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Arts & Entertainment

Play dates: Climb walls, solve mysteries, bounce around and have fun in SF

A retro arm wrestling game at Musee Mecanique at Fisherman’s Wharf. | Photo by Scott Strazzante/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Looking to mix up your weekend lineup? Check out The Standard’s guide to game time around the city. 

Putt 18 between the food trucks at Stagecoach Greens. Grab your crew for a night at Family Billiards. Down pins and beverages at Presidio Bowl. Or visit Laffing Sal and her vintage compadres at Musée Mécanique

From the sleek studios at Sandbox VR to the screaming neon at The Detour, check out the list below to find a new fun zone for your next play date.  

Guide to Fun Zones Around San Francisco


Musée Mécanique

Fisherman’s Wharf

A mainstay in SF since 1933, Musée Mécanique is an arcade that’ll interest even non-gamers. A family-owned collection of vintage arcade games rescued from Playland at the Beach, it is equal parts history lesson and game time—and a spot at Fisherman’s Wharf that’s worth the effort. 

Emporium SF

Lower Haight

Grow up, but not old! Open until 2 a.m., seven nights a week, Emporium SF caters to a more mature crowd looking for an assortment of fun. Play the arcade, pool tables, foosball, air hockey and enjoy the full bar. 

The Detour

Duboce Triangle

Never a dull moment, the Detour offers events seven nights a week. Food, music, gaming and drinks for the 21+ crowd. Late night eats include a Pan Pacific menu  Mondays through Thursdays until 11:30 p.m. and Fridays & Saturdays until 12:30 a.m. 

Players Sports Grill & Arcade

Pier 39

It’s exactly what you dream a Pier 39 arcade will be. There’s The Luau Lounge, The Club House, The Arcade and The Patio, so everyone can find a spot. 


Family Billiards

Laurel Heights

Chalk up that cue stick. Family Billiards is the real deal! It has 18 regulation Brunswick Gold Crown tables in first-rate condition and provides players with Belgian Super Aramith Balls. Check the website for the weekly tournament schedule, pricing and sign-ups.

Billiard Palacade


Billiard Palacade has a table for everyone with three Carambola, 13 Pool Tables and two bar tables. The menu features hearty apps, snacks and a variety of beers to choose from—oh, and happy hour starts at noon and ends at 6 p.m. daily. There is a tournament on Saturdays and membership is available. 


Presidio Bowl


A remnant from the Army Base, Presidio Bowl is a charming 12-lane bowling center with its own bar and grill located in the breathtaking Presidio. Loads of beer and wine options as well as a tasty variety of food items to choose from. Reservations are strongly suggested. 

Fifth Arrow

Union Square

A cocktail, dining, three-lane bowling hidden treasure in Union Square, Fifth Arrow is an “industrial-chic haunt” not to be missed. The menu features sliders, pizzas, Mexican and Italian dishes. Plus, it’s got a full bar. 

Lucky Strike

Mission Bay

Pop in before or after catching a Giants game at Oracle Park. Lucky Strike has a full bar, tasty eats, bowling and billiards. 

Mission Bowling Club


A full-service bar, restaurant and bowling club, Mission Bowling Club is open Tuesdays throughSundays. It’s also open the third Monday of every month for Queer Bowling to support the community and raise awareness. 


Mission Cliffs


Featuring a 50-foot-high lead wall, 23,000 square feet of climbing terrain and 2,000 square feet of bouldering, Mission Cliffs in the Mission has challenges for everyone from beginners to experts. Top rope climbing, bouldering, lead climbing and youth options are available. Check out the website for membership details and a calendar of events.

Martin Kreichgauer advances on a wall during a climbing session at Mission Cliffs climbing gym. | Yalonda M. James/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Movement SF


Combining expansive climbing terrain, yoga studios and fitness space, Movement (formerly Planet Granite) in the Presidio will give you a workout to remember. It features 25,000 square feet of climbing to challenge beginners all the way up to avid climbers. Check out the climbing options on the website including youth programs, private coaching, route setting and finding a partner.

Benchmark Climbing

Lower Nob Hill

With 10,000 square feet of climbing terrain and a 50-degree overhang to practice steep bouldering techniques, Benchmark Climbing is San Francisco’s newest climbing facility. It offers eight different membership options. 


