Visit These Instagram-Ready Attractions in San Francisco
From iconic San Francisco landmarks to trendy museums, these immersive and photo-friendly attractions are worthy for everyone's feed. Come ready to be inspired, be creative, and snap some really awesome photos at these made-for-Instagram attractions.
Museum of Ice Cream (1 Grant Ave.)
A new favorite attraction in Union Square, the Museum of Ice Cream stands as the only such museum in the world. Expect an interactive experience that satisfies your sweet tooth! The museum's famous Sprinkle Pool holds over 100 million custom-designed sprinkles and makes for an Instagram-worthy photo opportunity. Hop on a cookie carousel, take a selfie with a unicorn, and eat ice cream at a retro diner. The photo possibilities are endless!
Museum of 3D Illusions (55-61 Jefferson St.)
Let your imagination run wild as you interact with optical illusions. Suitable for all ages, this museum offers you thrills at every turn. Capture yourself surviving a volcanic eruption, surfing wild waters, or hanging from a San Francisco skyscraper. There are more than 40 3D illusions that will play with your perception.
Madame Tussaud's (145 Jefferson St.)
Forget the velvet ropes and security; Madame Tussaud's gives you the chance to get close to your icons. Take a selfie with your favorite celeb, from E.T. to Abraham Lincoln, Beyonce to Lady Gaga. You'll even see a handful of local Bay Area celebs, such as NBA star Stephen Curry, NFL star Joe Montana, and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Ripley's Believe It or Not (175 Jefferson St.)
No trip to San Francisco is complete without a stroll through "The Weirdest Place on the Wharf!" Learn all about unbelievable true stories from San Francisco and around the world. Challenge yourself not to get lost in the mirror maze, and see how you measure up beside the world's tallest man. Chances are you'll stumble upon many weird experiences that make for fascinating photos.
Sea Lions (PIER 39)
With amazing views and great seafood, PIER 39 is the perfect setting for an afternoon. All of the sea lions "hauling out" present you with an incredibly unique background for an Instagram photo. Spend some time at K-Dock, where the sea lions make their home. While most of the sea lions head to breeding grounds in the Channel Islands in June and July, they haul out at K-Dock from late July to mid-May.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (151 Third St.)
Founded in 1935, SFMOMA is the first west coast museum devoted to contemporary art, with more than 32,000 works by such as Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, and Jackson Pollock. SFMOMA also has a tranquil rooftop garden that offers impressive views of the skyline and the museum's sculpture collection. Visitors also use the living wall, a 29-foot-tall wall covered in a myriad of plants, as a photo op.
The Murals of the Mission District
Vibrant murals dot the Mission District, giving the neighborhood a distinct and colorful vibe that you can't find anywhere else. Explore the neighborhood and encounter powerful art, such as Clarion Alley's murals depicting themes of social inclusiveness. Discover murals dating back to the 1980s at Balmy Alley, bordered by Treat Ave., Harrison St., and 24th and 25th streets. Relive the spirit and energy of San Francisco's first Carnaval event in 1979 at the Carnaval Mural at South Van Ness Ave. and 24th St. At 3543 18th Street stands the Women's Building MaestraPeace mural. This multi-generational collaboration honors women's achievements and contributions to the arts, politics, and science.
Conservatory of Flowers (100 John F. Kennedy Dr., Golden Gate Park)
A historic landmark, the Conservatory of Flowers boasts rare tropical flowers and plants that will delight the senses. In fact, it's one of the best places in San Francisco to see flowers bloom. The central dome rises almost 60 feet and the building overlooks Conservatory Valley. Carnivorous pods, water lilies, and coffee berries are among the many plants you will find here that will make your photo feed burst with color.
San Francisco Botanical Garden (1199 9th Ave., Golden Gate Park)
Also within Golden Gate Park, the San Francisco Botanical Garden showcases a highly diverse collection of flowers and plants. The best photo opportunities depend on which time you come. During fall, snap a photo in the Andean Cloud Forest or the Redwood Grove. Take advantage of the magnolia bloom, which arrives early in February. The eruptive blooms that take place throughout spring and summer presents you with beautiful scenes throughout the garden.
Hamon Observation Tower at the de Young Museum (50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr., Golden Gate Park)
There's arguably no better place to enjoy 360-degree views of the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco skyline than at the Hamon Observation Tower. Behind its glass walls, you'll be able to spot downtown San Francisco, Golden Gate Park, and the Marin Headlands. Even at its base, the surrounding landscape and the backdrop of the museum serve as an amazing photo op.
You don't get to ride a national landmark every day. Plus, the cable cars offer a great way to explore the city. No wonder nearly 10 million people take a ride each year. Board the Powell/Hyde cable car to visit Lombard St., San Francisco's famous crooked street. Take the California Street line and hop off at the corner of California St. and Grant Ave. to snap a photo in Chinatown. Don't forget to have someone capture the obligatory photo of you hanging off the side of a cable car. It's a must!
Musée Mécanique (Pier 45, Fisherman's Wharf)
Everyone wants a vintage pic on their Instagram page. Musée Mécanique is just the place for that. It is one of the world's largest privately-owned collections of antique arcade games and mechanical musical instruments. You can play all these games; just bring some coins to start the machines!
Exploratorium (Pier 15, The Embarcadero)
Featuring more than 650 hands-on exhibits, the Exploratorium goes beyond the traditional museum experience. It's a scientific funhouse where visitors of all ages can learn, play, and discover. From sports science and human anatomy to astronomy and space exploration, the museum has a variety of exhibits to suit all interests. Popular spots to snap a pic are the Buckyball installation, the Fog Bridge, the Distorted Room, and many others. With its sleek architecture and location right on the bay, the Exploratorium also has wonderful outdoor photo opportunities.
San Francisco Zoo (Sloat Blvd. & Great Highway)
An urban oasis, the San Francisco Zoo houses more than 1,000 endangered, exotic, and rescued animals. Get up close with these fascinating creatures and take all the pictures you can! Journey to the South American Tropical Rainforest & Aviary, where only essential boundaries between you and the birds remain. You might even be able to get a pic of a macaw or toucan flying over your head! Don't miss out on the fun at Penguin Island or the Fisher Family Children's Zoo, where the goats won't mind the picture as long as you comb or pet them.
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