Just when you thought you had seen and done everything this city has to offer, some super-handsome city guide (us!) comes along and tells you that you're wrong. And Tyler MacNiven -- owner of West of Pecos, former The Amazing Race contestant, and co-founder of SF Secrets -- has the proof.

flickr/Selena N. B. H.

1. The Spire

The Presidio
A 100ft-tall art installation off of Arguello Blvd on Bay Area Ridge Trail in the Presidio, this thing is made from 38 large cypress trunks that had originally been cleared to make room for new growth, before being fastened together by "legendary forest art-man Andy Goldsworthy" into a new tower.

flickr/Orin Zebest

2. Casting Pools

Golden Gate Park
You know there are buffalo (wait... you do know that, right?), but you probably don't know there are these pools over by the Golden Gate Park Fields, which MacNiven describes as a "great place to practice your fly fishing without the hassle of flying to Montana". WHY IS THERE SO MUCH HASSLE GETTING TO YOU, MONTANA?!?

flickr/Peretz Partensky

3. Tom and Jerry Christmas Tree

Noe Valley
Every December 12th-25th, Tom Taylor and Jerome Goldstein bring Noe a 65ft, brilliantly illuminated Christmas tree. Oh and also, "human-sized teddy bears, bathroom-sized presents, and a nightly visit from St. Nicholas himself".

SF Secrets

4. The Owl Man

The Mission
You've seen the window full of owls right by BiRite on Dolores and 18th; that's not a secret. What you haven't seen is INSIDE of George Heymont's house. Until now. You're doing God's work, Tyler. God's work.

flickr/phault

5. Pug Sunday

Alta Plaza Park
At 2:30pm on the first Sunday of every month, everyone in SF with a pug goes to Alta Plaza Park. Really. "It's basically the pug version of Woodstock."

flickr/Steffane lui

6. 16th Avenue Mosaic Steps

The Sunset
A staircase designed by local artists and put together by more than 300 people from the neighborhood, these mosaic steps (right by Grand View Park) took two years (and lots of hallucinogens) to decorate.

SF Secrets

7. San Francisco Sundial

Ingleside Terraces
$20 says you have no idea where the Ingleside Terraces neighborhood is (it's over by CCSF, by the way), but here's a reason you should: it's got this GIANT-ASS sundial sculpture that accurately-ish tells time (except during Daylight Savings). MacNiven says it's the largest of three mega sundials in SF.

flickr/ben wiseley

8. Bernal Slides

Bernal Heights
These are two deceptively steep slides set in the side of the hill in Bernal (the top is at Winfield and Esmerelda), which're even more fun because they're "tucked in a quiet neighborhood where no one can hear you scream, as 30 layers of lower-thigh skin burn off within the first 8ft." We're so in.

SF Secrets

9. Pet Cemetery

The Presidio
Totally not creepily, the soldiers used to bury all of their pets in this cemetery near the old barracks. No new additions accepted, please.

flickr/Felix Engelhardt

10. Wave Organ

The Marina
Located at the end of a spit of land extending from the Golden Gate Yacht Club and overlooking Alcatraz and the Golden Gate, these wave-gurgling pipes use undulating, echoing water to make a bunch of really cool noises.

Wikimedia Commons/Brocken Inaglory

11. Broderick/Terry Duel Site

Lake Merced
You: "But this is just three rocks in the ground; doesn't seem very cool or secret to me. What gives, Tyler?"
MacNiven: "This California historical landmark is the dueling location of two prominent California statesmen. Stone pillars mark where the two men drew arms, and where one fell. Boosh."
 

12. The Cake Gallery

SOMA
This cake shop is famous for making literally any erotic cake you can think of, from 3D penises to that one thing your girlfriend won't let you do. Also, MacNiven says they make "signature boob cakes"!!!

flickr/Jeff Gunn

13. Farallon Islands

The Pacific
Difficult to swim to but visible on clear days, the Farallon Islands -- 27 miles off the coast -- are one of the premier Great White Shark feeding grounds. Bad. Ass.

flickr/Cassandra Rae

14. Lands End Labyrinth

Land's End
This labyrinth (off of the Coastal Trail) is made with grapefruit-sized stones and inspired by traditional walking labyrinths from monasteries, where the goal is contemplation and meditation (even though you could step over this beauty to the center). "I once saw a proposal happen here with a school of dolphins playing in the waves," MacNiven says. "I'm pretty sure she said yes."

flickr/Amy

15. Cayuga Park

Cayuga Terrace
Filipino emigrant Demetrio Braceros decided to turn a seedy, crime-ridden park into a whimsical experience filled with imaginary wooden creatures and totem poles. And after deciding to do that, he actually did it. 20 years later, it's still what MacNiven calls "one of San Francisco's most precious secrets".

Joe Starkey is Thrillist's San Francisco editor, but credits basically all of this piece to Tyler MacNiven -- the host of SF Secrets, former The Amazing Race contestant, and co-owner of West of Pecos (which is delicious). Check out his site here.

