A Perfect Day in San Francisco’s SOMA District

Head South of Market Street and follow our path to The City’s most gleaming, modern, and unique attractions, including SFMOMA, the Salesforce Transit Park, MLK Jr. Memorial – oh, and some killer garlic fries.

By Maryann Jones Thompson


Just south of Market Street (SOMA) from San Francisco’s Financial District, lies blocks and blocks of glistening glass towers. But hidden in the skyscrapers are many treasures worth finding: museums, parks, shopping, food, and architecture.


My daughter and I have made many expeditions to SOMA for the day.  With a morning at SFMOMA, garlic fries at Super Duper, and a run under the MLK Jr. Memorial fountains at Yerba Buena Gardens, everyone found something to love!  Over the years, we fine-tuned our route and now take visitors on the path below to showcase the center of modern San Francisco.


The Perfect Day Trip to SOMA

Park! If you’re driving, we aim for the public Moscone Center Garage, which offers reasonable hourly and daily rates. 

Salesforce Park A walk around San Francisco’s version of the “High Line” is truly a must-do for locals and visitors, alike. Loop through several blocks of elevated lawns, incredible gardens, fountains, and up-close-and-personal views of the skyscrapers. There’s even a play structure for youngsters and young tech workers to climb around.


The entire park covers the new bus transit station and serves as a base to the un-missable, Salesforce Tower, the city’s tallest building that opened in 2018.  There are several entrances to the park but the most convenient is to aim for the east end of Natoma alley, just past 2nd Street, where an elevator brings visitors up to the park. 


SFMOMA In a city that is blessed with numerous world-class museums, it can be hard to choose which one to visit—especially if time is limited. But SFMOMA is the most unique and the most relevant collection for today’s art students and fans, IMHO (but I might be biased since I was a volunteer school guide there for years 😉 

Every floor is incredible but the blockbuster pieces in the permanent collection are on the second and fifth floors, displaying Matisse, Diebenkorn, Rivera, Klee, Kahlo, Warhol, Asawa, Calder, Mitchell, Kelly, Rauschenberg, and more. 

Entry to kids 18 and under is always free. If you don’t have time or interest in a lengthy visit, stop in the free areas in the main lobby on Third Street or in the new public gallery on Howard near Third to see Diego Rivera’s massive and gobsmacking, “Pan American Unity” mural. (Or hit the gift shop for some quality souvenirs 😉

MLK Jr. Memorial & Yerba Buena Gardens My kids always love racing through the gardens. The waterfalls and quotes at the MLK Jr. Memorial are a must-see, too. 

Lunch! Everyone’s hungry now, for sure! The Grove is a longtime standard for lunch fare. The basement of the Metreon has numerous options. But we like to order online from Super Duper and bring it back to eat in Yerba Buena Gardens. The burger is good and the garlic fries are great!


More Fun! There are a variety of nearby activities to round out your SOMA afternoon without moving your car 😉 


Maryann Jones Thompson – August 2021

ROAM Founder and Editor  

After a thousand years in publishing as a business journalist, ghostwriter, content strategist and market researcher, Maryann brings her experience traveling as a backpacker, businessperson, expat and mom to writing and editing for ROAM.

© ROAM Family Travel 2021 – All rights reserved

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