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Alcatraz

Critics' choice
Attractions, Museums

'Alcatraz' is Spanish for pelican, but to its inmates it was simply known as 'the Rock'. The West Coast's first lighthouse was built here in 1854, but it...

Alcatraz Island
Major venue

Asian Art Museum

Critics' choice
Art, Museums

This popular museum has one of the world's most comprehensive collections of Asian art, spanning 6,000 years of Asian history and with more than 15,000...

200 Larkin Street

Berkeley Art Museum

Critics' choice
Art, Museums

Opened in 1970, this dramatic exhibition space is arranged in terraces so visitors can see the works from various vantage points. The collection's strength...

2626 Bancroft Way

Cable Car Museum

Critics' choice
Museums

The sight most often associated with San Francisco is its cable cars. The best way to study them is to ride one, but at this entertaining museum you can...

1201 Mason Street
Free

Exploratorium

Critics' choice
Attractions, Museums

Housed in the historic Palace of Fine Arts, the Exploratorium has over 600 interactive exhibits about science, art and human perception. A highlight is the...

3601 Lyon Street

Fort Mason Center

Critics' choice
Art, Attractions, Museums, Restaurants & cafés, Theatre

This collection of ex-military buildings features various cultural institutions, including the Museo ItaloAmericano (Building C, 673 2200,...

Marina Boulevard

Musée Mécanique

Critics' choice
Museums

Pack a pocketful of quarters before you visit this wonderful museum, a vintage arcade housing more than 170 old-fashioned coin-operated gizmos dating from...

Pier 45
Free

Oakland Museum of California

Critics' choice
Museums

The art collection includes sketches by early explorers and genre pictures from the Gold Rush, along with sculpture, landscapes and Bay Area figurative, pop...

1000 Oak Street

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

Critics' choice
Art, Museums

The second-largest US museum devoted to modern art, SFMOMA moved here from Civic Center in 1995, reaping enthusiastic approval as much for its $60-million...

151 3rd Street
Major venue

Zeum

Critics' choice
Museums

Budding auteurs can direct their own videos at this lively art and technology centre. There are also workshops for creating sculptures and experimenting...

221 4th Street