The Escape Game SF


The Escape Game SF has five unique escape experiences: The Heist, a Prison Break, the Goldrush, the Playground or Special Ops: Mystery Market. In groups of 8 to10, depending on the experience, use teamwork and clues to escape. Pre-book your escape online.

Escape SF

Financial District

At Escape SF, you’ll Escape from Alcatraz, the Blind Tiger Bar, Gingerbread Cottage or King Arthur’s Legacy. Book online, where you can see all available times and costs. Booking slots will open two-weeks in advance to give all patrons a fair chance to reserve an experience.

Palace Games

Marina/Cow Hollow

“Escape to play and play to escape” at Palace Games. It offers four in-person and four remote online experiences. The in-person experiences range are designed for four to eight guests. Be sure to check each escape room experience for specific details before booking.

Pan IQ Escape Room SF


Pan IQ Escape Room SF features three mind-tingling escape experiences: Medieval Madness, Wizard Trials and The Red Wire. With groups of up to seven, you only have 60 minutes to get out! Book  Monday throughThursday and get 10% off using a special code. 


Yerba Buena Ice Skating and Bowling Center


Who knew SF had a place to ice skate and bowl?! Yerba Buena Ice Skating and Bowling Center is open to the public nearly every day and has summer camp too. Check out the website for information on ice hockey, private lessons and more.


Urban Putt


Urban Putt features a unique 14-hole indoor mini golf course paired with informal American grub and beverages in the Mission. Try your luck any day of the week except Mondays. You can make reservations for upstairs dining, but golf is on a first come first served basis. The full course takes about an hour to complete, so be sure to time your dining reservations accordingly!

Subpar Miniature Golf

Russian Hill

Located in the Ghirardelli Square Marketplace, Subpar Miniature Golf’s indoor Bay Area-themed course is the perfect crowd-pleaser for birthday parties for all ages. Enjoy hearty snacks and beverages at their Tea Square Boba and there’s an arcade where you can relax after 18 holes. Parking available in the Ghirardelli Parking structure below.

Stagecoach Greens

Mission Bay

Try for a hole in one at San Francisco’s only outdoor mini golf spot. Located in Mission Bay amidst food and drink trucks from Spark Social, Stagecoach Greens has 18 holes with a history lesson tied to each one. Be sure to check out the online interactive map with informative videos explaining every hole’s inspiration. From earthquakes to stagecoaches to the Emigrant Trail to everything in between, you’ll never experience a San Francisco history lesson quite like this one! Reservations are a must. 

Atmosphere from Stagecoach Greens in Mission Bay. | Jessica Christian/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images


Fort Miley Adventure Challenge

Point Lobos

San Francisco’s only ropes course open to the public, Fort Miley Adventure Challenge offers groups of 10 to100 people part-day or full-day adventures. Build confidence, develop teamwork and gain leadership skills while participating in close to the ground then more elevated ropes course challenges. It’s open to the public on the first Sunday of every month.


Spin San Francisco


A ping pong aficionado’s paradise, Spin San Francisco boasts 18 ping pong tables, a full kitchen and bar, outdoor patio space and a VIP room with a private bar. Make sure to book table reservations and check out the weekend packages and private event options. It’s open on Tuesday through Saturday.


House of Air


Catch some air in the Presidio at San Francisco’s own trampoline mecca, House of Air. Whether you bounce, flip or play dodgeball, you’ll be sure to break a sweat and a smile at this massive bounceable space. Buy tickets and gift cards, book an event or sign up for a special program. Refreshments at the café are available on site.


Sandbox VR

Union Square/Financial District

You have to feel it to believe it. Sandbox VR delivers a full-body virtual reality experience you won’t soon forget. Find your inner warrior as you battle aboard Davy Jones’ pirate ship, fight off space aliens in Amber Sky, blast through walking dead zombies at Dead Wood Mansion and so much more. Book advanced reservations in groups of up to 6 at a time.



Combining technology and the escape room concept, Reason aims to offer friends and companies a unique team-building experience with its sci-fi escape room challenges. Make reservations before you race against the clock.

Black Box VR

Civic Center

Black Box VR offers an immersive gym and gamified fitness experience that’s quite unique. Offering Hero Passes and Premium Hero Passes, Black Box VR gives you flexibility in how many exercise visits you get in 28 days.