutch Windmill: John F. Kennedy Drive
Nestled in Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden, the Dutch Windmill sits at the west end of Golden Gate Park. This may not be The Netherlands, but you'll certainly feel like you've left Fog City for just a bit.
7. Mechanics' Institute Library and Chess Room: 57 Post Street
Amid the traffic, crowds, and madness of San Francisco is a Chess Club. The Mechanics' Institute Chess Club is both the oldest library on the West Coast and the oldest chess club in the United States, with continuous chess play for over 150 years.
8. Parrots of Telegraph Hill: Corner of Filbert Street and Kearny Street on Telegraph Hill
Explore Telegraph Hill and see if you can spot the wild parrots. Check out the many staircases in the area, too. With the parrots flying overhead, you'll wind through gardens and be surrounded by spectacular views of the Bay and San Francisco skyline.
9. Treasure Island: San Francisco
Many people drive right pass this island, but they're missing out on attractions like the eclectic flea market, warehouse workspaces, artist boutiques, and impressive views of the San Francisco skyline. Despite a turbulent past, this island is worth a short day trip.
10. Musée Mécanique: Pier 45, Shed A, Taylor Street, Fisherman's Wharf
One of the few remnants of San Francisco's oceanside Playland, the Musée Mécanique is very unique. This is a museum dedicated to 20th-century penny arcade games and artifacts.