Musée Mécanique Arcade Museum: A Unique Historical Experience

musee mecanique san francisco circus band
Moveable wooden, hand painted circus band.

If you’re looking for a unique and entertaining experience in San Francisco, look no further than the free vintage and retro Musée Mécanique Arcade Museum. Located at Fisherman’s Wharf, this one-of-a-kind museum features an incredible collection of vintage arcade games, and other mechanical wonders.

musee mecanique san francisco free entranceEntrance to the Antique Coin Operated Arcade, Musée Mécanique in San Francisco.

History of Musée Mécanique

The museum was founded by Ed Zelinsky, a collector of antique arcade games and mechanical devices. Zelinsky began collecting these machines in the 1960s and 70s, and over time he amassed an impressive collection of over 300 machines. In 1972, he opened the Musée Mécanique on Pier 45, where it has been delighting visitors ever since.

musee mecanique san francisco welcome
Welcome sign to the Mechanical Museum and displays full of history.
musee mecanique san francisco arcade games
Warehouse next to San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Warf filled with vintage retro arcade machines to present day.

What to Expect

Visitors to the Musée Mécanique can expect to be transported back in time to a bygone era of carnival games and mechanical wonders. The museum features a variety of games and attractions, from vintage pinball machines to early 20th century fortune tellers.

musee mecanique san francisco steam flyer
The Steam Flyer was built by a Sacramento machinist and is one of the best vintage steam motorcycles left on display.

One of the most popular attractions at the museum is the “Laughing Sal” machine, which features a creepy-looking woman who cackles maniacally and shakes her head when a coin is inserted.

musee mecanique san francisco laughing sal
Laughing Sal, also known as the “Fat Lady” was originally located at San Francisco’s Playland at the Beach from 1940 – 1972

Other highlights include the “Laffing Sal’s Sister” machine, which features a similar figure with a different laugh, and the “Carnival” machine, which simulates a carnival midway with a variety of games and attractions.

musee mecanique san francisco wurlitzer
The Wurlitzer Military Band Organ plays the “happiest music in the world”.

In addition to the arcade games and machines, the museum also features a collection of antique music boxes and player pianos. Visitors can watch and listen as these intricate machines come to life and play classic tunes from the past.

musee mecanique san francisco dolls
The Old Time Royal Courtyard Entertainery and The Drinking Man are functional historical arcade machines located at Musée Mécanique in San Francisco.

Why visit Musée Mécanique

The Musée Mécanique Arcade Museum is a unique and entertaining destination that is sure to delight visitors of all ages. It offers a glimpse into a time when entertainment was simpler and more mechanical, and it is a fun and interactive way to experience history.

musee mecanique san francisco carnival set
Large mechanical circus with fine detail and wired to move pieces, all hand painted and beautiful.
musee mecanique san francisco circus band
Moveable wooden, hand painted circus band.

In addition to its historical significance, the museum is also a great place to spend a rainy day or to take a break from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco’s tourist hotspots. It’s a hidden gem that is often overlooked by visitors, but it is definitely worth the trip.

musee mecanique san francisco circus carousel
Hand painted circus carousel at Musée Mécanique.
musee mecanique san francisco photo circus
Lit up and handpainted detail on the mechanical circus display.
musee mecanique san francisco bimbo box
The Bimbo-Box was custom built onto their mountings in the 60’s by Germans.
musee mecanique san francisco pinball
Playable vintage pinball and other coin operated entertainment machines at Musée Mécanique in San Francisco.
musee mecanique san francisco circus
The Circus at Musée Mécanique in San Francisco.
musee mecanique san francisco barber shop
The Barber Shop “Quart” at Musée Mécanique in Fisherman’s Warf.
musee mecanique san francisco arm wrestle
Try out your strength as you arm wrestle with this vintage arcade machine.

If you’re looking for a fun and unique experience in San Francisco, be sure to visit the Musée Mécanique Arcade Museum. With its impressive collection of vintage arcade games and mechanical wonders, it’s a destination that is sure to leave you feeling entertained and inspired.

musee mecanique san francisco sailor
Laugh with the creepy “Jolly Jack”.

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon, the Musée Mécanique is a must-visit destination in San Francisco.