San Francisco is an amazing city, and it happens to be full of famous attractions. But while everyone knows about Alcatraz and Fisherman’s Wharf, you’ll also find plenty of hidden gems that most tourists—and even some locals—don’t know exist.
And San Francisco is more than the city itself. The San Francisco Bay Area includes the surrounding areas of San Pablo and Suisun Estuary, not to mention the charming beach towns and neighboring cities you’ll want to see and explore. In other words, when you visit the City by the Bay, you’re going to want to look up San Francisco car rental packages.
Renting a car to explore San Francisco is the best way to make sure you see as much as possible. And with Super Cheap’s inexpensive car rental San Francisco deals, you don’t have to worry about blowing your budget on your ride.
You’ll find dozens of off-the-beat attractions in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you have time, these 10 are definitely worth seeing.
The 16th Avenue Mosaic Steps
The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps project has been a local collaboration of more than 300 people from the neighborhood. The resulting visual is amazing, with the 163 steps being decorated in tiles of different colors and patterns. It definitely makes for a perfect San Francisco photo op.
“Rock City” Mount Diablo
Mount Diablo State Park is about an hour away from San Francisco, and it’s definitely worth taking a day trip to see. The “rock city,” unique sandstone formations, is located at Live Oak Campground. There are also plenty of hiking trails and picnic spots.
The San Francisco Cable Car Museum
It has been said that tourists ride the cable cars, but locals visit the Cable Car Museum. Cable cars had their first run in San Francisco in 1873, and you can learn all about their heritage here. The museum is open every day except for a few major holidays, and Admission is free.
Gondola rides in Oakland
Pretend you’re in Venice and enjoy an authentic gondola tour on Lake Merritt in Oakland. The boats are located at the historic boathouse on Lake Merritt, right next to the Lake Chalet Seafood Bar and Grill.
Prices for cruises start at $60 for two, and you’re allowed to bring a bottle of wine or your beverage of choice.
Heart’s Desire Beach
To find Heart’s Desire Beach, head to Tomalas Bay State Park, which is about 45 miles north of the city. Its low key vibe, crystal clear waters, and picnic areas make it a perfect place to spend an afternoon. If you’re feeling active, there are a few hiking trails in the area with breathtaking views.
Despite its long local history and six-story structure, plenty of people who live in San Francisco drive by this castle daily without realizing it’s there. It was built in 1870 by an English immigrant named John Hamlin Burnell who used the property’s underground aquifer to brew the perfect beer.
Unfortunately, the castle is private property, so you’ll have to admire it from a distance. That’s a shame because there are underground caves from its early days that would be fascinating to explore.
Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze
The Mirror Maze is located on San Francisco’s Pier 39. A labyrinth of mirrors are illuminated by black lights, causing you to lose track of where you are. Luckily, you’re allowed to stay as long as you’d like.
Admission to the maze is only $5, and it’s appropriate for all ages.
Beach Blanket Babylon
If you have time to see a show while you’re in San Francisco, you may as well make it the city’s longest-running musical. The performance is a piece of pop culture satire that, after all these years, is still considered a must-see. You can catch the show at Club Fugazi in the North Beach district from Wednesday – Sunday.
The Magic Bus Tour
Even if you’re not normally a fan of tours that are, well, touristy, you’re sure to love the Summer of Love Magic Bus Experience. It’s a one-of-a-kind tour you can only take in San Francisco, and it’s packed full of fascinating historical facts and little-known tidbits. Also, you get to take fake LSD.
The Fairmont Hotel Roof Garden
Located in the Nob Hill neighborhood at 950 Mason Street, the Fairmont Hotel has a beautiful rooftop garden that happens to be open to the public. To access it, enter through the Fairmont’s Cafe Cento at 950 Mason Street and take the long hallway to the elevator. Go to the Lobby, turn right, and follow the corridor past the gift shops. There will be signs for the rooftop garden.
Not only will you see amazing views of the city skyline, but you’ll notice citrus trees, edible herb planters and even bees making honey in the garden.
These are just a few of the many quirky and off-the-beaten-path attractions that await you in San Francisco. Needless to say, you’ll probably be planning your next trip while you’re still there.