13 BEST Bay Area & San Francisco Haunted Houses [2024 Guide]

A San Francisco victorian house with a giant jack-o-lantern decoration perched on its roof, with a green street sign in the foreground that reads, "California."

Published on: August 30, 2023

TL;DR: The best San Francisco haunted house takes place at the old San Francisco Mint, which is transformed into an immersive storytelling experience by Into The Dark. Before or after the haunt, make sure to also check out their Fang Bang Vampire Bar and market stalls with odd and creepy curios.

Haunted houses in San Francisco are some of the best in the state and perhaps even the whole country. 

When I say haunted houses, I don’t just mean the Halloween-themed attractions by nationally recognized teams aiming to make you shiver for weeks to come. 

San Francisco has some seriously ghostly history lingering in its many century-old houses, buildings, and streets. 

If you like real, active ghost hunting, you’re looking in the right place! Abundant paranormal experiences are available in the Bay Area at any time of the year. 

Still, around the Halloween season, there’s a particular spook in the air, and the many ghost tours around the city amp it up a notch to ensure your ghostliest experience. 

The Bay Area loves ringing in the spooky season with all things haunted and making sure everyone can join the Halloween fun. 

I’ve divided this list into two sections based on scare level and age requirements. 

Those who want to be left shaking in their boots will get their fearful fix, and those who just want a little “Boo!” without the terror can still get a good night’s sleep. 

There are also many haunted houses and haunted attractions in the Bay Area for kids with varying degrees of spook. 

So glance at this list of San Francisco haunted attractions, and then get out there to join in the creepy fun!

San Francisco Haunted Houses: A young woman in a red polka-dot dress and a wide-brimmed black hat looks back over her shoulder in the shaded, manicured garden of a victorian house.

Get Your FREE California Travel Planner + printable checklists for 101 things to do in California!


Scary San Francisco Bay Area Haunted Houses

Winchester Mystery House – Unhinged

A young woman in a red polka-dot dress standing in a doorway inside the Winchester Mystery House and pointing at a sign reading "staircase to nowhere."

When: Select nights through October
Where: Winchester Mystery House, 545 S. Winchester Blvd, San Jose, CA
Cost: starting at $64.99

If you’re looking for a haunted house in San Jose, you don’t want to miss Unhinged at the Winchester Mansion. The historic mansion is perhaps the scariest haunted house in the SF Bay Area! 

Claiming to be the Bay Area’s most haunted house, the Winchester Mystery House offers a new annual theme. 

The seasonal interactive show brings guests a unique and terrifying experience as they wander the house’s eerie halls. 

Afterwards, head to the Spookeasy Bar to unwind with a ghoulish cocktail; they’ve got spirits poured by spirits!

Into the Dark SF: Terror Vault (21+)

When: 2023 dates TBD
Where: The San Francisco Mint, 88 5th St, San Francisco, CA
Cost: Tickets start at $55

Each Halloween, Into The Dark brings SF a fully immersive, interactive, scary experience with its annual Terror Vault show. 

The San Francisco Mint haunted house is one of the Bay Area’s most anticipated Halloween haunts and one of its best haunted houses!

Combining classical and avant-garde horror with elements of theater, immersive storytelling, audiovisual effects, and even a maze, Into The Dark transforms The Mint into your worst nightmares.

The attached Fang Bang Vampire Bar will be open to the public as the show runs into the wee hours of the night. 

This haunting bar has no cover charge, so come out and drink with the shadowy figures lurking in the bar’s corners. Just check what’s in their glasses before you join… they’re vampires, after all!

Pirates of Emerson Haunted Themed Park

When: Select dates in October
Where: Alameda County Fairgrounds, 2005 Valley Ave Gate 8, Pleasanton, CA
Cost: $40 (timed entry tickets)

**Age requirement: 16+**

The Pirates of Emerson return annually to Alameda County for this Bay Area favorite haunted Halloween tradition. 

Perhaps the most intense haunted house in Northern California, it’s sure to shake you to your core. 

Expect a sensory adventure with multiple scare zones, attractions, live characters, and practical effects that include fire and water. 

This walk-through event uses timed entry to ensure the most immersive experience for each group of brave visitors. 

