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San Francisco: Best Hidden Gems

Destination(s): Mill Valley

Get away from the crowds at these low-key San Francisco Bay Area attractions Want to know where the San Francisco locals go? Look no further! To explore San Francisco’s cultural heritage, check out the Asian Art Museum’s fantastic collection or go on a mural walk of the Mission District (check out Balmy Alley, The Women’s Building, and Precita Eyes for the very best), which features public works by local Latin artists. Enjoy a laid-back beach picnic in direct view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands at Crissy Field. When in Golden Gate Park, check out Strybing Arboretum & Botanical Garden’s secluded micro-park feel. Links lovers will find the 18-hole Lincoln Park Golf Course featuring affordable greens fees and astounding views of the bay, ocean, and Golden Gate Bridge. Outdoors enthusiasts can also find hidden hiking trails on Mt. Tamalpais, serene paths with unparalleled bay views on Angel Island, and a low-key alternative to Muir woods at Oakland Redwoods Regional State Park. read more about San Francisco: Best Hidden Gems

Strybing Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

Strybing Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

  • 9th Avenue at Lincoln Way
  • tel:(415) 661-1316
  • Visit website
  • San Francisco, 94122
Women's Building Mural

Women's Building Mural

  • 3543 18th Street
  • (between Valencia and Guerrero streets)
  • tel:(415) 431-1180
  • Visit website
  • San Francisco, 94110
Precita Eyes Muralists

Precita Eyes Muralists

  • 2981 24th St
  • tel:(415) 285-2287
  • Visit website
  • San Francisco, 94110

San Francisco's Mission District is known for more than just great Mexican food and offbeat dive bars. It is also home to one of the most impressive collections of public murals anywhere. While many are decades old, new murals are constantly being added to the scene by a flourishing group of professional muralists working out of the Precita Eyes muralist collective. This great resource also helps art lovers by preserving and interpreting these fantastic works of public art. Tours given by muralist members of the collective present 75 murals in just 6 blocks. It's a great way to get to know one of San Francisco's richest neighborhoods.
read more about Precita Eyes Muralists

Mount Tamalpais State Park

Mount Tamalpais State Park

  • 7665 Redwood Blvd, Suite 150
  • tel:415-388-2070
  • Visit website
  • Mill Valley, 94941

From its exposed 2,751-foot peak boasting panoramic views of the Bay Area to the redwood-, fir-, and oak- sheltered hiking and mountain biking trails meandering down to its base, Mount Tamalpais State Park is a paragon of Northern California natural beauty. Home to over 73 native plant species and a host of wildlife, Mount Tam is the ideal place to bask in the great outdoors. After all, visitors can not only hike or bike, but also go horseback riding or camping; overnight cabins are onsite and two quaint inns are nearby to provide more comfort to those who aren't crazy about tents. Although nature is the main attraction at Mount Tamalpais State Park, locals also hike in with a picnic to attend the annual springtime open-air Broadway revival performance at the Mountain Theater, which has natural-stone amphitheatre seating. read more about Mount Tamalpais State Park

Angel Island State Park

Angel Island State Park

  • Located one mile south of the Tiburon Peninsula
  • tel:(415) 435-3522
  • Visit website
  • San Francisco, 94133

What Ellis Island was to European immigrants, this island was to Asian immigrants. Volunteer guides lead informative tours of the islands historical sites, including the Immigration Station and Fort McDowell. Graffiti left by immigrants awaiting admission or deportation can be seen on the walls of the holding areas. Hiking and biking trails circle the 740-acre island and offer spectacular views of the Bay Area and glimpses of the indigenous deer population. Camping is allowed with proper permits. Ferry service varies according to the season. read more about Angel Island State Park

Asian Art Museum

Asian Art Museum

  • 200 Larkin St
  • Civic Center Plaza
  • tel:(415) 668-8921
  • Visit website
  • San Francisco, 94102

San Francisco's Asian Art Museum can be best described in one word: staggering. As in, the western world's largest museum solely dedicated to Asian art. As in, a grand building with three floors of displays constituting only a fraction of the museum's full permanent collection. We did say 'staggering.' The Asian Art Museum's second and third floors take visitors on a tour of all regions of the continent dating back thousands of years, with excellent attention to history and culture in the text descriptions accompanying objects. The first-floor special exhibits exclusively feature contemporary Asian art. Located directly across from City Hall, the Asian Art Museum is also a quick walk away from the hip neighborhood of Hayes Valley, chockablock with unique boutiques, great restaurants, and local fave Blue Bottle Coffee. read more about Asian Art Museum

Lincoln Park Golf Course

Lincoln Park Golf Course

  • 300 34th Avenue
  • tel:(415) 221-9911
  • Visit website
  • San Francisco, 94121
Crissy Field

Crissy Field

  • Old Mason Street
  • off Marina Blvd.
  • tel:(415) 561-4700
  • Visit website
  • San Francisco, 94123

This 100-acre park blends into the surrounding urban landscape. It features a 20-acre tidal marsh, huge meadow, sand beaches and thousands of restored native plants. Bikers can cruise down a designated path, launching from a board-sailing site, or quietly muse about while peering into the depths of the tidal pond. read more about Crissy Field