Laughing Sal.

Musee Mecanique

Field review by the editors.

San Francisco, California

The Musee Mecanique collection includes over 300 vintage and novel coin operated machines, assembled by the late Edward Galland Zelinsky. Zelinsky's son Daniel continues the tradition. It had once been part of the Cliff House, but has been moved over to the heavy tourist zone near Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39. Don't let the French name scare you off. It's American, and it's free!

Musee Mecanique entrance.

"Laughing Sal" (shown here) was a beloved resident of Playland at the Beach, a local amusement park, from 1940 to 1972. She now greets visitors from her glass case near the entrance of the Musee Mechanique. The exhibits are occasionally swapped out, but you'll probably find a good cross section of mechanical music makers, twitchy dioramas, strength and love testers, fortune tellers, photo booths and nickelodeons. We saw an animated toothpick ferris wheel made by San Quenton inmates, part of a whole toothpick carnival not currently on display.

Musee Mecanique reminded us of Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Michigan (also free). Our only complaint is that the museum appears to be unattended; visitors just wander around, read the labels, and insert quarters in the machines of their choice. A volunteer who knew and loved the machines would have kept our interest longer...

Old Time Movies.

Musee Mecanique

Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA
Pier 45, Shed A - near Fisherman's Wharf and west of the Boudin Bread tour.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

USS Pampanito Submarine MuseumUSS Pampanito Submarine Museum, San Francisco, CA - < 1 mi.
Ripley's Believe It Or Not! OdditoriumRipley's Believe It Or Not! Odditorium, San Francisco, CA - < 1 mi.
Madame TussaudsMadame Tussauds, San Francisco, CA - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Urban Putt, San Francisco, CA - 4 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in California

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in California.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

December 3, 2020

My Sights

My Sights

Map and Plan Your Own Roadside Adventure

Try My Sights

Roadside America app
Roadside Presidents app

California Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Jimmy Carter Peanut, Plains, Georgia (Nov 30-Dec 6, 2020)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Sightings. Arrives without warning. Leaves no burn marks. A free newsletter from Subscribe now! Hotel & Motel Finder

Special rates for hotels.

Book Now