If you’re in for a proper scare, the folks behind this one have been at it for over half a century– they won’t let you down!

Fear Overload Scream Park

When: Select dates in October
Where: NewPark Mall, 2086 Newpark Mall Rd, Newark, CA
Cost: starting at $19.99

**Age requirement: 12+** 

Brave visitors to the multi-attraction haunted experience, Fear Overload Scream Park, are in for exactly what the name suggests: a proper case of fear overload!

There are good reasons why this attraction is one of the scariest haunted houses in Northern California and one of the best haunted houses in San Francisco.

Two different themed scare zones filled with endless creepy characters, ghosts, and scares are waiting to haunt your dreams for the rest of your life!

Haas-Lilienthal House Mayhem Mansion

When: Select dates in October
Where: Haas-Lilienthal House, 2007 Franklin St, San Francisco, CA
Cost: starting at $15

Mayhem Mansion is the annual haunted house at the historic Haas Lilienthal House. This experience takes the “ghost tour” to a new level! 

Guests venture into the nationally celebrated cultural heritage home-turned-ghost tour attraction.

As you wander through the mansion on a guided tour, you never know who–or what– is waiting for you in the hallways. You may not want to venture off alone…did someone say ghost? 

Once thoroughly immersed in the paranormal activity throughout the mansion, head down to the Spookeasy Bar (21+) to calm your nerves with some snacks and refreshments.

Alcatraz Night Tour & Other Haunted Places

A view of Alcatraz at sunset illuminated orange against a pink sky, with the deep blue water in the foreground.

When: Ongoing with booking
Where: Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Bay, CA
Cost: Adults: $56, Kids: $33

Determined to visit the scariest places in San Francisco? You must add Alcatraz to your list! 

Alcatraz is the city’s favorite and most popular destination for folks seeking real-life ghost hunting and paranormal activity.

This former federal military prison famously held many of the most dangerous civilian prisoners, including notable names like Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly. 

Now, the prison is open to the public and offers spooky night tours that allow you to peer into the past. 

Around Halloween season, Alcatraz Island has a particularly eerie feel in the air. 

So, if you want to experience the best of all San Francisco haunted house tours, taking a night tour at one of SF’s most haunted places will be an experience you won’t forget. 

Remember that you must take the ferry and plan your trips according to ferry schedules! Transportation information is available on their website.

Grimm’s Hollow Oubliette

When: Select dates in October
Where: Easterbrook Discovery School, 4835 Doyle Rd, San Jose, CA
Cost: $12 

Oubliette is an after-hours, after-dark maze at Grimm’s Hollow. 

This attraction is an immersive haunted house that will leave you scared senseless as you search for your way out of the world of the undead. 

Don’t worry– you won’t find yourself alone in the maze at this scary version of the Grimm’s Hollow attractions. 

Prepare for the spirits and creatures of the afterlife to stand in your way to safety every chance they get. Surviving the maze will be a battle of wits to test your nerves.

Blind Scream in Santa Rosa

When: Select dates in October
Where: 98 Santa Rosa Plaza, Santa Rosa, CA
Cost: starting at $25

**Age requirement: 12+** 

If you dare to venture into the world of Blind Scream, you’re in for an experience to scare you to death.

Be warned, these folks have been terrorizing Northern California for 15 years; they know how to keep themselves on the San Francisco haunted houses map!

They say the devil himself is present in this haunted house of horrors, and you can expect a shadowy figure lurking in every corner as you make your way through the walk-in attraction. 

Costumes are also encouraged as long as they don’t include masks. Visit this haunt to test your nerves and your courage.

Family-Friendly San Francisco Bay Area Haunted Houses

Grimm’s Hollow Labyrinth

When: Select dates in October
Where: Easterbrook Discovery School, 4835 Doyle Rd, San Jose, CA
Cost: $12 

The Labyrinth is the family-friendly version of the haunted mazes at Grimm’s Hollow, and it’s sure to take you on quite a journey. (The scarier version, Oubliette, takes place after hours in the dungeon.)

“Part labyrinth, part choose your own adventure, part escape room, all MAZE,” this attraction is for those who prefer a quest in good fun over creepy things that may come out after dark. 

