San Francisco is a city of innovation. Experience its creative spirit on your next visit.

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January 2, 2018

Discover San Francisco's Innovative Spirit

San Francisco is famous for being a hotbed of innovation. Technology and its effects can be found throughout the city, from strolling South Park where Jack Dorsey started Twitter to an illuminating tour of the lively light art scene around town. Here are just a few ways to absorb and observe that legendary creativity while you are in the city.

Shopping

Conveniently located near Moscone Center, Target Open House opened in 2015 as an immersive experience to showcase and sell smart products in an interactive way. Stop in to try and buy the latest IoT (internet of things) items for your home, from playtime smart toys to gadgets to make your household shopping easier to smart cooking accessories, including many Nest security and temperature products. While shopping, you may even get an in-person sneak peek of experimental prototypes. Open House also hosts weekly activities and events open to the public. For more information, visit targetopenhouse.com.

Magic Sky's DJI Stores in the city's Financial District and in Westfield Centre offer state-of-the-art drone cameras, pushing the boundaries of photographic creativity. Flying training, practice and education are also offered to help you take amazing photos and videos to satisfy your photo and video curiosity. For more information, visit magicskyusa.com.

Museums

Innovation abounds in the cultural landscape of San Francisco, with opportunities to learn about modern conservation and research efforts at the Aquarium of the Bay and California Academy of Sciences, and through supremely modern art at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). But the real playground of creativity may be at the Exploratorium, regarded as the world's foremost interactive science museum. With more than 650 hands-on exhibits that ignite curiosity, the Exploratorium transforms the way people learn. Visitors of all ages can play, observe, and discover in this scientific fun-house and experimental laboratory. For more information, visit exploratorium.edu.

The Autodesk Gallery showcases design that shapes the world. With more than 20 exhibits from the likes of Lego, Mercedes-Benz and Nike, the gallery celebrates how people are using technology to push imagination and design. Located at One Market, the gallery is open to the public only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. For more information, visit autodesk.com.

Also consider the Museum of Craft and Design, which is focused on presenting modern and creative designs for inspirational experiences. Located in Dogpatch, the museum has earned a strong reputation for scientific and architectural-oriented exhibits. For more information, visit sfmcd.org.

More Exploration

Tucked into the Presidio, the Letterman Digital and New Media Arts Center houses the offices of Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic offices. There's no better example of cutting-edge technology makers in entertainment! While the offices are private, you can wander throughout the campus grounds within the national park. Make sure to snap a photo of Yoda atop a fountain at the center's entrance.

Looking to go deeper into today's innovation? The Silicon Valley Innovation Center offers visits to start-up company locations in the Peninsula and Silicon Valley. Options include a one-day Tech Startup Tour or one-day Legends Tour. Depending on your choice, activities can include a visit to the Stanford University campus, a walk around Google's headquarter offices, Android Garden and Googelplex, playtime at a Palo Alto B8ta store, or a stop by NASA's Ames Research Center and Apple's headquarters. Throughout, you'll hear insider stories about Silicon Valley culture and product development. Possible hands-on experiences include product tryouts, such as a Tesla Model X test-drive or an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset experience from Facebook. Expert talks showcase how new technology can shape our lives and impact our business. Custom industry programs for corporate executive groups are also available. For more information, visit siliconvalley.center.

Also, check out the self-guided tour offered by Unicorn Tech Tours. Learn about San Francisco's resident "unicorn" tech companies and see where they are in the city, all from an app on your iphone. For more information, visit unicornsf.com.

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