A truly unique place, located at Fisherman’s Wharf, the Mechanical Museum is part functioning arcade, part nostalgia-evoking museum. It houses the world’s largest privately owned collection of mechanically operated musical instruments and antique arcade machines. All of the machines will run off a quarter, not a bad price to arm wrestle a mechanical strongman, have your fortune told, trigger a vignette or listen to a musical arrangement. Definitely worth a stroll through to admire the turn of the century machines even if you are not willing to part with any quarters.
Pier 45 Shed A at the end of Taylor Street
Located just a few blocks from the popular Ghirardelli Square, Lombard Street is comprised of eight switchbacks carefully easing traffic down its 40 degree slope. The curving street is beautifully landscaped with brightly colored flower beds that soften the sharp turns as the road cuts through a colorful row of Victorian style houses. The best views of the Candy Land-like scene are from the foot of the road looking up at the cars slowly sliding through the picturesque backdrop. Although during busy times, it may not be worth the wait to drive your car down the road, it is a not to be missed photo opportunity.
Between Hyde & Leavenworth
Anyone who has visited Pier 39 in San Francisco remarks about its famous resident sea lions. The regularly gathered crowds and constant barking of the sea lions let visitors know they are in the right place even before they can navigate through the crowd to get their first glimpse at the pinnipeds. The California sea lions originally began coming and gathering at Pier 39 in 1990. It is believed that the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in combination with the ample supply of herring and protected pier environment were all contributing factors in drawing the large numbers of sea lions that now inhabit the Pier. A large portion of the Pier’s sea lion population migrate south to the Channel Islands in the summer months to breed, but visitors can expect to see around a 1,000 sea lions crowding the floating docks and popping in and out of the water during the winter months.