Seven Lesser-Known Tourist Spots in San Francisco

San Francisco is known for its iconic tourist destinations. From the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz Island, there’s a whole world to choose from- and yet there’s a whole world of sights and attractions you might not even know! Check out seven of these lesser-known, but no less magnificent spots in San Francisco.

Photo courtesy of Marianne Hale

San Francisco Zoo: Spanning 100 acres and hosting over 2000 animals, the San Francisco Zoo is pretty wild! The zoo includes an African Region, Outback Trail, and an exciting Exploration Zone. There’s a range of  “Keeper Talks” each day diving deeper into the lives of some of your favorite zoo residents. Check for daily listings and their monthly calendar of events
Coit Tower: This stately beacon reaches high above the San Francisco skyline and from its observation deck provides a 360 degree view of the city. Coit Tower was completed upon Telegraph Hill in 1933. In the following year, murals were painted inside the tower’s base by artists of the Public Works of Art Project. The elevator to the observation deck can be accessed for $5 per student and $8 for adults, and an additional tour digs deeper into the history of the Public Works of Art Project and the artists who completed the magnificent murals.
Alamo Park and The Painted Ladies: The neighborhood surrounding Alamo Square Park is full of Victorian-style mansions and fascinating architecture. Most famed among them all, the Seven Painted Ladies reside right across from Alamo Square Park. These picturesque homes stand above a breathtaking background of the San Francisco city line, and make a perfect photo backdrop or scenic lunch stop. Additionally, the San Francisco City Hall is located just under a mile away and provides group tours Monday-Friday throughout the afternoon.
Golden Gate Park: With its 1,017 acres spanning across the city, the Golden Gate Park is full of museums, landmarks, gardens, and a fantastic aquarium. Experience hands-on learning at the Discovery Tidepool in The Academy of Science, or stroll through the Botanical Gardens containing more than 7,500 flora varieties ranging from all over the globe. The park even has a free shuttle service on weekends that makes it easy to see the vast array of attractions this gem has to offer!
San Francisco Cable Car Museum: An entire museum dedicated to the whimsical and fascinating mode of transportation that is iconic of San Francisco. The museum is home to antique cable cars of the 1870s, a large array of historical photographs, and intricate mechanical displays. The museum is open year-round (excluding some holidays) and offers free admission.

This kinetic sculptural homage to San Francisco by artist Scott Weaver has a new home in the Exploratorium’s Tinkering Studio ™. Weaver is a longtime friend of he Exploratorium and the Tinkering Studio™. Photo Credit: Gayle Laird © Exploratorium,

Exploratorium: Known on its webpage as “an ongoing exploration of science, art, and human perception-” this museum really has it all. The museum contains six galleries that span from hands-on tinerking activities to an exploration of social behavior. Exploratorium is immersive, interactive, and educational for all.
The Walt Disney Family Museum: Explore the legacy of Walt Disney in the Presidio of San Francisco. From the animation behind beloved films, inspiration for the iconic parks, and stories that colored Walt’s life, The Walt Disney Family Museum is truly a must-see. In addition to its many galleries and exhibitions, the museum offers film screenings of Disney classics, art classes for all ages, and guided tours. Be sure to visit for all current & upcoming offerings.
From these seven jewels and so many more, San Francisco is a city that you can never finish exploring. The city is rich with history, art, architecture, and science. With endless opportunities in each, it makes the perfect trip for any student… or anyone, really! Forum Educational Travel is happy to help you along the way to make the most out of it all.