Things to do in San Francisco: The Wave Organ

The Wave Organ in San Francisco

A first time visitor to the Bay Area, depending on how many days in town, will probably want to check out famous attractions like Alcatraz, The Golden Gate Bridge and Lombard Street. However, once you have seen all of the main points of interest, it is time to check out some of the weird and random attractions that add the the allure of San Francisco.

There is a hidden gem that resonates with the music of the ocean (and provides some incredible views of the Bay). The Wave Organ is a unique & lesser-known attraction that is a must-visit for those looking to experience the city’s more unconventional side.

What is the Wave Organ?

The Wave Organ is an acoustic sculpture located along the San Francisco Bay in the Marina District. Designed by artist Peter Richards alongside sculptor George Gonzalez, it was installed in 1986 with the help of a team from The Exploratorium.

How Does It Work?

It is essentially a collection of PVC pipes & concrete that extends into the San Francisco Bay. The waves of the bay interact with the pipes, creating a “symphony” of natural sounds that vary with the tide’s movement. It might not be a beautiful noise (the sounds range from gentle gurgles to haunting echoes) but the concept makes it worth checking out.

Where is the Wave Organ?

The Wave Organ is located at the end of a jetty in the Marina District. To find it, head to the end of Yacht Road at the Marina Green, and follow the path that leads to the jetty. The journey to the organ is a pleasant walk with beautiful views of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. If you are heading over in an Uber or need an address for your car’s navigation, simply use St. Francis Yacht Club address (99 Yacht Rd, San Francisco, CA 94123)

Here’s why it’s worth a visit:

Unique Attraction: It’s not every day you get to experience an instrument played by the sea itself.

Stunning Views: The location offers breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Make sure to bring your camera (or make sure your phone is charged) to grab some great vacation photos for the ‘gram.

Tranquil Escape: Away from the city’s hustle and bustle, the Wave Organ provides a serene environment to unwind, however it’s only a short walk to the bars and restaurants on Chestnut Street in the Marina.

Tips for the Best Experience

Best Time to Visit: The Wave Organ sounds best at high tide. Check tide schedules before your visit to ensure the best auditory experience.
Accessibility: The walk to the Wave Organ is relatively easy, but the terrain near the organ can be uneven.
No Facilities: There are no restrooms or cafes nearby, so plan accordingly.
Set Your Expectations: The Wave Organ is definitely cool, however the sounds aren’t really that exciting.

The Wave Organ
83 Marina Green Dr
San Francisco, CA 94123