Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Want to contact the museum? Fill out this form!

The Transportation Museum
San Carlos, California

Andrew Mancini, Director

  • Facebook Social Icon

© 2013-2019 by The Transportation Museum. All Rights Reserved.

Current Events > Things to Do

Things to Do

Looking for something to do on your own or with your family during the year? Here is the Mancini Family's top picks on museums and other things to do throughout the Bay Area. Have a suggestion? Let us know and we'll add it to the list!

Search by location:

San Francisco      Peninsula     East Bay     South Bay

 

San Francisco

San Francisco Railway Museum

Explore artifacts, photographs, and displays related to San Francisco's historic streetcars. See what it's like to be the motorman by pressing the controls. Learn what's the difference between a streetcar and a cable car!

 

Website: www.streetcar.org/museum
Phone Number: (415) 974-1948

Admission: Free

Location: South end of Ferry Building plaza; 77 Steuart Street, San Francisco

Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Visitors Tip: After you've finished walking through the small museum, be sure to check out the unique t-shirts and other gifts for sale in the museum.

Cable Car Museum

View 3 antique cable cars (from the 1870's), cable car-related mechanical devices, and historic photographs of cable cars in San Francisco. The museum interior overlooks the engines and wheels that pull the cables even today (the museum is located inside the Washington & Mason powerhouse).

 

Website: www.cablecarmuseum.org/museum.html
Phone Number: 
(415) 474-1887

Admission: Free

Location: Washington and Mason streets; 1201 Mason Street, San Francisco

Hours: Nov.–Mar.: Daily, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Apr.–Oct.: Daily, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Visitors Tip: On your way in our out of the museum, be sure to walk downstairs to the less-crowded lover level. Here, you can see the large cable line entering the powerhouse and museum building underneath the street.

Hyde Street Pier/San Francisco Maritime NHP

This National Historic Park includes a museum, visitor center, and, our favorite, the Hyde Street Pier. The pier features 7 ships, many of which you can get on and walk around. The Eureka ferry boat, built in 1890, was once a designated portion of U.S. 101, between San Francisco and Marin County!

 

Website: www.nps.gov/safr/index.htm
Phone Number: (415) 447-5000 (Visitor Center)

Admission: Museum/Visitor Center: Free, Hyde Street Pier: $10/person

Location: West end of Fisherman's Wharf; 2905 Hyde Street, San Francisco

Hours: Hyde Street Pier: Daily, 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Maritime Museum: Daily, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Visitors Tip: Play hide-and-seek or search for unique objects on the large ferry Eureka. The staircases, rooms, and walls make for great hiding places! If you visit early in the morning, it's not as crowded.

Other Things to Do

Walt Disney Family Museum:    Website    Location    Hours    Admission: $25/adults, $20/seniors, $15/youth

Learn about the life of Disneyland's founder, Walt Disney, from his early life to movies to the creation of Disneyland. A cool part of the museum is a 3D map of Disneyland, at the end!

Musée Mécanique:    Website    Location    Hours    Admission: Free, games cost between 1 cent and 1 dollar

Located near Pier 39, Musée Mécanique includes over 200 items, ranging from coin-operated pianos to old, coin-operated games and animations. Most games cost just a quarter or two! This is a great, family-friendly, cheap attraction. (Coin machines are available on-site.)

AT&T Ballpark Tours:    Website    Location    Hours/Dates    Admission: $22/adults, $17/seniors, $12/youth

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the Giants stadium, AT&T Park. You'll get a chance to go where only the players and staff go, including the visitors' dugout, the visitors' clubhouse, the Press Box, and more! (Tours are daily, except on game days or other special event days. Bonus: Ride transit to AT&T Park! Board Caltrain from San Carlos, ride it to San Francisco, and walk 2 1/2 blocks to AT&T Park! Click here for Caltrain schedules >

Golden Gate Park Segway Rides:    Location, Hours, and Costs Vary; see individual websites below

For new or experienced segway riders, take a group tour with the Electric Tour Company ($70/person, must be at least 100 pounds). You'll segway through 7 miles of Golden Gate Park on a 2 1/2-hour tour. Or, if you want to go on your own, ride with Golden Gate Park Segway Rentals. With this option, you can ride wherever you want in San Francisco, on your own, and you'll even get a free lesson. Rates are by the half-hour; 2 1/2 hours is $70/person.

