Everyone knows about Lombard Street’s famously winding turns, but do you know about Vermont Street in Potrero Hill? Its twists are equally as memorable!
Redwood trees in a city?! Yes. This park provides a green oasis in the Financial District – you should check it out next time you visit! You can so easily fly into San Francisco with Cathay Pacific and enjoy every single hidden gem.
1. Fort Point
Fort Point, an iconic army building just below the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge, has a rich and storied past, from aiding with California Gold Rush activities to being used as a prison during World War I. Its free admission makes Fort Point one of the must-dos when in San Francisco!
Additionally, this National Historic Site offers breathtaking views of both the bridge and bay, plus numerous opportunities to learn about its past through memorabilia and films.
Take photos of the bridge from here – especially as you ascend Level 2, using the spiral staircase! Not only will you spot old cannons but you’ll even be close enough to them to get up close with them!
History buffs and movie fans will both appreciate this hidden gem in San Francisco; Alfred Hitchcock fans may recognize it from Vertigo where Kim Novak jumps off of it only to be saved by Jimmy Stewart! It makes an excellent stopover when visiting San Francisco.
Fort Point is open to the public and can be visited without charge, though its opening times can change at times. Guided tours are available as well. And if you have time, hiking from East Beach to Fort Point offers one of San Francisco’s most breathtaking urban hikes with gorgeous bridge and bay views, a historic fort, and kite surfers – not forgetting kite surfers!
2. The Land’s End Labyrinth
The Lands End Labyrinth is one of San Francisco’s lesser-known treasures that’s best visited during golden hour when its glowing light casts an ethereal aura over it. Offering breathtaking views of both San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge, hikers frequently use this scenic spot as a photo spot and hiking photo spot.
Eduardo Aguilera of local artist created this rock assemblage in 2004 as a replica of Chartres’ seven-circuit labyrinth in France. Vandals destroyed it multiple times but Eduardo rebuilt each time; last fall however, hikers were disappointed to find the space empty – until soon afterward it was replaced by a giant heart!
Christian Tabing-Dalit and Thomas Lew, local residents, hauled rocks up the hill where the labyrinth once existed to build the new fixture. They are hoping it becomes a collaborative art project and encourage visitors to add heart designs – they have been monitoring social media closely as visitors send in selfies, dog pictures, selfies and even proposals!
The pair hopes to build an even larger heart eventually, though they don’t believe they can manage the project on their own. If you are interested in participating, visit the website for more details and visit Haight Street within Haight-Ashbury for this unique attraction! It should not be missed when exploring San Francisco!
3. The Dutch Windmill
People often imagine Lombard Street when thinking of San Francisco’s most crooked streets; however, Vermont Street in Potrero Hill actually tops that list! This super windy road offers thrill-seekers and new drivers alike an exhilarating ride; plus it runs right through McKinley Square Park!
Spreckels Lake may seem inconsequential at first glance, but it offers the perfect setting for a peaceful stroll and can offer fantastic views of Bernal Heights, Downtown San Francisco and the Bay Bridge. Plus it’s great at night when all the city lights come alive around it!
One of the more memorable activities in San Francisco is visiting Golden Gate Park to witness two Dutch and Murphy windmills restored beautifully and featuring over one century of history. They were originally installed to pump water for use within the park but, once motorized pumps became widely available, their purpose shifted and became more of an icon than anything else.
For an in-depth knowledge of windmills and their history, head to the Netherlands and visit Kinderdijk or ZaanseSchans. Here, visitors will get to witness these incredible engineering masterpieces first-hand!
4. The Wood Line
Battery Spencer may provide one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge; however, few visitors venture up the hill to Hawk Hill Park for an untouched perspective and beautiful city and Marin County views.
Tucked into the cliffs above Lovers’ Lane is one of San Francisco’s lesser-known hidden treasures: Andy Goldsworthy’s manmade forest is one of its many underrated hidden gems. Offering quiet relaxation with its curvy line of eucalyptus trees and stunning view over Lovers’ Lane, it serves as an irrefutable reminder that nature plays an essential part in city life.
Goldsworthy created The Wood Line as a direct response to his previous Presidio piece, Spire. While Spire symbolizes forest renewal, Wood Line explores how life begins (literally). As with most of Goldsworthy’s earthworks, this art work is intended to change with time.
An unexpected gem awaits just a short stroll from Camera Obscura and Holograph! While most visitors to Chinatown seek Golden Fortune cookies and Ross Alley, this hidden gem houses a herd of wild bison that roam freely today in Golden Gate Park – imported by the city in 1890 from Canada! – making an amazing photo opportunity. Visiting on a sunny day ensures the full effect!
5. The Hamon Observation Tower
One of the coolest activities you can do in San Francisco is climbing this free tower in Golden Gate Park. Offering expansive views of both city and bay, it makes an excellent backdrop for memorable photos!
Everyone knows of Lombard Street when discussing windy streets in San Francisco, but Vermont Street in Potrero Hill should not be overlooked as another crooked treasure in San Francisco. Not as popular with visitors but full of winding twists and hairpin turns – worth checking out and experiencing first hand.
Macondray Lane in Russian Hill offers another hidden treasure. This charming pedestrian street features flower gardens, fruit trees, and an adorable Zen fountain – just steps away from Lombard! A visit here will give you a wonderful way to relax in one of the city’s most stunning neighborhoods!
MuseeMecanique offers an entertaining and captivating museum experience for gamers of any kind! Their impressive collection of antique coin-operated instruments and arcade games, such as Mrs. Pac Man and Pirates of the Caribbean pinball machines is simply exceptional; making this visit one not to be missed!
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