Bring the whole family together to journey through this one; there is only one way out!

Tricks and Treats at Great America, Santa Clara

When: Select dates through September & October
Where: California’s Great America, 4701 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA
Cost: starting at $44.99

Head to Santa Clara for the Halloween special at Great America Amusement Park. It’s lots of “spooky, not scary” fun for all ages!

Go on spooky adventures throughout the park, explore the Land Of Tricks and the Land Of Treats, ride your favorite rides, eat lots of candy, meet some friendly Halloween characters, and wear your costume!

The Haunted Garden at Camron-Stanford House

When: 2023 dates TBD
Where: The Camron-Stanford House, 1418 Lakeside Dr, Oakland, CA
Cost: $5

Over the past couple of years, the annual Halloween event in the garden at the Historic Camron-Stanford House has become a family favorite. They’re returning in 2023 with lots of spooky garden fun for everyone! 

You’ll find family-friendly haunted houses (mild scare zones) spread throughout the inside of the museum alongside a Halloween-themed exhibition. 

Outside, there are games, music, and arts and crafts. Remember to wear your costumes!

Six Flags Boo Fest

A man and woman dressed as zombies pose with their arms hanging limply in front of a gothic church set piece with sunlit trees behind it.

When: Select dates in September & October
Where: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, 1001 Fairgrounds Dr, Vallejo, CA
Cost: starting at $40

Boo Fest is Six Flag’s annual Halloween event for kids at the SF Bay Area Sig Flags location. As the theme park offers “BOO by Day, FRIGHTS by Night,” they keep the monsters at bay until later.

The younger ones can come out during the day to ride roller coasters, trick-or-treat, and get lost in the hay maze. 

But after dark, the ghosts and characters who haunt the pathways populate the park for Fright Fest, ready to scare!

Other Haunted Places In SF

A brown sign with white lettering reads "Haskell House" with a description of the house's history below it, and bushes in the background.

Are you particularly into ghost tours in real haunted places? Perhaps you’re interested in a haunted hotel or theater known for paranormal activity. 

For lots of death, spirits, and the long saga of San Francisco haunted house history, you may be interested in paying these haunted places a visit.

SF haunted places to visit include:

  • Whittier Mansion, San Francisco
  • Curran Theater, San Francisco
  • The Haskell House Fort Mason, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture
  • The Atherton Mansion, Pacific Heights, San Francisco
  • Miss Mary Lake’s School – The Queen Anne Hotel, San Francisco

Get Your FREE California Travel Planner + printable checklists for 101 things to do in California!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Taylor Neal

Taylor is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer, yoga instructor and frontline worker who spends most of her time in her van (Vannigan) winding through the coastal and mountain roads of California where she feels most at home. From navigating the realities of van-life to the fluctuations in diverse climates and landscapes, Taylor is excited to bring everything she’s learned about California to fellow wanderers seeking beauty and adventure.


Looking for more San Francisco and fall travel inspiration? Check out these related articles below!

Halloween Events in Sacramento

Halloween Events in Orange County

Los Angeles Haunted Houses

San Diego Haunted Houses

Best Ghost Tours in San Diego

Best Ghost Towns in California

Where to See Falls Colors in California

Best Things to do in San Francisco at Night

Best Things to do in San Francisco

Best Things to do in San Jose

Best Golden Gate Bridge Viewpoints

A Guide to Cable Cars in San Francisco

Things to do in Fisherman’s Wharf

Best Rooftop Bars in San Francisco

A young woman in a red polka-dot dress and a wide-brimmed black hat looks back over her shoulder in the shaded, manicured garden of a victorian house, with the text overlay, "San Francisco Haunted Houses."

Pin this image for future reference

Hi, I'm Mimi! I'm an outdoorsy Californian who has spent over 28 years immersed in the incredible natural beauty that California has to offer. My goal is to inspire others to get out and find their next adventure in California. Whether it’s escaping to an alpine lake in the Sierras, finding peace among the giant redwoods, or road tripping down the PCH, there’s always more to explore in this beautiful state.

LEARN MORE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA CENTRAL CALIFORNIA SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WINTER TRAVEL ROAD TRIPS GEAR

Leave a Comment