Madame Tussauds, San Francisco

Police lineup outside a cell at Alcatraz in Madame Tussauds San Francisco.
Police lineup outside a cell at Alcatraz in Madame Tussauds San Francisco.

When I thought of wax museums, I pictured creepy mannequins of British royalty with eyes that follow you around a hushed museum space.

Well, I’m pleased to report, that Madame Tussauds San Francisco, the new San Francisco attraction at Fishermans Wharf, has completely upended

Queen Elizabeth at Madame Tussauds.
Queen Elizabeth at Madame Tussauds.

my imaginings. Though there is an obligatory cluster of royals when you first walk in.

It turned out the day I visited was Lunar New Year, a holiday for San Francisco Schools, and I four kids to entertain. I didn’t tell them where we were going. I wanted it to be a surprise. Plus I wasn’t sure how to explain it.

They were captivated before we even entered the building. A life-sized Leonardo DiCaprio greeted us at the door. The two seven-year-olds stared at him for some time before wondering aloud, “is he real?”

Inside, the space is divided into sections, some with vignettes that encourage interaction. It begins with “Spirit of San Francisco” — we meandered through the Haight where one of the boys picked up a guitar and jammed with Jimi Hendrix, while the girls begged me to take mug shots of them at Alcatraz.

Roman jams with Jimi at Madame Tussauds.
Roman jams with Jimi at Madame Tussauds.

The first figure to completely stop me in my tracks was Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg sitting barefoot and crosslegged on a chair, computer on his lap. He looked so real. I couldn’t stop staring.

This floor also included historical and political figures like Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln and President Obama in the Oval Office.

We then watched an interesting video on how the figures are made and the kids got to create wax replicas of their hands with help from a member of the staff.

Upstairs rooms are dedicated to pop music, movies and sports. A likeness of Abbey Road is set up with all four Beatles walking along. Parker had tea with Audrey Hepburn, Josie sang with Beyonce and we could barely pull the boys away from the large screen interactive football video game.

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One vignette explains the fascinating life of Madame Tussaud who escaped the guillotine during the French Revolution due to her wax modeling skills. She was employed to make death masks of the Revolution’s most infamous dead including Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Marat and Robespierre.

I had a dream...
They had a dream…

Insider Tip

Walk by the Boudin flagship location where you can view the demonstration kitchen and watch bakers make bread with a recipe nurtured since 1849. Then stop inside for clam chowder in a bread bowl, the real San Francisco treat.

145 Jefferson Street @ Mason
San Francisco, California 94133

Post and photos contributed by Lisa Dion. I was a guest of Madame Tussauds.

2 thoughts on “Madame Tussauds, San Francisco”

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