SAN FRANCISCO -- A new attraction was born in San Francisco --
Metreon, the Sony Entertainment Center.
Within hours of its opening this month, Metreon was packed with
thousands of tourists and local residents, all eager to experience
what promoters said is a San Francisco attraction that will rival
the city's famous cable cars, bridges and ethnic neighborhoods as a
Metreon is a futuristic complex of burnished metal and glass
that sits atop the Moscone Convention Center in the booming South
of Market area.
Inside the complex are 15 movie theaters, a Sony IMAX Theater,
eight restaurants, shopping and interactive, Disneyland-style
attractions geared to families.
Starwood's new W Hotel, the first W to be built from the ground
up, is a block away; the San Francisco Marriott is across the
street, and Union Square is three blocks north.
A Metreon spokesman said officials expect the center will
attract 5 million visitors per year, and half of those will be
tourists. "We're right on top of the convention center and a few
minutes' walk from all the major hotels," he said.
Metreon is the kind of place in which visitors can spend a few
hours or an entire day, depending on their interests, the spokesman
There are three attractions aimed at families.Where the Wild Things Are, an interactive Disneyland-style
ride, is named for a children's book by Maurice Sendak. Visitors
take a journey with the hero of Sendak's book, Max, who travels
from his bedroom into a boat that carries them to the Land of the
Wild Things.The Way Things Work, where participants encounter a comical
robot host and watch a three-screen, 3-D video presentation created
by David Macaulay, who wrote the book "The Way Things Work."The Airtight Garage involves video games using Sony technology
and the art of French graphic novelist Jean "Moebius" Giraud.
Included is Badlands, in which players enter carlike pods and
travel to an asteroid.
Most of Metreon, however, is made up of shops, movie theaters
and restaurants reflecting the ethnic diversity of San Francisco.
The shops -- some of which are unique to the center -- were the
biggest draws on opening day.
One is a huge Discovery Channel Store with hundreds of
educational and cultural exhibits and products. Another is
Microsoft's first store, where shoppers can test the latest
The most popular of the shops has been Sony's first PlayStation
flagship store, which features 30 stations for shoppers to sample
the games before they buy.
There are also stores related to the attractions: a The Way
Things Work shop, a Moebius shop and a Wild Things store. There is
no admission charge to Metreon. Each of the three family
attractions and movie theaters has its own admission fee.
Metreon officials are working with the local hotel industry to
develop packages that include visits to Metreon attractions. They
also are working with convention and meeting planners who are
interested in using Metreon facilities for events, the spokesman
For more information, call Metreon at (415) 537-3400 or visit
the Web site at www.metreon.com.