SciFi in San Francisco
With its Victorian houses on steep hills and modern skyline rising from the bay, San Francisco is an iconic city that has been a popular backdrop for movies and television. From Alcatraz and The Rock to the Painted Ladies of TV’s Full House, film buffs and television fans can tour the city with an eye to their favorite scenes. Want to see where they filmed the downhill chase in Bullitt? Check out Taylor and Vallejo streets in Russian Hill. Want to see Mrs. Doubtfire’s house? Check out the corner of Steiner and Broadway in Pacific Heights. But what if you want something a little more out of this world? San Francisco has that too. Here are 10 places to explore for fans of Science Fiction.
Find your inner Jedi at the Yoda Statue
A favorite pilgrimage site for fans of Star Wars. Located in The Presidio in the courtyard of Lucasfilms you will find the bronze statue of Yoda. Inside the lobby there’s a statue of Darth Vader. Visitors are allowed inside during regular business hours to get up close Vader, R2-D2, Boba Fett, and other Star Wars artifacts.
Test your powers against the Golden Gate Bridge
Here are just a few of the SciFi movies that feature this beautiful bridge: It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955), Superman (1978), Star Trek IV (1986), The Core (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), Monsters vs Aliens (2009), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), and Pacific Rim (2013). See it from below at Fort Point to get a sense of its scale or take a stroll across. Bring a jacket it will likely be foggy or windy or both.
Before Star Wars there was Zoetrope aka the Sentinel Building
This historic building between the Financial District and North Beach was the headquarters for American Zoetrope, the film company founded by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. George Lucas made THX 1138 and American Graffiti while at Zoetrope. The copper and tile flatiron building, built in 1907, also appears in Star Trek IV: The Journey Home where the crew tries to catch a Muni bus. After snapping your own pic on the corner of Columbus and Pacific, head into North Beach for lunch.
Dystopia at City Hall & Civic Center
In the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a San Francisco health inspector and his colleague discover that humans are being replaced by alien look-a-likes that are perfect copies of the person but without human emotion. You can recreate the movie’s dramatic ending underneath the pollarded English Sycamore trees of Civic Center Plaza, then celebrate being human with ice cream from Bi-Rite Café at 52 Grove St.
Going Ape in the San Francisco Zoo
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In addition to our more famous #GoldenGatePark gardens & groves, we have a bunch of smaller hidden gems throughout the park! Check out the Dahlia Garden featuring the official flower of #SF or the Rose Garden nestled between Heroes & Redwood Memorial groves! Other hidden gems include Rhododendron Dell, Shakespeare Garden and Fuchsia Dell! Check out our guide to flowers in bloom in Golden Gate Park on our website for this #birthday week or the #GoldenGatePark150 soon! #california #GGP150 #northerncalifornia #bayarea #sanfrancisco #sf #sfrecpark #getoutandplay #hiddengem #goldengatepark #ggp #birthday #happybirthday #travel #adventure #explore #discover #spring #outdoors #flower #garden #dell #fuchsia #rose #rhodendron #dahlia #shakespearegarden
“Evolution Becomes Revolution.” Before Caesar leads the apes on a rampage of downtown San Francisco and takes a ride on the Powell St. Cable car in the Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), things are looking pretty good at the San Francisco Zoo. Indeed, the SF Zoo is a wonderful place to visit to learn about evolution and conservation, including their Science Saturday Conservation Lectures (for ages 12 and up. Free admission to the lecture).
For those who like their science fiction presented live, check out the Quantum Dragon Theatre Co. Their mission is to “awaken curiosity and inspire wonder by exploring worlds and circumstances far different from our own—and what better genres do that than those that fall under the umbrella of speculative fiction?”
SF in SF is a non-profit organization that sponsors a monthly movie series in conjunction with the Balboa Theater and presents a monthly author series at the American Bookbinders Museum. Come listen to some of the best authors in Science Fiction and Speculative fiction read from their works and answer questions. Past guests include: Cory Doctorow, Karen Joy Fowler, Nalo Hopkinson, Paolo Bacigalupi, and Tad Williams.
Never bored at Borderlands Books
EXT. Bookstore – Sunny Day pic.twitter.com/P4c6BARakQ
— Borderlands Books (@borderlands_sf) August 25, 2018
Did you finish the SciFi book you brought with you on your trip? Borderlands Books on Valencia St., in the heart of the Mission district, is the place for speculative and genre fiction. Peruse the stacks, find a new book to capture your imagination, then pop next door to the Borderlands Café and enjoy tea or coffee and start reading. Check out Borderlands event calendar for author reading and signings. You just might get a chance to have your favorite book autographed.
Science Facts for Science Fiction at the California Academy of Sciences
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If you've ever wanted to see yourself inside a tiny galaxy of sparkling stars, our new "SpaceWay" installation—by Mexico City-based art collective @quarso—is where it's at. Head to the West Garden day or evening, though we'd suggest those after-dark NightLife views are not to be missed. ✨🌙🌟// #casnightlife #sciart #artinstallation
Great science fiction starts with a basis in science facts and imagines what is possible. At the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, you can explore our planet in the aquarium, indoor rainforest, and natural history museum. Plus you can take a trip into our galaxy and beyond in the planetarium. For those who are curious what 38,000 animals do at night, check out Thursday themed NightLife, with music and food and cocktails (21+ with ID). Or, for the whole family, spend the night for the “wildest” sleepover yet!
Ever dreamed of being a mad scientist?
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The Exploratorium is more than a museum; it’s an ongoing exploration of science, art, and human perception. Step inside a tornado, turn upside down in a giant curved mirror, walk on a fog bridge, and explore more than 650 hands-on exhibits. Follow your curiosity to the Exploratorium on Pier 15! #VisitSF #Exploratorium #SanFrancisco
At the Exploratorium on Pier 15 you can get hands on with science. Bigger than 5 football fields, the Exploratorium is celebrating their 50th anniversary of exploring science, art, and human perception. With more than 650 hands on exhibits, you can step inside a tornado and map migrations of sharks and have your own Sharknado experience. The Exploratorium also has a After Dark night on Thursdays for 18+ with special guest speakers, music, films, and one-of-a-kind activities.
Tina LeCount Myers is a writer, surfer, and gluestick artist. Born in Mexico to expat-bohemian parents, she grew up on Southern California tennis courts with a prophecy hanging over her head; her parents hoped she’d one day be an author. Tina is the author of the epic fantasy books The Song of All and Dreams of the Dark Sky (Books 1 and 2 of The Legacy of the Heavens series). Her work has also appeared in Literary Hub and Tor.com. Tina lives in San Francisco with her adventurer husband, demanding Siamese cat, and a stack of scifi books by her bed.
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