San Francisco Cable Car (credit: Randy Yagi)
When people think of the term “only in San Francisco,” the first things that might come to mind are the Golden Gate Bridge or Alcatraz Island. But in reality, there are several other things across the Bay Area that don’t exist anywhere else in the U.S., from endangered species like the saltwater harvest mouse to the one and only Silicon Valley. Here are just five of the best things in the Bay Area that exist nowhere else in the U.S.
This iconic San Francisco attraction is the only manually operated cable car system in the entire world. Only three routes continue to operate from its peak of 23 routes a few years after launching in 1873. However, the cable cars are more popular than ever, transporting seven million passengers annually to such popular places like Chinatown, Nob Hill and Fisherman’s Wharf. Operated by San Francisco Muni, the cable cars were named the first moving National Historic Landmark in 1964, followed only by the historic St. Charles Streetcar in New Orleans in 2014.
San Jose State University
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192
Devoted to the celebrated music composer Ludwig van Beethoven, the Beethoven Center holds thousands of original manuscripts, complete first editions of the composer’s music, rare books and unique artifacts like the Guevara Lock of Beethoven’s Hair. Also on display is a remarkable collection of historical keyboards from the Classical Period, including a harpsichord and clavichord.
Charles M. Schulz Museum
2301 Hardies Lane
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
A resident of this property in Santa Rosa for the last 30 years of his life, Charles Schulz is considered one of the most influential cartoonists, and at the height of his career, his Peanuts comic strip was published in 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries. The family friendly museum holds thousands of fascinating artifacts, such as his original comic strip artwork, personal photographs, artist tributes and permanent exhibitions like a recreation of his art studio complete with his desk and drawing board. Also on the property, you can find a research center to learn more about the life and career of the beloved artist, a public garden graced with Peanuts sculptures, an ice skating center, cafe and gift shop. A temporary museum devoted to Schulz and his Peanuts characters, the Snoopy Museum Tokyo, is scheduled to open on April 23.
Robert Louis Stevenson Museum
1490 Library Lane
St. Helena, CA 94574
Founded in 1969, this small museum is the only one of its kind in America, with thousands of rare Stevenson artifacts, including drafts of his timeless classics like “Treasure Island” and “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and his personal library. Robert Louis Stevenson spent many years living in the Napa Valley and spent his honeymoon with his wife Fanny in an area near Calistoga, which is now Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. Although the Writers’ Museum in his native Edinburgh has an extensive collection devoted to Stevenson, the only other museum bearing his name in the world is the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum in Apia, Samoa, not far from his final resting place at Mount Vaea.
Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
1660 Park Ave.
San Jose, CA 95191
San Jose’s Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum possesses the largest collection of Egyptian antiquities in western North America. As the world’s only museum constructed in the Ancient Egyptian architectural style, the Egyptian Museum features a grand entrance guarded by four ram sculptures on either side. The museum boasts of 4,000 artifacts in its permanent collection, including mummy exhibits, priceless sculptures, pottery and a stunning replica of the sarcophagus of King Tutankhamun. Founded by the Rosicrucian Order AMOC, the museum also features one of the oldest planetariums in the country.
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he received a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com