Maybe you’ve heard of some of these museums, but we bet you haven’t yet explored these hidden gems with your kids. These small, local museums are an easy (and cheap) way to find adventure in your own backyard. Keep in mind that many of the museums on this list are staffed by volunteers so it’s always a good idea to call ahead to confirm opening hours. Flip through the gallery to begin your adventure.

The Cable Car Barn & Powerhouse, SF

This museum makes you feel like a tourist in your own town, with an elevated viewing area to see the winding machinery for the cables as well as a sneak-peak at where the actual cables leave the barn into the streets below. It’s full of cable car history, historic photos, gears, levers, wheels, and an adorable gift shop.

Hours: Apr. 1-Sep. 20, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Oct. 1-Mar. 31, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day
Cost: Free
Ages: All Ages

1201 Mason St., San Francisco, Ca 94108 (

Photo credit:  Michelle S. via Yelp 

What’s your favorite hidden museum in the Bay Area? Let us know in the comments below! 

—Amber Guetebier