There are so many fabulous places to visit in San Francisco, that few venture beyond in search of the hidden gems that exist all over the city. With the benefit of time and access, San Francisco residents can leave Alcatraz and Pier 39 to the tourists and explore these top five best kept secret places in San Francisco.
#1 Favorite Place in San Francisco: NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences
How often do science and cocktails go hand in hand? At the California Academy of Sciences, it happens once a week. On Thursday nights, NightLife happens. You can check out the exhibits while listening to live music and… drinking, often with a theme. Tickets are available online. $12 for non-members and $10 for members. VIP NightLife tickets include a tour and are $59. You must be 21 or older to attend.
#2 Favorite Place in San Francisco: Windmills, Buffalo and Free Lindy Dancing in Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park promises you a rose garden and gives you so much more: free concerts, windmill installations, free lindy dancing and beginner swing lessons on Sundays, buffalo. Yes, buffalo. You can come to the park every day for a month and never see the same thing twice. If ever you feel like you’ve done it all or seen it all in San Francisco, head over to Golden Gate Park and just start walking.
#3 Favorite Place in San Francisco: Annual SF Public Library Big Book Sale at Fort Mason
Every year, the San Francisco Public Library hosts the mother of all used book sales, the Annual Big Book Sale. For four days at least, they rent out a huge warehouse at Fort Mason in the Marina and fill it, end to end, with tables of books. On the last day of the sale, every book sells for $1! Locals know to line up early so they can score a shopping cart to fill up with everything from huge art books to science fiction paperbacks.
If you miss the annual sale (it usually happens in September), you can go to one of the monthly $1 sales at their new space in the Mission at 438 Treat Ave.
#4 Favorite Place in San Francisco: SCRAP
SCRAP stands for Scrounger’s Center for Reusable Art Parts and it’s pretty much the most incredible place for artists, teachers, crafters, and ‘upcyclists’ in San Francisco. Located at 81 Toland Street, you enter on Newcomb and explore all the extra stuff donated and leftover from construction projects to art projects all over the city. It’s open from Monday through Saturday, 9am to 5pm. Low cost workshops and everything else about SCRAP is open to the public.
#5 Favorite Place in San Francisco: The 100-Martini Menu at Top of the Mark
Since 1939, the Top of the Mark at the Mark Hopkins Hotel has been serving up a world-class view of the city and great food. But the lesser known highlight of the restaurant in the sky is the 100-martini menu at Top of the Mark. They have every possible combination of plain and flavored vodka or gin with all manner of mixers and garnishes to create the creative concoctions. Many of the locals who know about this treasure have dedicated themselves to trying every martini on the menu. Are you up for the challenge?
California Academy of Sciences NightLife
Free lindy dancing, free beginner’s swing dance lesson at GG Park on Sundays
Don’t Miss Out! 46th Annual Big Book Sale Dollar Day is Sept 26
Top of the Mark at InterContinental Mark Hopkins in San Francisco