San Francisco is a mecca for artists and art-lovers. From expansive art collections to awe-inspiring planetariums and aquariums, you’ll find a variety of museums that will fascinate, educate and inspire you. Here are the best places to visit in the Bay Area:
de Young Museum
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
Explore American, Oceanian and African art, history, and culture at the de Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Named after Michael H. de Young, exposition organizing committee chair and co-founder of the San Francisco Chronicle, the museum offers a variety of interesting and fascinating exhibits.
For panoramic, 360-degree views of downtown San Francisco, Golden Gate Park, Marin Headlands, and the Bay Area, check out the Hamon Observation Tower.
General admission tickets are priced at $15 for adults. Tickets for the museum’s special exhibitions are available at an additional cost.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 3rd Street
With more than 33,000 pieces in its collection, it’s no wonder that the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is one of the largest museums for modern and contemporary art in the United States. Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keefe, and Wayne Thiebaud are just some of the artists featured in this incredible museum.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art also has a 30-foot living wall, a stunning outdoor sculpture garden and high-quality restaurants.
Tickets can be reserved online through the museum’s website.
Pier 15, The Embarcadero
The Exploratorium is a hands-on museum that offers interactive exhibits and installations on science, art, and human perception. This huge complex is filled with attractions that will captivate, educate, and entertain visitors of all ages. Some of the notable exhibits are the Shadow Box, Cloud Chamber, and Anti-Gravity Mirror.
Visitors can buy their tickets online or at the museum itself.
Asian Art Museum
200 Larkin Street
Discover Asian art, history, and culture at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco’s Civic Center neighborhood. From magnificent paintings to one-of-a-kind textiles, you’ll find more than 18,000 objects in the museum’s comprehensive collection. Current exhibits include Awaken: A Tibetan Buddhist Journey Toward Enlightenment, Lost at Sea: Art Recovered from Shipwrecks and Chang Dai-Chien: Painting from Heart to Hand.
Tickets to the Asian Art Museum can be purchased at the venue itself.
California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Drive
Located in Golden Gate Park, the California Academy of Sciences is known for being the only museum in the world to have a planetarium, aquarium, rainforest, and natural history museum. Visitors are welcome to explore the breathtaking Planetarium, interact with the different animals, and witness the beauty of the captivating Philippine Coral Reef tank. The museum even hosts sleepovers for those who want behind-the-scenes access to the museum and its exhibits.
Your ticket to the California Academy of Sciences will give you access to all four exhibits of the museum.
Legion of Honor
100 34th Avenue
Don’t miss out on seeing the impressive collection of European art, statues, and sculptures at the fascinating region of Honor museum. The museum’s architectural design, which was created by American architect George Applegarth, is inspired by the historic
Palais de la Légiond’Honneur building in Paris.
Legion of Honor’scollection includes 115,000 works on paper, detailed paintings, and artwork that dates back to 2000 BC. If you visit the museum on a Saturday, you can join and participate in activities like art-making, sketching, and gallery tours.
Tickets must be reserved online before going to the museum. On Saturdays, residents of the nine Bay Area counties have free admission.
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission Street
Art lovers will definitely be enthralled at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The multi-disciplinary museum, which is located across the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Moscone Convention Center, regularly holds fascinating exhibits, ballet shows, outdoor concerts, and musical performances.
Entrance to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is $10, with discounts for students, teachers, seniors, and library cardholders.
Cable Car Museum
1201 Mason Street
There’s no better way to learn about the iconic San Francisco cable cars than at the Cable Car Museum. Established in 1974, the museum is located in the historic San Francisco Cable Car Barn & Powerhouse and is run by Friends of the Cable Car Museum, a non-profit organization.
The Cable Car Museum features a fascinating collection of historic cable cars, interesting pictures, cable car memorabilia, and various mechanical devices. Check out the interactive subterranean walkway and watch how the cables move.
Admission to the Cable Car Museum is free of charge.
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