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Old May 1st, 2005, 08:41 PM
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San Francisco

Has anyone been to the Musee Mecanique? How was it.

Also, what about the walking tours in San Francisco? Which one is the best?

hummingbird51 is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2005, 12:35 AM
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Hi hummingbird, not familar with Musee Mecanique and since I am a local I haven't taken a walking tour. However if you type in Stu Dudley in the search box here on Fodors you will find posts of his. His wife volunteers for the SF Library and they do various walking tours of SF which are considered fantastic. The tours are free but I am sure that a donation is always appreciated. Also there is a tour of ChinaTown. Wish I could remember the exact name. It is something like Wok Tours. Hopefully someone else here will post on that. Everyone that has taken it has really enjoyed it. Welcome to SF!
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 06:32 AM
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Musee Mechanique at the Cliff House by the beach? Not worth a visit, unless you want to get an Irish Coffee and watch the fog roll in above the beach.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 08:50 AM
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The Musee Mecanique is now at Fisherman's Wharf - on one of the piers. It has been expanded to include a "Fun Zone" exhibition. I enjoy it - it's the only thing I go to the Wharf to see.

You can find a complete SF City Guides schedule at

Stu Dudley

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Old May 2nd, 2005, 08:58 AM
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The Musee Mecanique is okay. Not great, not bad. It's a nice respite if you want to get out of the cold and be entertained for a while. Some of the exhibits are interesting and you have the ability to actually play on some.

Certainly not a high point for me in a city with such incredible sights. However, if you are at the Wharf, it might be interesting to slip in for a few minutes.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 04:49 PM
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To me it's a historical arcade. For adults, nice place to visit once. But if you're with children, beware: they will stay and play.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 08:10 AM
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Hi Hummingbird, the Musee is fun, but not really a destination unless you have a special interest in those old-fashioned mechanically animated scenes of diorama-style subjects, such as farmyards or ballroom dancing; you put in a quarter and the objects move around, often to music. I thought it was a giggle and spent about an hour getting my fortune told and watching all the funny little amusements made a long time ago. As has been pointed out, it's at Fisherman's Wharf, in the building that essentially hides Pier 45, the home of the submarine Pampanito and the Liberty Ship Jeremiah O'Brien, both of which are open for visitors and quite educational. To get to the Musee, you go through a big door that is painted to look like Laughing Sal's mouth--the real Laughing Sal (from the old Playland at the Beach near the Cliff House) is now situated inside the Musee (I find her a bit scary, but that's just me). You can go straight through and out the opposite door to get to Pier 45.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 11:43 AM
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Musee Mecanique is a huge chunk of San Francisco history that has been preserved - and what fun, you can play with history too!

Here's some background:

Most of the mechanical throw-backs have been preserved from San Francisco's "Playland at the Beach" - an amusement park that lasted for 50 years before disappearing.

Worth a peak if you're in the area.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 11:51 AM
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I LOVE taking out-of-town guests to the new Musee Mechanique at the wharf--get out of the wind, and great picture ops in front of classic Laughing Sal. Then, I spend all my quarters on the fabulous, tinny player pianos--totally adds to the ambiance of all the old, creepy arcade games. Best thing is its FREE, so no worries if you go and hate it or only spend a few minutes there.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 12:27 PM
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OK, Laughing Sal, gads I remember her! A joy during my childhood. Just didn't know the "Musee mecanizue" name. Thanks for the information.
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