Transit Things to Do

Other Things to Do

Click each icon for more information

Click here for a map of these sites!

 

Peninsula

Millbrae Train Museum

The Millbrae Train Museum, housed in a train depot built in 1907, includes historic, train- and station-related artifacts, old vehicles, and a restored 1941 Pullman sleeping car from the premium Streamliner train nicknamed "The City of San Francisco."

 

Website: www.millbraehs.org/millbrae-train-museum.html
Phone Number: (650) 333-1136

Admission: Free

Location: Just south of Millbrae CalTrain Parking Lot on California Drive; 200 California Drive, Millbrae

Hours: Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.

Visitors Tip: The Pullman sleeping car routinely closes when it is raining, so plan ahead and visit on a sunny day. Additionally, be sure to call the museum before you arrive: because it is volunteer-run, the museum sometime closes early.

Hiller Aviation Museum

Located at the San Carlos Airport, the Hiller Aviation Museum includes countless aircraft on display, as well as airplane and helicopter history exhibits. There's also a ton of interactive, visitor-friendly exhibits, including a flight simulation, drone instruction, and more!

 

Website: www.hiller.org
Phone Number: 
(650) 654-0200

Admission: $18/adults, $11/youth, Bonus: Click here for a $2 off Sunday visits!

Location: West edge of San Carlos Airport; 601 Skyway Road, San Carlos

Hours: Daily, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Visitors Tip: Try visiting in the morning for fewer crowds. See the admission coupon above! Also, Brandan D., who presented his Flight Simulation exhibit at the museum in the past, sometimes helps visitors tour the museum. Click here to contact him!

San Mateo County History Museum

The San Mateo County History Museum, located in a historic courthouse in downtown Redwood City, includes numerous fascinating exhibits, including Journey to Work, which explores how transportation has shaped San Mateo County's growth, from the 1900's to now, with plenty of interactive elements and interesting San Mateo County "firsts."

 

Website: www.historysmc.com/san-mateo-county-history-museum
Phone Number: (650) 299-0104

Admission: $6/adults, $4/youth

Location: Redwood City Courthouse Square; 2200 Broadway, Redwood City

Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Visitors Tip: Let your family explore the museum on their own—kids will have more fun if they can go at their own pace and learn about content that interests them. This museum offers a wide range of exhibits, ranging from Eichler homes to the Mavericks surfing competition!

Other Things to Do

Sanchez Adobe:    Website    Location    Hours    Admission: Free

The Sanchez Adobe was built in the early 1840's, complete with servant's quarters and other buildings. Today, only the main house exists, but its rooms are full of period furniture and information about what life was like during the times. The annual Rancho Day Fiesta in September is a festival with real rancho food, period dancing, and more!

Belmont History Room:    Website    Location    Hours    Admission: Free

In the words of Belmont historian Denny Lawhern, "the museum is called a History Room because it's trying to be interactive; it's not like a fancy art museum where you can't touch anything." Learn about Belmont's history, including its earliest settlers, pictures of old homes, and an interesting display on how Belmont's original cemetery is underneath 280.

Bike The Bay:    Download Information Here

Bike nearly 12 miles along the San Francisco Bay, from Belmont to Burlingame! You'll pass interesting parks, marshland, and even get to go under the San Mateo-Hayward (92) Bay Bridge. There's plenty of points to stop for a little break on the way, but we'd suggest bringing a snack and plenty of water. Click here for more information >

Museum of San Carlos History:    Website    Location    Hours    Admission: Free

Learn about life in "The City of Good Living," from Native Americans living in the area to some of the city's first residents. View giant maps of San Carlos in the 1940's and learn about the housing boom that came after the end of World War II. Finally, learn about San Carlos High School, the school that was closed in the 1970's due to violence on campus and a decreasing number of students. You can even pick up your own San Carlosopoly Monopoly game in the gift shop!

