Sculptures in San Francisco

Wave Organ

10,834 people have been here

The Wave Organ is a sculpture constructed on the shore of San Francisco Bay in May 1986 by the Exploratorium.

Through a series of pipes, the Wave Organ interacts with the waves of the bay and conveys their sound to listeners at several different stations. The effects produced vary depending on the level of the tide but include rumbles, gurgles, sloshes, hisses, and other more typical wave sounds. The structure incorporates stone platforms and benches where visitors may sit near the mouths of pipes, listening.

The Wave Organ is located at the end of a spit of land extending from the Golden Gate Yacht Club. The stone pieces used in its construction were salvaged from the demolition of the Laurel Hill Cemetery in San Francisco. Exploratorium artist in residence Peter Richards conceived and designed the organ, working with sculptor and mason George Gonzales.

There is a panoramic view of the city across the narrow channel into the St. Francis and Golden Gate yacht clubs, bounded on the left by the Fort Mason piers and to the right by a towering eucalyptus grove bordering Crissy Field. The park and trail to it are wheelchair accessible, with the trailhead at the Marina Green park.

The Wave Organ includes 25 PVC organ pipes and is dedicated to Frank Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer was the founding director of the Exploratorium, led the fundraising efforts for the Wave Organ, and died seven months before construction started.

See also

  • Blackpool High Tide Organ (in Blackpool, England, UK)
  • Sea organ (in Zadar, Croatia)

External links

Post a comment
Tips & Hints
Arrange By:
16 August 2011

Did you know the Wave Organ is an Exploratorium exhibit? Completed by two artists in 1986, it includes 25 organ pipes! Come at high tide when the Wave Organ sounds best. Read more below for more info.

Patience S
5 August 2015

It gets pretty windy, so bring a jacket.

19 October 2011

Come at high tide or on a full moon, and you too might hear sounds of the Flying Dutchman trying to send messages to port.

Mark Brenneman
15 August 2011

Go when it is high tide for a great tune!

18 January 2011

A really romantic spot to sit and listen to & watch the waves crashing.

9 November 2010

Being here on a high tide is definitely a must-do, but even when it's not, it's an absolutely beautiful and relatively unknown spot to tourists and locals alike, especially on a nice clear day.

E Jacob Lindstrom
30 June 2010

High Tide Times:

Đorđe Gligorijević
12 June 2016

Make sure you visit during tide (no wave concert otherwise) !

Dan Mondragón Somera

You need to enter through the parking lot and surround the bay in order to get there. Didn't hear anything, but it's a nice place to eat lunch and enjoy the view 😅

Jess L
15 March 2016

Fun for kids to climb over. Come at high tide otherwise you miss the show.

Danilo Crnogorac [SU7]

Adrian Chen
21 May 2015

Really cool lookout point! Go during high tide to get the best effect.

The Ritz-Carlton
4 November 2014

Visit the other-worldly Wave Organ, located on a jetty at the small Boat Harbor in the Marina district of San Francisco. Through a series of pipes, visitors can listen to the sounds of the Bay.

Rita L
25 October 2014

A 10 minute walk from the parking lot, walk all the way you the end and you'll see it! Doesn't make much sound when it's not high tide...

George Hayes
18 August 2014

Try to go during hightide.

Alyssa Foote
20 July 2014

My favorite place to chill out in the city. Walk or ride your bike here and enjoy the gorgeous 360 views of the San Francisco Bay.

Darren Naude
17 December 2013

Great view but the organ sucks. Doesn't really work at all.

Mishell Paulino
5 June 2013

Don't park in the parking lot closest to the yacht club - it floods @ high tide. Walk all the way to the end of the peninsula past the club to get here.

Jesse Casman
24 May 2012

Basically always breezy. Take a windbreaker or a good coat. Totally great spot for checking out Fourth of July fireworks or watching the Blue Angels during Fleet Week.

22 April 2012

This place is awwwesome. Check it out when the tide is coming in.

Load more comments

1936 San Francisco Bay Trail, San Francisco, CA 94123, USA

Get directions
Open hours
Thu Noon–5:00 PM
Fri Noon–6:00 PM
Sat 10:00 AM–8:00 PM
Sun 11:00 AM–8:00 PM
Mon 1:00 PM–6:00 PM
Tue 4:00 PM–5:00 PM

The Wave Organ on Foursquare

Wave Organ on Facebook

Hotels nearby

See all hotels See all
La Luna Inn, a C-Two Hotel

starting $104

2-Bedroom Apartment in San Francisco Cow Hollow Garden

starting $0

Surf Motel

starting $116

Hotel Del Sol, a Joie de Vivre Hotel

starting $153

Francisco Bay Inn

starting $97

Lombard Plaza Motel

starting $136

Recommended sights nearby

See all See all
Fort Mason
United States

Fort Mason, once known as San Francisco Port of Embarkation, US Army,

Palace of Fine Arts
United States

The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of San Francisco,

Ghirardelli Square
United States

Ghirardelli Square is a landmark public square with shops and

Balclutha (1886)
United States

Balclutha, also known as Star of Alaska, Pacific Queen, or Sailing

Lombard Street (San Francisco)
United States

Lombard Street is an east-west street in San Francisco, California. It

USS Pampanito (SS-383)
United States

USS Pampanito (SS-383/AGSS-383), a Шаблон:Sclass, was a United State

Haas-Lilienthal House
United States

The Haas-Lilienthal House at 2007 Franklin Street, San Francisco,

Wax Museum at Fishermans Wharf
United States

The Wax Museum at the Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, has a

Similar tourist attractions

See all See all
Cloud Gate
United States

Cloud Gate is a public sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish

Urban Light
United States

Urban Light (2008) is a large-scale assemblage sculpture by Chris

United States

The Unisphere is a 12-story high, spherical stainless steel

Chicago Picasso
United States

The Chicago Picasso (often just The Picasso) is an untitled monumental

Charging Bull
United States

Charging Bull, which is sometimes referred to as the Wall Street Bull

See all similar places