Coit Tower#23 in Best Things To Do in San Francisco
Rising from its position on the peak of Telegraph Hill in Pioneer Park, Coit Tower serves as a vantage point to take in the northwest corner of San Francisco. Visitors might think the 210-foot-tall tower was designed to resemble a firehose nozzle. While Lillie Hitchcock Coit commissioned the tower as a monument to volunteer firefighters, the concrete pillar's nozzle-like appearance is coincidental. The tower was completed in 1933, while artists painted the murals around its base (and repainted them due to some illustrations containing communist imagery) in 1934. The Coit Tower currently resides on the list of San Francisco Designated Landmarks and the National Register of Historic Places.
Recent travelers suggest you visit the tower early in the day to avoid the inevitable crowds. Once there, they suggest taking your time to enjoy the tower's murals before heading to the top to take in the 360-degree view of San Francisco.
The easiest way to access the Coit Tower is via the N line of the MUNI. The attraction is open April to October from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and November to March from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets sales end 30 minutes before the tower closes. The elevator entrance fee is $9 for adults, $6 for youths ages 12 to 17 and seniors 62 and older, $2 for children 5 to 11 and free for children 4 and younger. San Francisco residents receive a slight discount. There are docent-led tours that highlight the murals and the tower's history for $8, while visitors can alternatively opt for a shorter tour on the tower's second floor for $5. Check the San Francisco Recreation and Parks website to learn more and purchase tickets in advance.
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#1 California Academy of Sciences
Attention all traveling families: recent visitors said this is the perfect place to bring kids in San Francisco. The California Academy of Sciences brims with plenty of things to see, including an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum and even a rainforest.
The Steinhart Aquarium is home to about 40,000 animals representing more than 900 different species, including a penguin colony from Africa, a swamp with an albino alligator, a shark lagoon and a separate 100,000-gallon tank that mirrors the ecosystem of the California coast. Meanwhile, the Osher Rainforest houses 1,600 animals, including 250 free-flying birds and about 100 reptiles and amphibians in its four-story complex. The Morrison Planetarium is known for its 75-foot-diameter screen, which screens "Tour of the Universe" shows daily. And the Kimball Natural History Museum boasts dinosaur fossils, an interactive science exhibit and a unique earthquake simulator.
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