A mere 1.25 miles (2.01 km) off the coast of San Francisco, Alcatraz Island boasts a fascinating history that extends far beyond its stint as a federal penitentiary from 1934 to 1963; it is also the site of the West Coast's oldest operating lighthouse, the remains of a historic military fortress, and a bird sanctuary. Although within sight of the city, Alcatraz is isolated from the outside world, surrounded by the frigid waters of the bay, the perilous currents making escape virtually impossible. This very fact made Alcatraz an apt choice for a prison meant to house some of the country's most notorious criminals, including the likes of Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud and Alvin Karpis. The year 1969 marked beginning of another intriguing chapter in the history of Alcatraz when a group of Native American activists occupied the island for 19 months, signs of which are still visible to this day. Amid this turbulent narrative thrives a vibrant habitat for native flora and fauna, creating a miniature world of startling contrasts where the haunting remains of the prison stand amid a striking landscape of rock pools, rugged coasts and lush flora. The isle is now a tourist attraction, one of San Francisco's most popular, with self-guided and guided tours that delve into the past of the island as a whole and the prison in particular.
The Asian Art Museum is one of the largest museums in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian art. Its holdings include nearly 15,000 treasures spanning 6000 years of history, representing cultures throughout Asia. Renowned architect Gae Aulenti oversaw the dramatic transformation of the building: it now features 40,000 square feet (3716 square meters) of gallery space, allowing the museum to better fulfill its mission of leading a diverse global audience in discovering the unique material, aesthetic and intellectual achievements of Asian art and culture.
The Ferry Building Marketplace is a must-see for San Francisco visitors. This multi-million dollar development has an abundance of activities for the entire family. This marvelous building was designed by renowned architect Arthur Page Brown in Beaux Arts Style. Similar to that of the iconic Giralda Bell Tower in Seville, the clock tower of this building is a popular landmark and call be seen from afar. Take a tour of the historic Ferry Building, browse through antique shops, enjoy a view by the bay and a bowl of chowder at Ferry Plaza Seafood or buy organic produce at the Farmer's Market. Enjoy the sights and sounds of what makes the Ferry Building one of the Bay's most popular destinations for entertainment, food, and fun.
Developed by physicist Frank Oppenheimer and opened in 1969, this innovative and interactive museum is dedicated to art, science and human perception. Relocated from the Palace of Fine Arts to Piers 15 and 17, the modern space features plenty of new green technologies including the largest solar panel roof in San Francisco and offers over 600 hands-on exhibits. These hands-on displays unveil the mysteries of science and language, and present these theories simply and succinctly. Webinars, special events and seminars occur throughout the year. This San Francisco gem is a must visit.
Built in 1922, The Castro Theatre is San Francisco's only remaining movie palace. When it's not hosting film festivals, this 1400-seat house runs a repertory calendar heavy on film classics; there is no better place to see The Wizard of Oz. The interior reflects the elegance of a bygone era with its red velvet seats and walls that feature molded plaster and fresco detailing. The fanciful ceiling, from which an imposing art deco chandelier hangs, is designed to evoke the interior of a Bedouin tent. A mighty Wurlitzer organ plays between evening shows and completes the antique feel of the theater.
An architectural masterpiece, The Fillmore itself is as worth seeing as any band that plays here. Stand on the main floor next to the historic stage and look up at soaring ceilings, embellished with carvings and gold paint, while the booming speakers rattle your bones. If you choose the tranquility of the balcony instead, sink into velvet-covered seats, sip cocktails, and eat French fries. With posters representing almost every group that has ever played here, the history of American music is on full display.
The Rickshaw Stop is one of the trendiest spots in the city's club scene. While the club has cheaper admission prices than most of its competitors, the Rickshaw Stop still manages to pull in an eccentric range of renowned musical acts, such as Grimes, Katy B, Jonathan Richman, The Mooney Suzuki, and The Pipettes. The Rickshaw Stop has a full bar and serves delectable food to its guests.
Featuring performances from a diverse range of professional artists and bands from across the world, SFJAZZ Center is a modern concert venue in San Francisco. Located on the corner of Fell Street and Franklin Street, the center comprises the flexible Robert N. Miner Auditorium which has a capacity to host a maximum of 700 spectators, a smaller 80-seat rehearsal room and a cafe. The auditorium is equipped with latest infrastructure amenities where spectators can sit back, relax and watch the scintillating performances on stage.
The pride of the SFJAZZ Center, Robert N. Miner Auditorium is built just for jazz performances, with its classy ambiance, intimate seating areas, and softly-tuned acoustics. Its steeply-positioned seats make for amazing viewing experiences.
Clad in glass from two sides, Joe Henderson Lab is a chic, light and airy space which is best suited for corporate events, concerts and receptions. This compact room is named after the famed jazz saxophonist Joe Henderson, and comes with its own state-of-the-art sound system 'Meyer', excellent stage lighting as well as video equipment. Perched delightfully on the stage is a sleek piano, which often catches the fancy of the audience. Along with seats, the room has a standing capacity of up to 100 people.
Originally named as the San Francisco Civic Auditorium, it was changed to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium as an ode to Bill Graham. The indoor arena has a capacity to hold more than 7,000 people at any given point of time with ease. During shows and game nights, the ambiance is exhilarating with enthusiastic crowds. The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium has been host to many events in the past including the NBA's San Francisco Warriors and concerts by great maestros such as Muse, Tori Amos, Snow Patrol and Snoop Dogg to name a few.