No velvet ropes or hands-off signs here: kids rule, with high-tech displays double-daring them to make music videos, film claymation movies and construct play castles. Jump into live-action video games and sign up for workshops with Bay Area superstar animators, techno whizzes and robot builders. For low-tech fun, take a spin on the vintage-1906 Loof Carousel outside, operating 10am to 5pm daily; one $4 ticket covers two rides ($1 discount with museum admission).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby attractions

1. Yerba Buena Gardens

0.11 MILES

Breathe a sigh of relief: you've found the lush green getaway in the concrete heart of SoMa, between Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Metreon…

2. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

0.18 MILES

When the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art expanded in 2016, it was a mind-boggling feat that nearly tripled the institution's size to accommodate a…

3. Crown Point Press

0.22 MILES

Bet you didn't think anyone could capture Chuck Close's giant portraits, Robert Bechtle's hyper-realistic street scenes or Kiki Smith's painstaking wall…

4. Museum of the African Diaspora

0.22 MILES

MoAD assembles an international cast of characters to tell the epic story of diaspora, including a moving video of slave narratives told by Maya Angelou…

5. Contemporary Jewish Museum

0.24 MILES

That upended blue-steel box miraculously balancing on one corner atop the Contemporary Jewish Museum is appropriate for an institution that upends…

6. California Historical Society

0.26 MILES

Enter a Golden State of enlightenment at this Californiana treasure trove, featuring themed exhibitions drawn from the museum's million-plus California…

8. SPUR Urban Center Gallery

0.28 MILES

Cities are what you make of them, and urban-planning nonprofit SPUR invites you to reimagine San Francisco (and your own hometown) with gallery shows that…