You’ve crossed the Golden Gate, rode the expensive trolley, smelled the seals at Fisherman’s Wharf and although you managed to snap some great selfies along the way, you might have actually missed the essence of San Francisco. Although these historic landmarks are the stuff of postcards, San Francisco is more about the details hidden within its diverse neighborhoods. It’s not the colorful signs or characters that fill the streets, but the community of artists and natural beauty that make you want to leave your heart in San Francisco.
Whether you’re moving to San Francisco or just exploring the city by the bay, get to know the city like a local by experiencing these 7 local spots. Grab your walking shoes, look up and around (not through your phone’s camera) and soak it up.
San Francisco is an ever changing canvas for local artists. Head over to the Mission District and explore the street murals that line the Clairon and Balmy Alleys. Like San Francisco, these murals are colorful, detailed, political and each tell a unique story. Start your morning with a burst of color and life as you stroll through these streets. Locals definitely know how to color outside the lines.
2. Lover’s Lane Presidio
If you haven’t noticed by now, San Francisco locals also love their hiking spots and their amazing views. San Francisco is a great blend of city and nature and many of the local parks celebrate this. Lover’s Lane at the Presidio is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Enjoy the winding trail with a loved one and you’re sure to feel like a local.
3. Laughter yoga
Be one with your city and join in one of the many free yoga classes offered throughout the city at local parks and schools. Some yoga sessions even use the laughter technique to help center you in a positive way. You will definitely see San Francisco from a different perspective when you are downward dog position.
4. Seward Slides
This local gem is a result of a local sculptor’s genius and a local child’s creativity. Made up of smooth concrete, these slides are meant to be enjoyed by all. Remember to bring your own piece of cardboard and your inner child for an afternoon of fun. If you are moving to San Francisco, this might be the perfect spot to bring your date for some fun.
5. The Lands End Hike
Experience the breathtaking beauty of the bay and discover some historic gems along the way. The Lands End hike is a favorite among locals because it offers a unique view of the bay. As you make your way through the trail make sure to stop at the ruins of Sutro Baths and the Camera Obscura for a bit of history. Finish your visit at the Cliff House for an elegant meal with an amazing views.
6. Mosaic Steps
Head over to Inner Sunset Neighborhood to experience the most unique stairs in San Francisco. The 16th Avenue mosaic steps or Moraga Steps were created by local artists and more than 300 people from the neighborhood. Visit near sunset and watch how the reflective tiles catch the moonlight at night to create an illuminated staircase.
7. The Wave Organ
Experience the natural sounds of the bay by visiting this unique wave-activated acoustic sculpture. Made up of PVC pipes and recycled material from demolished cemetery that play with the sounds of crashing waves and winds, this organ creates eery and inspiring music.