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9 Unusual Places to Visit in San Francisco
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9 Unusual Places to Visit in San Francisco

Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, you get surprised with all the unusual places to visit in San Francisco.

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4 min read

November 16, 2021

After so many visits to San Francisco and seeing all the things that tour guides recommend, you’d think you’re pretty much done. Well, think again—the City by the Bay has plenty of not-so-popular, hidden gems that make S.F. so unique. Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, you get surprised with all the unusual places to visit in San Francisco.

These Are All The Strange Places To See In San Francisco

Audium - Theatre of Sound is a 49-seat theater specially composed of "sound sculptures." Photo courtesy of Audium - Theatre of Sound.

1. Audium - Theatre of Sound 

Location: 1616 Bush Street

One of the places you must go in San Francisco is Audium - Theatre of Sound. This unusual theatre was constructed in the late 1950s to host audio performances on a sound-space continuum. The 49-seat spot offers an experience unlike any other—176 speakers and a 32-channel sound system boost perceptual awareness through sound and space. Get acquainted with the benefits of sound art at this unique San Francisco tourist attraction.

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2. Charles Manson’s House

Location: 616 Page Street, Haight-Ashbury

Curious about the eerie history of San Francisco? Your starting point should be Haight Ashbury. During the Summer of Love in 1967, California’s most notorious hippie (and criminal) Charles Manson lived here before moving his “family” to the San Fernando Valley. Built in 1903, the house once had regular, family-next-door residents living their happily ever after. Nowadays, namely on Halloween, people walk past the house trying to guess what really happened behind its walls. 

Stow Lake has provided San Franciscans with an outdoor escape for more than a century, as they come to enjoy the scenery and allure of the city.

3. Stow Lake

Location: Stow Lake Drive, Golden Gate Park

Riding a boat through Golden Gate Park’s Stow Lake is one of the most unique things to do in S.F. The gorgeous lake is one of the most photogenic places in Californiamany couples choose to propose here. But the beautiful lake is all romance and love; you’ll hear urban legends about this place that just might creep you out. Rumor has it that many years ago, a woman drowned in the lake while trying to save her baby. The white lady (as locals like to call her) still lingers in the lake trying to find her baby. We dare you to call out “White lady, white lady, I have your baby” three times at Stow Lake. If the ghost believes you, she just might show up. Think you’re fearless enough? 

Cayuga Park's history, location, and aesthetics make it unique among the parks of San Francisco. Photo courtesy of Atlas Obscura.

4. Cayuga Park

Location: 301 Naglee Avenue

Looking for a unique place to visit in San Francisco? Cayuga Park has all the charm to enchant you with its beauty. The small neighborhood park is a walk-through wonderland of wood carvings. Small paths take you to the amazing art pieces—it’s said that there are up to 50 carvings within the park’s premises. From religious figures to eerie forest silhouettes, you’re bound to encounter beauty and contrast here. Despite being outshined by surrounding parks, especially when it comes to size and amenities, Cayuga is one of the most visited thanks to the unusual tree sculptures. 

Weird San Francisco Tourist Attractions To Check Out Now

5. Jack Early Park

Location: 100 Pfeiffer Street

Named after Jack E. Early, this city park is where you’ll get to admire the City by the Bay in all its glory. Back in the 60s, Early wanted to create a San Francisco tourist spot with unparalleled views of the city. He found an intimate spot on the top of the northern side of Telegraph Hill. Soon, Early started planting trees, built stairs, and two small seats to make the area as scenic as possible. Climb up the 60 stairs with your beau during sunset and treat yourself to breathtaking views of the Golden Gate, Bay Bridge, and beyond.  

Throughout the Mission District, hundreds of walls and fences are adorned with colorful works of art featuring themes.

6. Mission District Street Art

Location: East-Central San Francisco

A walk through the streets of the Mission District is the free art tour you always dreamt of taking. This must-see place in San Francisco has the widest range and concentration of colorful murals in the city. The artworks feature themes from cultural heritage to social and political statements. The very first mural was created in the early 1980s in Balmy Alley to express rage over human rights violations. The artistic statements continued increasing in number until the district became a walkable art gallery. 

7. Musée Mécanique

Location: Pier 45, Fishermans Wharf

Fog City has a fair share of strange museums to visit, but the Musée Mécanique remains the most unique of them all. Located at Fisherman’s Wharf, the museum has the largest collection of coin-operated arcade machines and mechanical musical instruments. Featuring more than 300 machines, each of the exhibits takes you on a trip down memory lane as you explore the history of video games. Grab a handful of coins for the most fun outing you’ll ever have in one of the coolest places to visit in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Camera Obscura projects an image onto a horizontal viewing table via a reflected image from a viewpoint at the top of the building.

8. Camera Obscura

Location: 1096 Point Lobos Avenue

Camera Obscura is a large-scale camera located in the Lands End area of the Outer Richmond District. This tourist attraction was the brainchild of Floyd Jennings, who approached the owner of Cliff House Restaurant to install the now-historical structure in 1946. Since then, San Francisco’s Camera Obscura has been considered one of the best ones in the world thanks to its engineering significance. Inside the small dark room are a series of mirrors that project the live image of what's happening outside into a large bowl-like screen. Treat yourself to 360-degree views of the bay at this unique place to see in San Francisco.

Shakespeare's Flowers takes after the themed garden spread of plants and flowers mentioned within the works of William Shakespeare.

9. Garden of Shakespeare’s Flowers 

Location: 335 Martin Luther King Junior Drive

Located in the iconic Golden Gate Park, the Garden of Shakespeare’s Flowers is a large collection of colorful blooms illustrating the famous lines of the author’s books. The garden was established by Alice Eastwood, who once served as the director of botany for the Academy of Science. The Garden of Shakespeare’s Flowers features more than 200 flora and plants that transport visitors into the pages of the famous author’s comedies, tragedies, and sonnets. Travel back in time as you explore the beauties once mentioned in your favorite Shakespear books. 

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