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1. The Spire Bay Area Ridge Trail near the Arguello Gate, San Francisco, CA 94129 (The Presidio)

San Francisco has a surprising amount of public art and sculpture. This nearly hundred-foot-tall art installation off of Arguello Blvd on Bay Area Ridge Trail in the Presidio was made from 38 large cypress trunks by British artist Andy Goldsworthy. He created the breathtaking sculpture as part of the Presidio’s reforestation effort in 2007 to evoke the layering of natural and human history in the Presidio’s forest.

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2. Casting Pools Golden Gate Equestrian Center, San Francisco, CA (Golden Gate Park)

Among the countless hidden secrets in Golden Gate Park (archery? bison?). these shallow casting pools are ideal for practicing fly fishing, if you’re into that kind of thing. Expect to find an array of locals spending a leisurely afternoon with fishing rods in hand.

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3. Tom and Jerry Christmas Tree 3650 21st St, San Francisco, CA 94114 (Noe Valley)

Every December, head to Noe Valley for the Christmas spectacle that has garnered attention since the 1980s. Tom Taylor and Jerome Goldstein bring you a 65ft, brilliantly illuminated Christmas tree each year complete with giant teddy bears, presents, and stockings. On the corner of 21st and Church, you’ll find a display that far surpasses any other yuletide decoration.

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4. Alta Plaza Park Alta Plaza Park, San Francisco, CA 94115 (Pacific Heights)

At 2:30pm on the first Sunday of every month, everyone in SF with a pug goes to Alta Plaza Park. Really. "It's basically the pug version of Woodstock."

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5. Moraga Steps Moraga Steps, San Francisco, CA 94122 (The Sunset)

Also known as the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps, the Moraga Steps are a staircase designed by local artists and put together by more than 300 people from the neighborhood. Each of the 163 steps is made of a different mosaic panel. You can find them right by Grand View Park.

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6. Ingleside Terraces Entrada Ct, San Francisco, CA 94127

This GIANT-ASS sundial sculpture accurately-ish tells time (except during Daylight Savings) and it's the largest of three mega sundials in SF.

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7. Bernal Slides Winfield at Esmerelda, San Francisco, CA 94110 (Bernal Heights)

Spend an afternoon atop Bernal feeling like a kid again at the hidden and deceptively steep Winfield Street Slides, careening down 40-foot chutes that have been a neighborhood mainstay since the '70s.

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8. Pet Cemetary McDowell at Presidio Pkwy, San Francisco, CA 94123 (The Presidio)

Totally not creepily, the soldiers used to bury all of their pets in this cemetery near the old barracks. No new additions accepted, please.

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9. Wave Organ 83 Marina Green Dr, San Francisco, CA 94123 (The Marina)

Located at the end of a spit of land extending from the Golden Gate Yacht Club and overlooking Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, these wave-gurgling pipes use undulating, echoing water to produce eerie, oceanic noises. Developed by Peter Richards and installed by sculptor and master stone mason George Gonzales as part of the Exploratorium’s artist-in-residence program in 1986, the acoustic structure is made up of 25 organ pipes and concrete ledges that interact with the waves and tides. The noises are controlled entirely by the Bay’s tides and are the loudest at high tide.

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10. Lands End El Camino Del Mar, San Francisco, CA 94121

This labyrinth off of the Coastal Trail is made up grapefruit-sized stones and styled after traditional monastery walking labyrinths meant to inspire meditation. It was created by Eduardo Aguilera in 2004, but it looks like it's been there for centuries.

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11. Broderick/Terry Duel Site , Daly City, CA 94015

Also known as the site of the "last notable American duel", this is the historic location of the duel between US Senator David. C Broderick of California and ex-Chief Justice David S. Terry of the Supreme Court of California, on Sept. 13, 1859.

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12. The Cake Gallery 290 9th St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (Soma)

So, it’s your roommate’s (or boyfriend’s or best friend’s or cat’s….) birthday and you want to bring something really spectacular to the picnic? Skip the lines at Bi-Rite and call up The Cake Gallery for a show-stopping secret weapon. Have them whip you up something creative and wow your friends with a 3-D burger cake, an “adult” cake (we’re looking at you, bachelorettes), or a cake with an actual picture of the birthday girl on it. They’re almost too pretty to eat… almost.

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13. Farallon Islands Farallon Islands, San Francisco, CA 94555

A cluster of islands about 30mi West of SF, the Farallon Islands are a great place to check out some wildlife -- specifically Great White Sharks.

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14. Cayuga Park Cayuga Park, San Francisco, CA 94112

Cayuga Playground, a whimsical park in Cayuga Terrace in the Outer Mission, is one of the city’s most precious hidden gems. You’ll find themed gardens and whimsical sculptures created by Filipino immigrant Demetrio Braceros, who turned a once seedy, crime-ridden park into a magical world of art.

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