Features

Stay Away From San Francisco Cliché And Give These Underrated Activities A Go

So, you’ve walked the Golden Gate Bridge, wandered the cold corridors of Alcatraz, and watched the sunbathing sea lions at Pier 39. Now what? You’d think a city of San Francisco’s size would have a tonne of cool things to keep you entertained, and you’d be right.

The bayside city is bursting with cool things to do outside the blatantly obvious. Once you’ve made your way through all the big-ticket attractions, fill up your day and give one of these less popular activities a red-hot crack.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by John Bartell (@johnbartelltv) on

Go for a slide in Seward Mini Park

When you compare it to the sizes and names of Dolores Park, Alamo Square, and Golden Gate Park, Seward Park isn’t even a drop in the Pacific Ocean. But, this teeny tiny park on Corwin St – somewhere between The Castro and Twin Peaks – is worth hunting out.

At 1497m2 we weren’t kidding when we said this park is tiny. There’s a community garden, but most of the limited space here is taken up by two long concrete slides. The slides have been around since ’73, when a 14-year-old won a design competition during the park redevelopment.

If that isn’t quintessential San Francisco – having a 14-year-old design a park – we don’t know what is.

The slides are open from 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday. You can BYO sliding apparatus, otherwise the council leaves out complementary cardboard for sliders during opening hours. There’s only one rule at the park, and that is that “all adults must be accompanied by children”. But, if you’re a child at heart, you’re free to let that rule slide.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Hotel San Francisco (@hotel.sf) on

Check out the Monday cocktail special at Hotel San Francisco

Make the most of your Monday night and head to the Aussie-owned Hotel San Francisco. They kick off each week with what is possibly the most unique drink special on the face of this earth – a cocktail and mani combo.

Yes, you can head out to the bar, sip on your favourite cocktail, and get your nails done while you’re at it. All that for a neat $20 (AU$31). Once your nails are dried, you may as well make the most of the $10 (AU$15) fried chicken special, and $6 (AU$9) prosecco too.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Hotel San Francisco (@hotel.sf) on

Hotel San Francisco is an eclectic bar, to say the least. It’s best described as Aussie-jungle-Mexican-Hip-Hop, with huge artworks of Biggie and Tu-Pac on the walls, a distinctly Aussie playlist (Allday and Flume anyone?), and neon signs dotted around the place. We’re totally here for its multiple personalities because it totally works.

PS, if you’re partial to the bathroom selfie, the toilets here are the most beautifully offensive you’ve ever seen. Every inch of wall, ceiling, and floor space is covered in crazy busy wallpaper.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Lulu. (@lulu_cabinet) on

Meet Yoda at George Lucas’ Letterman Digital Art Centre

San Francisco’s quaint, ex-military-turned-residential precinct, Presido, is the last place you would expect to find a Walt Disney museum. It’s probably the last place you’d expect to see Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber too.

Locked up in a display cabinet with MTV Awards, a Daytime Emmy, and even Han Solo’s blaster, the lightsaber calls the lobby of George Lucas’ Lucasfilm headquarters, home. The Lucasfilm headquarters is just one part of the larger Letterman Digital Art Centre, and its lobby is the only part of the compound you can visit.

Most visitors come for a photo at the Yoda fountain out the front, but step inside and you’ll find a whole lot more Star Wars memorabilia to ogle at. Amongst the smaller bits and bobs, there’s a life-sized Stormtrooper, and old Darth Vader costume to check out.

Just remember: photos are welcome, but stay on the guard’s good side, and save your videos for outside the building.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by The Walt Disney Family Museum (@wdfmuseum) on

Learn all about the amazing Walt Disney

California is, and always will be, the home of Disney. Even San Francisco has its own little slice of Disney to share with the world – just with fewer rides and fairy tale feels than Anaheim.

Inside one of the ex-military buildings in Presidio, you’ll find the Walt Disney Family Museum. Founded by Disney’s own daughter, Diane Disney Miller, what this ‘Disney world’ lacks in princess castles, it totally makes up for in relics that you won’t find anywhere else. Take, for example, the displays of some of Disney’s early drawings, or his conceptual drawing of a futuristic city he called the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. The whole museum is a dedication to Disney’s story, work, and visions.

Admission to the museum is US$25.00, or US$35.00 if you want access to the Mickey exhibition too.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Fitt San Francisco (@fittsanfrancisco) on

Hike through the Castro and Twin Peaks

Work off all that holiday eating on an urban hike with Urban Hiker SF (US$49 /AU$75). Follow city streets, parkways, and dirt paths through The Castro and Twin Peaks, to take in the quaint residential neighbourhoods, and soak up panoramic views of the city.

Given it’s San Francisco, the majority of the three-hour hike will see you trekking it uphill. But, the views from the base of Sutro Tower, San Francisco’s highest point and the mid-point of the hike, are totally worth the calf burn and sweat.

Just cross your fingers that the city’s most mysterious resident, Karl the Fog, doesn’t pay you a visit at the top. He’s cold, and does a darn good job of blanketing the city and any view you might have had.