Fodor's Expert Review Wells Fargo Bank History Museum
There were no formal banks in San Francisco during the early years of the gold rush, and miners often entrusted their gold dust to saloon keepers. In 1852, Wells Fargo opened its first bank in the city on this spot, and the company soon established banking offices in mother-lode camps throughout California. At the fun two-story museum, you can pick up a free ticket and climb aboard a stagecoach—the projected driver will tell you about the ride and the scenery passing by on the wall—or take the reins and experience a trip out west. Have your picture taken in front of the gorgeous red Concord stagecoach (collect your souvenir photo at the desk), the likes of which carried passengers from St. Joseph, Missouri, to San Francisco in just three weeks during the 1850s. The museum also displays samples of nuggets and gold dust from mines, an old telegraph machine on which you can practice sending codes, and tools the '49ers used to coax the precious mineral from the ground.