Looking for coffee and a show? Cafe X is the first robotic café in San Francisco. Customers place their order on an iPad, swipe their credit card, and then a robotic arm creates the drink. Yep, a robotic arm takes the place of the typical brooding barista. Customers can also order via an app and then come in to pick up. Be warned: caffeinated beverages are known to taste better when prepared by a robot—so don’t be surprised if you become a regular.
Nestled in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf is Musée Mécanique. While not exactly technologically advanced, the vintage penny arcade has everything from antique slot machines to classic arcade games. Spend the day trying your hand at pinball and claw machines, or have your fortune told by an automated clairvoyant.
As an extension of Silicon Valley, San Francisco is constantly hosting tech events. From Travel Tech Con to Wearable Technologies Conference to Tech Crunch Disrupt, there’s tons to see and learn year round.
Interested in working in technology? Dozens of new and established startups (such as Salesforce, Pinterest, AirBnB, DropBox, Yahoo!) call San Francisco and the East Bay home. While not every company will allow visitors inside their facilities, you can at least check out the massive buildings that these tech giants set up shop in. Contact one of the Bay Area’s many technology companies and ask if they offer tours of their building.
Dream of going out to lunch and not interacting with a single person? Wish, granted. With eatsa, a near-fully automated restaurant, customers simply enter their order on an iPad, swipe their credit card, and wait for their food to be dispensed into a cubby, which will light up and flash the customer’s name. Did we mention eatsa offers a variety of quinoa bowls? The future is healthy, y’all. Last but not least, eatsa’s computer remembers each order, so returning customers can view past orders or skim through suggestions based on preferences—talk about service.
Tesla test drives
It’s not uncommon to see numerous Teslas while embarking on an afternoon commute in San Francisco. The electric car company is headquartered in nearby Palo Alto, meaning lots of Bay Area dwellers have jumped on the battery-operated bandwagon. Call the San Fran showroom in advance to set up a test drive, and zip down Lombard Street’s curves in a car that would have deeply impressed Marty McFly.
Urban Safari VR Showroom
The Urban Safari Virtual Reality Showroom is unlike anything else in the city. Make an appointment to have your world turned upside down, and step inside the realm of astronauts, volcano-dwellers, and cartoon favorites. You can enter essentially any domain, but you will have to readjust to the real world after removing your headpiece.
The Exploratorium is a mind-melting way to spend the afternoon for people of all ages. The museum in San Francisco’s Embarcadero neighborhood fosters learning through hands-on exhibits and mind-blowing demonstrations. Explore the mind, optical illusions, and human anatomy among other sights and gadgets.