Holiday Season in San Francisco: Start a New Family Tradition at the Exploratorium
Searching for a special way to spend the holiday season in San Francisco? Start a new family tradition with a trip to the Exploratorium, accessibly located on the Embarcadero.
Here are five tips for maximizing your family fun at the Exploratorium—and for kicking off a new holiday custom you’ll all enjoy for years to come.
1. Explore playful, interactive exhibits for all ages.
There really is something for everyone at the Exploratorium—whether you come with kids, teenagers, grandparents, or an intergenerational group. Store your belongings in our coin-operated Musical Lockers before taking a spin on A Different Kind of Dizzy. Engage your family in healthy competition with a game of Red/Blue, or strike a pose before a flash of light captures your shadow, and a moment in time, in Shadow Box.
2. Enjoy Curious Contraptions: Flights of Fancy.
Don’t miss our special winter exhibition, on display from November 21, 2019, through January 26, 2020. Press a button and watch whimsical moving machines come to life. Created by automata artists from around the world, these mechanical sculptures perform absurd miniature dramas. Make sure you look closely at these handmade machines—you might be surprised to spot humorous details hidden by the makers.
3. Cozy up with comfort food.
On a foggy day in San Francisco, there's nothing like sipping a hot cup of cocoa from the Seismic Joint Café, a quick take-out spot with adjacent seating both inside and outside the museum. If you’re craving a sit-down meal, our family-friendly Seaglass Restaurant offers comfort food, refreshing drinks, and stunning views of the Bay. Either choice offers delicious ways to bolster your energy as you explore.
4. Pick out a creative gift and ignite curiosity.
Don’t forget to stop by one of our Exploratorium Stores and take a small piece of the museum experience home with you. We’ve got something for everyone—from unusual stocking stuffers to DIY kits, from books on science and technology to jewelry designed by local artists and tinkerers. Every purchase you make supports us in our mission to transform science learning worldwide.
5. Take a snapshot for your memory book.
Not your typical holiday lights display: Capture your visit with a family photo in front of Buckyball, our towering 25-foot illuminated sculpture next to the museum. This spectacular piece by artist Leo Villareal uses 4,500 LED nodes programmed to display more than 16 million distinct colors, which ripple and fade mesmerizingly along the two enormous nested geodesic spheres.
After your visit, stroll along the San Francisco waterfront to catch your BART train, enjoying the shimmering lights of the Bay Bridge reflected in the Bay. (Pro tip: skip traffic and city parking; the Embarcadero station is a scenic 10-minute walk away.) We hope you enjoy your Exploratorium holiday adventure—and we look forward to being a part of your winter traditions this year, and for many years to come.