Hidden Gems of San Francisco

By Paula Aguilera

Oddball visionaries, lesser-known histories, and unconventional destination spots arguably make up the meat of our city’s beloved urban heart.

  • The Marina at Pier39

    The Wave Organ: a jetty made by Exploratorium artists in residence in the ’80s that uses cemetery stones with inlaid pipes to create an organ when the waves come in at high tide.

  • Free Gold Watch

    What began as a silk screening print shop has now also become an impressive vintage arcade, housing pinball machines, skeeball, and other classic games at ’80s arcade prices.

  • San Francisco Treasure Island

    Clipper Cove: a hidden stretch of beach to the south of Treasure Island’s yacht harbor is shielded from the wind and offers great views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge.

  • Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory

    Thousands of fortunes have been created here daily since 1962 - buy them by the bagful or take a couple samples with you for the road.

  • The 16th Ave Tiled Steps Project

    Inspired by the Escadaria Selarón in Brazil, local artists covered 163 precipitous steps with mosaic tiles, portraying a shimmering path from the sea to the sky.