San Francisco is known for its diversity and residents that are friendly and open to new cultures. Check out these attractions for a mixture of history and innovation that makes San Francisco a unique travel destination.
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.
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.
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.
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Jessica Festa is the editor of the travel sites Jessie on a Journey (http://jessieonajourney.com) and Epicure & Culture (http://epicureandculture.com). Along with blogging at We Blog The World, her byline has appeared in publications like Huffington Post, Gadling, Fodor’s, Travel + Escape, Matador, Viator, The Culture-Ist and many others. After getting her BA/MA in Communication from the State University of New York at Albany, she realized she wasn’t really to stop backpacking and made travel her full time job. Some of her most memorable experiences include studying abroad in Sydney, teaching English in Thailand, doing orphanage work in Ghana, hiking her way through South America and traveling solo through Europe. She has a passion for backpacking, adventure, hiking, wine and getting off the beaten path.