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Lego Built a Mini San Francisco With 1.5 Million Bricks. Let’s Compare it to the Real City, In Photos

The LEGOLAND Bay Area Discovery Center in Milpitas, California has something amazing–Miniland San Francisco, a version of the San Francisco Bay Area constructed with 1.5 million Lego bricks.

This tiny city fills the center of the discovery center. It includes Lego duplicates of many of San Francisco’s iconic landmarks, as well as buildings in Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose and other Bay Area locales.

This is all Legos!

You need to know your Bay Area stuff in order to recognize all the buildings, though! I recently visited Lego Miniland at the Discovery Center.

Here’s a visual comparison of some of the most amazing tiny Lego buildings with their real Bay Area equivalents.

Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts is one of San Francisco’s most iconic historic sites. This remnant of a former world’s fair looks amazing in Lego form.

The Lego Palace of Fine Arts

It’s even cooler to see how Lego’s master builders duplicated the details of the real building. Note: Slide the slider back and forth to compare!

Transamerica Pyramid

The Transamerica Pyramid building has always looked a bit strange and futuristic. When celebrating its anniversary, the city joked that it was the skyline’s most futuristic building–and had been that way for 50 years!

In Miniland, the iconic building is reconstructed in legos.

Transamerica Pyramid in Legos

Here’s the real thing. Note: Slide the slider back and forth to compare!

Oracle Park

Oracle Park is the bay-side home of the San Francisco Giants, the city’s MLB team. Located right on the water, it’s one of my favorite ballparks.

In Miniland, you can take a look inside Oracle Park. The big lights even illuminate at night, lighting up the stadium.

Loving the detail in Lego Oracle Park

Here’s a comparison with the real-life ballpark. The Golden Gate Bridge isn’t actually in the background in reality, but we can imagine!

Sproul Hall

Sproul Hall is one of the major landmarks on the UC Berkeley campus. It was the starting point for many of the most impactful civil rights and other protests during the 1960s and 1970s, and is still considered a focal point for social issues today.

The Miniland version even includes college students milling about in front of the building.

Sproul Hall, complete with Lego UC students

Here’s the real building compared to the Miniland one, including some actual students!

Amazed yet? Come see Miniland for yourself.

Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is clearly San Francisco’s most iconic and recognized landmark. Lego would be remiss if they didn’t include the bridge in Miniland.

And naturally, they did! This is one of the biggest models in the display. It even includes real water.

The Golden gate Lego Bridge

Here’s the real life bridge. Lego gets the color down pretty well! Note: Slide the slider back and forth to compare!

Muir Woods

Just North of San Francisco, you’ll find one of the most stunning natural landscapes in California. Muir Woods includes millennia-old giant redwood trees. It’s absolutely worth visiting if you are coming to San Francisco.

Miniland includes the park and nearby Marin Headlands. Want to visit the real place? Here are some of our top recommended tours.

Lego Muir Woods

There are more trees in the real Muir Woods, but the Lego version is still pretty cool.

Robin Williams Tunnel

Named for famed actor and Bay Area resident Robin Williams, the Robin Williams tunnel celebrates both Williams’ life and his advocacy for the LGBTQ community.

Here’s the real thing. It isn’t as close to the Golden Gate Bridge in real life, but we aren’t complaining. Note: Slide the slider back and forth to compare!

Apple Headquarters

When Apple built its new headquarters in Silicon Valley, locals called it the “spaceship.” The massive headquarters is a giant circle with a private interior.

In the Legoland version, you’ll see staff members inside who appear to be worshiping a Lego version of an early Apple computer.

Most people see the headquarters from the side.

Here’s the real thing when it was being built.

Salesforce Tower

Salesforce tower is one of San Francisco’s newest skyscrapers. It’s also the tallest building in the city, and thus is visible for many miles around San Francisco.

The Lego version is about the same size as the other buildings in Miniland. But it’s still imposing and quite accurate to the real building.

Here’s a side by side comparison.

Chase Center

Finally, we turn to another Bay Area institution: The Golden State Warriors. The multi-championship-winning NBA team for the Bay Area recently moved to their new home in Chase Center in Mission Bay.

The Lego version is surprisingly accurate and includes a full interior complete with a jumbotron and fans.

There’s even a little basketball shooting game that kids can play.

Here’s the real-life stadium.

Miniland San Francisco is amazing! We definitely recommend checking it out at the Legoland Discovery Center Bay Area.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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