Celebrate the Golden Gate’s 75th with these San Francisco treats
It’s hard to imagine the San Francisco Peninsula and the Marin Headlands connected by anything but the Golden Gate Bridge, as if its iconic red beams — erected 75 years ago — were always part of the permanent landscape.
An elaborate fireworks display recently commemorated the bridge’s 75th anniversary, but you can still celebrate on a smaller scale — and catch a lot more.
Try shopping for some anniversary swag, indulging in a guided tour (goldengatebridge75.org), or simply going for a stroll across its 1.7-mile span.
Beyond the bridge, the beloved City by the Bay still beckons with secret San Francisco musts to keep the celebration going.
Here are a few more:
Bourbon and Branch
This Prohibition-style “private” saloon requires a password to enter. Dark, intimate and decorated faithfully like the 1920s, this is the ideal spot for clandestine business dealings or trysts. The main room, lined with booths, gives way to a second room, the Library, by way of a revolving bookcase. Cell phones are prohibited, which only adds to the authentic atmosphere.
501 Jones St.; (415) 346-1735; bourbonandbranch.com
House of Air
A favorite among locals and tourists, this bustling activity center has dozens of trampolines to jump on, trampoline walls to bounce off of, and even a trampoline dodge-ball court. Space is rented by how much time you want to bounce about, but be cautious about overdoing it; jumping around for even 10 minutes is exhausting!
926 Mason St.; (415) 345-9675; houseofair.com
“Nightlife” at California Academy of Science
For anyone who wished that “Night at the Museum” could be real, every Thursday night the California Academy of Science offers a simulated rainforest, planetarium, aquarium and an albino alligator, all under the same roof. There’s also live music, several bars and a different theme every week. Get there early for a planetarium showing pass!
55 Music Concourse Drive; (415) 379-8000; calacademy.org
It may be called a museum, but this is really a playhouse that tips its hat to the predecessors of the video game. It’s full of windup toys, dancing puppets, shooting galleries and vintage arcade games. Some of the exhibits may seem macabre, but this is a unique trip back into the history of how we have fun. Bring a pocket full of quarters.
Pier 45, Shed A (at the end of Taylor St.); (415) 346-2000; Museemechanique.org
One of the ultimate people-watching spots in San Francisco, this thriving park (with stunning city views) is particularly great for children, given the brand-new, world-class playground. Adults will also love the slides and climbing ropes. Summer months bring free movies; all you need is a picnic basket and blankets.
566 Dolores St.
Although the trails in this stunning park provide peaceful walks along the coast, nothing beats the sunset as seen from a perch on the foundations of the Sutro Bath ruins, right on the water’s edge. It’s got unbeatable views – Point Bonita Lighthouse, the Golden Gate Bridge and China Beach – and close proximity to the historic Cliff House (which serves great food just above the cliffs). Keep your eyes out for the seals that sun on the rocks.
2-22 Merrie Way; parksconservancy.org/visit/park-sites/lands-end.html
This Louvre of science museums offers hands-on exhibits about psychology, perception, art and every kind of science you can imagine. Just go when you have plenty of time on your hands, because there is way too much to do and see. If you don’t happen to have kids, this is another museum that offers cocktails and events for adults only.
3601 Lyon St., (415) 563-7337; www.exploratorium.edu
Evan Bailyn is the author of ”Outsmarting Google” and president of First Page Sage. Paula Conway is the publisher of Conway Confidential.
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