Woodside Store:    Website    Location    Hours    Admission: Free

Managed by the San Mateo County Historical Association, the Woodside Store was built in the 1860's to serve as a general store for shingle makers, sawmill men, and lumberjacks supplying the housing boom in San Francisco. It was operated as a store until 1909, and today the main room still includes everything from food replicas to antique medicine.

The Museum of American Heritage:    Website    Location    Hours    Admission: Free, Suggested Donation: $5/person

Located in the historic Williams House and the Ruth Bell Lane Memorial Gardens, The Museum of American Heritage showcases technological inventions (not limited to the Bay Area) from the 1750's to the 1950's. There's an early 1900's kitchen, general store, doctor's office, and more, as well as temporary exhibits that rotate every 6 months.

Beach Day:    Download Information Here

The Pacific Ocean may be cold, but that doesn't mean it's not good for a beach day now and then! Here is some of the Mancini Family's favorite beaches, from Half Moon Bay to Pescadero. Click here to learn more >

Transit Things to Do

Other Things to Do

Click each icon for more information

Click here for a map of these sites!

East Bay

 

Pacific Bus Museum

Explore antique and modern buses, from a Los Gatos High school bus to a Greyhound motorcoach, at the Pacific Bus Museum in Hayward, which is open to visitors the first Saturday of each month. Displays also educate visitors on the history of buses and bus companies throughout the western United States.

 

Website: www.pacbus.org
Email Address: info@pacbus.org

Admission: Free, Suggested Donation: $5/adults

Location: Fremont, near Alameda Creek; 37974 Shinn Street, Fremont

Hours: First Saturday of April-November, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. (remaining for 2018: August 4, September 1, October 6, and November 3)

Visitors Tip: The museum puts on an annual open house every August, which is a great time to visit the museum. There are buses on display, along with bus collectibles and antique items and a barbecue for visitors. Click here to learn more about this year's open house on Saturday, August 19, 2018.

USS Hornet

Educating visitors about the USS Hornet's involvement in World War II and NASA's Apollo Program, the USS Hornet is an aircraft carrier docked in Oakland open for self-guided tours. There are countless exhibits on a variety of topics, unique artifacts, and even a flight simulator onboard, making the museum a must-see for anyone interested in aviation, water, NASA, or war history.

 

Website: www.uss-hornet.org
Phone Number: (510) 521-8448

Admission: $20/adults, $10/youth, Bonus: Click here for a coupon!

Location: Onboard the USS Hornet by Old Alameda Point; 707 West Hornet Avenue, Alameda

Hours: Daily, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Visitors Tip: While most of the USS Hornet can be visited via a self-guided audio tour, consider taking a guided behind-the-scenes tour on Tuesdays or Saturdays. Learn more about these tours here.

Blackhawk Museum

Explore more than 50 classic cars, from a 1934 Mercedes Benz roadster to a 1970 Dodge convertible, in the Blackhawk Museum's large Automotive Gallery, complete with interesting trivia for each make and model. Located inside the Blackhawk Plaza in Danville, the museum also includes a large, interactive exhibit on pioneers traveling westward, the challenges they faced, and their interactions with Native Americans.

 

Website: www.blackhawkmuseum.org
Phone Number: (925) 736-2280

Admission: $15/adults, $10/youth

Location: Northeast corner of Blackhawk Plaza; 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville

Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Visitors Tip: In the large Automotive Gallery, let your family spread out, roam around the cars, and choose their favorite one or two vehicles! Then as you drive home, you can each compare your favorites.

Niles Canyon Railway

With trains departing from Niles (Fremont) and Sunol every other Sunday, the Niles Canyon Railway is your ticket to an enjoyable scenic train ride! Enjoy covered and uncovered cars, snacks available for purchase, and a fully-narrated trip with information on picturesque Niles Canyon and the history of the railroad. Special event trains occur occasionally, as well.

