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5 Awesome Things To Do in San Francisco, California

Guest Post By Leslie Smith 

San Francisco is known for its diversity and residents that are friendly and open to new cultures.

Check out this California visitor’s guide sharing attractions that offer a mixture of history and innovation and that make San Francisco a unique travel destination.

1. Audium

This 45-seat theater provides a unique musical experience because of its marriage of reproductive technology with live performance. An engineer manipulates the music of composer Stan Shaff through the theater’s 176 speakers, placed at various heights and angles throughout the listening space. That means you probably won’t hear the same work reproduced in exactly the same way no matter how many times you visit. Prepare for complete immersion in Shaff’s musical world, which challenges your concept of the art. The Audium is near where Bush and Franklin Streets intersect, not too far away from the antique decor of the Hotel Majestic.

Photo courtesy of Airwolfhound via flickr

2. Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz federal prison stopped hosting inmates in 1963, but movies such as Birdman of Alcatraz and Escape from Alcatraz have kept it in public memory far longer, drawing a million visitors a year. The Cellhouse Audio Tour, featuring commentary from former inmates and guards, gives a great perspective on Alcatraz prison life. The prison no longer accepts guests, so plan on staying at a hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf such as Le Meriden or the Hyatt Regency.

3. Beach Blanket Babylon

The world’s longest-running theatrical revue isn’t in New York City or London. It’s in San Francisco’s Club Fugazi, on Green Street between Columbus Avenue and Powell Street. Since June 1974, six million people have viewed over 15,000 performances that hilariously combines Snow White’s search for Prince Charming with today’s news and pop culture. After the show head a few blocks south and choose from the historic Intercontinental Mark Hopkins and The Fairmont San Francisco hotels.

castro theater
Photo courtesy of Semio via flickr

4. Castro Theatre

San Franciscans have attended this theater since 1922. It continues to offer a vintage movie experience, including the sounds of its Wurlitzer theater organ. Check the theater’s calendar for the special events scheduled during your visit, such as the racy “Peaches Christ’s The NC-17th Annual SHOWGIRLS,” the annual California Independent Film Festival, and the family-friendly Wizard of Oz sing-along. It’s on Castro Street near the Market Street intersection, close to several hotels including the Crystal Hotel and Elements Hotel.

5. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Only this museum’s New York City cousin is a larger repository for contemporary art. San Francisco’s collection includes works by René Magritte, Jeff Koons, Piet Mondrian, and Marcel Duchamp. During the museum’s renovation, watch for exhibits throughout the city and online. Once the Third Street building reopens, head a few blocks north to the Palace Hotel, visiting the Museum of the African Diaspora, the Cartoon Art Museum, and the Gallery Wendi Norris on your way.

Note the museum is temporarily closed until early 2016 due to renovations that will expand the institution’s offerings even further. In the meantime, take a look at these awesome local museums.

This was an all-too-brief sample of your choices when you visit San Francisco. If you visit one for the first time, have already been there, or have other favorites, share in the comments.

Keep in mind, too, that San Francisco is one of the top places to travel alone in California and is a great starting point for many epic solo road trips. For instance, it’s a great addition to a scenic Big Sur road trip itinerary!

Other California Travel Guides:

The Ultimate Solo Female Travel California Guide

Driving Big Sur: Best Big Sur Road Trip Itinerary (Top Views + Stops!)

An Unforgettable Itinerary For Yosemite National Park (1, 2 & 3 Days)

One Day In Sequoia National Park: The Perfect Itinerary (Epic!)

How To Hike Vernal & Nevada Falls via The Mist Trail in Yosemite National Park

Hiking The Hidden Valley Trail in Joshua Tree National Park

Weekend In Paso Robles: What To Do In Paso Robles With 3 Days (Epic!)

Solvang Itinerary: How To Have The Perfect Weekend In Solvang, California

10 Day California Road Trip Itinerary: Los Angeles To Big Sur

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