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7 Offbeat Things To Do in San Francisco

Aug/27/2023 / by Nancy Amon

Enjoy the sights and historical culture of the vibrant city

San Francisco cable car
Photo by Luna Marina via Shutterstock

San Francisco, fondly known as City by the Bay and San Fran, abounds in tourist attractions, such as Alcatraz Island, Golden Gate Bridge, PIER 39, Chinatown, and Union Square, to name just a few.

If you’re headed to San Francisco for a late summer visit but want to skip the usual sights, here are some offbeat experiences for you.

Visit the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps

16th Avenue is the most iconic place to see in San Francisco, and you go from ground to sky with a whopping 163 steps delicately decorated in mosaic design. The tiles are a beautiful spectacle, and if you don’t have any issues with your knees, give this site a go. Don’t forget to take pictures of the landscape.

Check Out the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park

The Maritime National Historic Park was constructed in the 19th century and is an adventure for the whole family. The park is at the northern edge of Fisherman’s Wharf and is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

The park consists of a fleet of historic ships, a visitor center, a maritime museum, and an aquarium. Visitors can explore the historic vessels and learn about the maritime history of the city. Don’t miss the Aquatic Park History Museum, where the Bathhouse building still stands, which was constructed in 1939.

Wander Through Lombard Street

A popular road in San Francisco, Lombard Street zigzags throughout its entire length. It is also one of the steepest inclined streets in the city, stretching from Hyde to Leavenworth. If you want to catch some of the best angles of this street in its full glory, take photos from the bottom looking upward. It looks like a rollercoaster for cars!

Explore The Asian Art Museum

The Asian Art Museum is a blend of two worlds, bringing Asian and American art together for the public. The collection started over 50 years ago, with renowned art collector Avery Bandage donating over 8,000 of the original Asian art pieces seen today. Since then, the art-loving tradition continues, and more art is donated each year. The museum is currently home to over 18,000 pieces. There are tours and exhibitions available to make the most of the museum.

Try the Escape Game

If you like mystery and puzzling adventures, then challenge yourself to the Escape Game. Based in the heart of San Francisco, The Escape Game allows you to work with your team and challenge your mental capabilities and teamwork. There are two main game setups in Downtown San Fransisco and Fisherman’s Warf. These escape games feature a variety of games like The Heist, Prison Break Alcatraz, and Gold Rush, to name a few.

Ride the San Francisco Cable Car

The San Francisco cable car is a must-do experience. While it might not be an exclusive tourist attraction, you will be able to explore the city from a different perspective. These cars were used for public transport over 150 years ago, and the tracks today are some of the original ones. On the route, you’ll get to see some of the beautiful angles of the Wharf, Golden Gate, and the iconic Chinatown.

Visit the Botanical Gardens

If you love flowers, you will love the Botanical Gardens in San Francisco. It features more than 8,000 exotic plants and flowers, tropical blooms, and more. Many of these plants are native to San Francisco. Ask for special exhibitions, events, and other activities.