 

Website: www.ncry.org
Phone Number: (510) 996-8420

Admission: $14/adults, $8/youth

Location: Downtown Niles Railroad Depot; 37105 Vallejo Way, Fremont and Downtown Sunol Railroad Depot; 6 Kilkare Road; Sunol

Hours: April-August, every Sunday; February-March and September-October, 1st and 3rd Sundays (see hours here)

Visitors Tip: Learn about railroads and see two large model railroads at the Niles Depot Museum, located inside the railway's historic depot in Niles. The museum is open every Sunday, 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Other Things to Do

Playland-Not-At-The-Beach:    Website    Location    Hours    Admission: $15/adults, $10/youth

Visit a museum dedicated to preserving San Francisco's former amusement park, Playland. Now located in El Cerrito with all of the pinball machines, carnival games, and more set on free play, this interactive attraction is a hidden treasure trove for visitors of all ages! Be prepared to spend at least a few hours trying and retrying the entertaining and fun amusement games. This is guaranteed to be a hit!

Adventure Playground:    Website    Location    Hours    Admission: Free

Listed in National Geographic's list of the top 10 playgrounds, Berkeley's Adventure Playground is a large, creative space allowing children and visitors of all ages to play around and have fun! You can ride the zip line, hammer objects together, cut wooden objects with a saw, and paint over everything—all at no cost, and with a guarantee that you'll have an awesome time!

UC Berkeley:    Download Information Here

Explore the campus of the University of California's first college, UC Berkeley, first created in 1868. Today, there's plenty to do, including visiting an interesting anthropology museum, seeing one-of-a-kind views of San Francisco from across the bay, geocaching, and finding unusual spots around campus. What to do at UC Berkeley >

East Bay Regional Parks District:    Download Information Here

Spanning over 120,000 acres collectively, the East Bay Regional Parks District manages 65 parks, 1,200 miles of trails, and over 150 miles of urban regional trails. Together, the parks and trails offer visitors a plethora of hiking, biking, horsebacking riding, camping, swimming, boating, and geocaching opportunities, all throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Unlike regional parks on the Peninsula, many parks are dog-friendly. Explore the Mancini Family's top adventures in the outdoors! Read more here >

Oakland Museum of California:    Website    Location    Hours    Admission: $15.95/adults, $6.95/youth

Explore the large, interactive, and well-designed exhibit galleries on California's history, nature, and art, in addition to changing exhibits. Located in downtown Oakland, the museum educates visitors on a variety of topics, often making visitors want to learn more about certain time periods or areas of California. This is not to be missed! Bonus: Ride transit to the Oakland Museum of California! Drive or ride Caltrain to the Millbrae Station, and then ride BART under the bay to the Lake Merritt station, just one block from the museum. Click here for BART schedules >

Subpar Miniature Golf:    Website    Location    Hours    Admission: $9/adults, $7.50/youth

Take a tour of the Bay Area in 18 holes! This miniature golf course, with locations in both downtown Alameda and a newly opened property at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, features Bay Area landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and the windmills over Altamont Pass. Hurry into the original Alameda location: due to issues with the lease, the Alameda location will close for good on November 19, 2018.

Dublin Heritage Park and Museums:    Website    Location    Hours    Admission: Free

Learn about Dublin's history, from the 1800's to today, inside the 1856 Murray Schoolhouse, today a museum featuring interesting exhibits. Helpful staff members can give you to a tour of the historic Kolb House, the St. Raymond Church (built in 1859), and the Dublin Pioneer Cemetery, all of which are located on-site in a quiet, peaceful part of Dublin.

Transit Things to Do

Other Things to Do

Click each icon for more information

 

South Bay

History Park

Located in South San Jose on a former orchard, History Park is a full-scale replica of life in historic Santa Clara Valley. Complete with 32 original and reproduced homes and buildings, a running trolley, an antique ice cream parlor, and more, visiting History Park is an unforgettable and not-to-be-missed trip back in time!

 

Website: www.historysanjose.org/wp/plan-your-visit/history-park/
Phone Number: (408) 287-2290

Admission: Free

Location: Inside Kelley Park near Happy Hollow Park & Zoo; 635 Phelan Avenue, San Jose

Hours: Grounds open daily; click here for building hours

Visitors Tip: More information, including a virtual tour inside buildings through Google Street View, can be found here. Also, make this a fun transit day by riding public transportation down to the park (details here). Alternatively, you can play disc golf at the adjacent course inside Kelley Park.

