Your crib sheet to entertaining not-as-cool-as-you visitors

Published On 07/26/2013 Published On 07/26/2013
The SF Palace of Fine Arts
Kevin Cole
Lowell Robinson
Bobak Ha'Eri
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1. Subpar Miniature Golf 1511 Park St., Alameda, CA 94501

Subpar's got ping pong, pool, an arcade, and a cantina for food/drink, but their main attraction is an indoor 18-hole course that includes obstacles made to resemble landmarks from around the Bay Area. The golf may be mini, but it'll make you feel maxi. Allied: A real hole in one? Going to the AMF Bowling Center at 300 Park St and picking up some Smith & Forge, the hard cider that's built strong -- built from Apples and built to Refresh. .

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2. Exploratorium Pier 15, San Francisco, CA 94111

Ditch your loving family and embrace your inner man-child at Exploratorium's brand new complex at Pier 15. Their main restaurant's got a full bar (for the adult in the child in you), and they've got another restaurant that's dishing out goods like chickpea-battered fish fingers. Hit up exhibits on "Human Phenomena" (including a Pac-Man game that explores teamwork -- "See, Dad?? Spending hours on a one-player game can build social skills!") and "Tinkering".

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3. Yerba Buena Gardens 745 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Location at 4th and Mission, Yerba Buena's a public park that features the Martin Luther King Jr. Reflecting Pool, a waterfall, and an old-school carousel, among other attractions.

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4. California Academy of Sciences 55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118

Housing nearly 40,000 live animals, the California Academy of Sciences is the only place on Earth with an aquarium, a natural history museum, a planetarium, and a four-story rainforest in the same building.

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5. Straw 203 Octavia Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94102

Straw is an over-the-top-playful, carny-themed eatery imagined by a quartet of former Outside Lands concession-eers, with a festive 30-seat interior anchored by a booth built from an actual Tilt-a-Whirl car, plus framed Coney Island photography, light fixtures made of Exeter Mason jars, and a bathroom full of funhouse mirrors, also what Kirstie Alley calls normal mirrors in an effort to avoid a shame spiral.

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6. Conservatory of Flowers 100 John F. Kennedy Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118

Started in the 1860s, the Conservatory of Flowers is now housed primarily in a massive greenhouse in Golden Gate Park and is one of the most popular landmarks in San Francisco.

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7. Legion of Honor Museum 34th Ave & Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

In a setting overlooking the Pacific and the Golden Gate Bridge, the Legion of Honor palace/museum contains over 4,000yrs of art and artifacts.

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8. Top of the Mark 999 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108

Located at the top of the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, this spot offers crazy views of the city skyline, the ocean, and the Golden Gate Bridge, while also slinging delicious light eats and cocktails (including their famous 100 Martinis menu!).

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9. Palace of Fine Arts 3301 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94123

Originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, this beautiful behemoth hosts art exhibits, weddings, and other live events.

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10. House of Air 926 Mason St, San Francisco , CA 94129

House of Air is an indoor trampoline park located inside a converted air hangar in Crissy Field. Seriously. The hallmark of the jump center is The Matrix, which includes a basketball court-size structure made of 42 conjoining trampolines and a separate trampoline bowl modeled after skateparks. The 8,000sqft space includes also includes a trampoline dodgeball court. Sounds like the perfect rainy day activity.

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11. AT&T Park 24 Willie Mays Plz, San Francisco, CA 94107

This pitcher-friendly park offers 8 luxury suites and 6,700 club seats, including 1,500 at field-level behind home plate. Keeping things old school, the park has enormous right-field score boards manually operated by just three guys. Make your own blast to the past and attend the SF Giants home opener, Tuesday April 8th vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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12. Mission Chinese Food 2234 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Though Danny Bowien's since expanded with two NYC locations, the original SF Mission Chinese, which he opened inside a rundown Chinese restaurant in 2000, started it all. The creative Mission eatery takes an interesting spin on classic Chinese dishes. You’ll find the usual suspects like Mongolian long beans, ma po tofu, and sesame chicken, but the real showstoppers are his fun spins on classics. Kung pao pastrami, thrice-cooked bacon and rice cakes, and kung pao burritos are far from forgettable.

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13. Mission Bowling Club 3176 17th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Equipped with six lanes from an old Fort Bragg alley, MBC's ready to make your bowling experience feel all the more fancy with tufted leather booths where you can get down on fare that you'd be hard pressed to find in most bowling alleys, from gumbo-spiced red bean hushpuppies and harissa sauced lamb meatballs to Korean baby back ribs and English pea toast. And because bowling requires drinking, you'll also find a solid craft beer selection available in both pitchers and flights.

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14. S&R Lounge 55 5th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

With a kickass cocktail list and food designed by Park Tavern/Marlowe chef Jennifer Puccio, S&R's a SOMA loungy bar in Hotel Zetta with an entire "Playroom" dedicated to childhood games made adult-size, like an enormous Plinko board that uses soccer balls (!).