wow, thanks for all the tips! those are really good. I have never heard of most of those sites/activities, because I haven't had any reason to think too closely about San Francisco till now. I will see which ones are accessible and nearby to where I'm staying. this is a great way to start.
I go on these websites that claim to tell me things to do in the city but you can tell businesses are just paying to get a spot, or they are describing things not feasible for someone with limited time. best to just ask someone!
also I will look up that documentary, The Institute. isn't too long and reviews look positive.