Moffett Field Historical Society Museum

Organized by different topics involving the army, NASA, airplanes, and more, the Moffett Field Historical Society Museum includes interesting displays, good photograph spots, and docents who are well-trained at answering questions. As a bonus, the museum is located in Moffett Field, adjacent to the big "Hangar One" seen from Highway 101.

 

Website: www.moffettfieldmuseum.org
Phone Number: 
(650) 964-4024

Admission: $8/adults, $3/youth, Bonus: Click here for discounted admission!

Location: Inside Moffett Field (follow signs from Moffett Boulevard entrance); 500 Severyns Avenue, Mountain View

Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

Visitors Tip: If you're curious to learn more about Moffett Field, plan to stop at the Ames Visitor Center, a self-guided museum open daily except Monday. More details can be found here.

Wings of History Museum

This large museum located on the grounds of the South County/San Martin Airport has numerous aviation-related artifacts, including over 25 airplanes on display, models, aircraft engines, and unique displays on famous aviation figures and World War I and II. There's even an exact replica of the Wright Flyer to see at the museum.

 

Website: www.wingsofhistory.org
Phone Number: (408) 683-2290

Donation: $7/adults, $5/youth

Location: San Martin "South County" Airport; 12777 Murphy Avenue, San Martin

Hours: Tuesday–Thursday, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, 11:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.

Visitors Tip: The museum is located adjacent to the airport you see when you're driving to Los Angeles and Disneyland, so consider stopping here for a quick 1-hour-visit to break up the trip and stretch your legs.

Other Things to Do

Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum:    Website    Location    Hours    Admission: Free

Housed in a near replica of the home of one of the area's first settlers, the Murphy family, ​the museum includes exhibits related to Sunnyvale history from the 1800's to today. Countless rooms are filled intriguing artifacts and displays, including a 360° mural and a changing exhibit upstairs.

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum:    Website    Location    Hours    Admission: $9/adults, $7/youth (with Student ID)

Home to the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts on display in western North America, the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum is a unique, fascinating museum with exhibits on daily life, religion, the after life, and more, an underground tomb, and an outdoor labyrinth and garden. Free tours offer visitors a more in-depth look at related topics, from mummification to understanding hieroglyphs.

The Tech Museum:    Website    Location    Hours    Admission: $24/adults, $19/youth

Hands-on exhibits await visitors of all ages at The Tech Museum of Innovation, with displays on everything from simulating a bird's flight to an earthquake-simulator platform. With three floors of galleries, changing exhibits, and educational IMAX films, it's nearly impossible to see everything the museum has to offer in one day. Afterwards, take a stroll around pedestrian-friendly downtown San Jose.

San Jose State University's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library:    Download Information Here

This hidden gem is a modern library (built in 2003) with over 1,600,000 volumes in its collection. Marvel at 8 stories of the library, including special collections ranging from Beethoven oddities (the library has the largest collection of "Beethoven paraphernalia" outside of Europe) to California history to author John Steinbeck. But, most importantly, be sure to take a scavenger hunt around the library, looking for hidden, creative artwork by Mel Chin. What to find in the library >

The Winchester Mystery House:    Website    Location    Hours    Admission: $39-49/adults, $29/youth

Explore this unique and peculiar house, first constructed in 1884, on one of a variety of guided tours. Rumors say that Sarah Winchester, who had suffered the death of her husband and her only son within a 2-year time period, believed in ghosts, and she designed this house to confuse the spirits. As a result, there are unfinished rooms with staircases and doors leading to nowhere, making tours of the 160-room mansion very unique.

Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum:    Website    Location    Hours    Admission: Free, Suggested Donation: $2/person

Located inside the historic Casa Grande, this museum educates visitors about the nearby New Almaden Quicksilver Mine, the oldest and most productive quicksilver mine in the United States. Learn about life in the mines, the history of the house, and the lifestyle of mine workers in this museum.

Transit Things to Do

Other Things to Do

Click each icon for more information