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Guide to San Francisco Museums

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San Francisco Museum Guide - A to Z

Go to: San Francisco Entertainment Venues | Events and Attractions

An alphabetical directory of San Francisco museums, including a location map. Several Bay Area museums outside of San Francisco are listed at the end of the directory.

See the calendar of Free Museum Days in San Francisco, for free admission and discounts throughout the month.

For gallery shows and exhibits, see the list of San Francisco Art Galleries.

A listing of current museum exhibits is available on the San Francisco Main Event Calendar.

1. San Francisco Museum Map

Click here for the San Francisco museum map. Clicking the image on the left will not link you to the map.

This map shows the locations of San Francisco museums, from the large cluster of venues near Yerba Buena Gardens (including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) to museums farther afield such as the Legion of Honor in the Outer Richmond.

2. Asian Art Museum

Asian Art Museum in San Francico's Civic Center AreaPhoto © Ingrid Taylar

Location: Civic Center

200 Larkin Street (at Civic Center Plaza)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Telephone: (415) 581-3500
See: San Francisco Museum Map

The San Francisco Asian Art Museum is devoted exclusively to Asian art, with more than 16,000 works and covering a time span of 6,000 years. The museum offers classes and special events, such as tea ceremonies, and the museum's MATCHA -- a Thursday evening series that includes musical performances and cocktails.

FREE on the first Sunday of the month.

3. Beat Museum

Beat Museum in North Beach San Francisco© Ingrid Taylar

Location: North Beach

540 Broadway (at Columbus)
San Francisco, CA 94133
Telephone: (800) KER-OUAC
See: San Francisco Museum Map

A small, one-room museum with artifacts from the Beat era. The Beat Museum's collection includes photos, letters, a signed copy of Ginsberg's Howl, and Neal Cassady's striped referee-style shirt.

Photo © Ingrid Taylar

4. Cable Car Museum

Cable Car Museum in San Francisco© Ingrid Taylar

Location: Nob Hill - FREE

1201 Mason Street (at Washington)
San Francisco, CA 94108
Telephone: (415) 474-1887
See Museum on Map

See the actual working cables and sheaves of the San Francisco cable car system. The museum also has historic displays, information about the operation of cable cars, informational video, and gift shop. Exhibits are free.

5. California Academy of Sciences

Photo © Ingrid Taylar

The New Academy in Golden Gate Park will open in September 27, 2008, and exhibit information will be updated at that time.

Photos of New California Academy of Sciences

See location on San Francisco Museum Map and also on the Map of Golden Gate Park.

Telephone: (415) 321-8000
California Academy of Sciences Website

6. Cartoon Art Museum

Location: SoMa/South of Market

655 Mission Street?(between 3rd & New Montgomery)
San Francisco, CA 94105
Telephone: (415) CAR-TOON (227-8666)
See Museum on Map

The Cartoon Art Museum exhibits cartoon art in its various forms, and includes a permanent collection as well as rotating exhibits and special events. The museum also holds cartooning classes for kids on the weekends, as well as cartooning camps in the summer.

7. Contemporary Jewish Museum

Photo © Ingrid Taylar

This brand new location and Daniel Libeskind building opened on June 8, 2008 - across from Yerba Buena Gardens. See photos of the new Contemporary Jewish Museum as well as some images from the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

736 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Telephone: (415) 344-8800
Website: thecjm.org

See Museum Location on Map

8. de Young Museum

de Young Museum in San FranciscoPhoto © Ingrid Taylar

Location: Golden Gate Park | Inner Sunset

50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
Telehone: (415) 863-3330
See Museum on Map

The de Young re-opened in 2005 after a major renovation. The museum has an extensive American art collection, from the 17th through the 20th centuries. Exhibits also include art and artifacts from the Americas, Africa, and the Pacific, as well as rotating exhibits.

FREE on the first Tuesday of the month.

9. Exploratorium

Palace of Fine Arts and Exploratorium in  San FranciscoPhoto © Ingrid Taylar

Location: Marina

at the Palace of Fine Arts
3601 Lyon Street
?San Francisco, CA 94123
Telephone: (415) 561-0399
See Museum on Map

The Exploratorium – at the Palace of Fine Arts -- is a hands-on, interactive museum of science and arts. The diverse installations have broad appeal for both children and adults, with more than 650 permanent exhibits as well as rotating exhibits, activities, lectures, films and other special events The Exploratorium's Tactile Dome is an interactive tour through the darkness – an education in using only touch as a sensory guide.

FREE on the first Wednesday of the month.

10. Legion of Honor (California Palace of the Legion of Honor)

Thinker at the Legion of Honor - San FranciscoPhoto © Ingrid Taylar

Location: Outer Richmond

34th Avenue & Clement Street
San Francisco, CA 94121
Telephone (24 hours): (415) 863-3330
See Museum on Map

The Legion of Honor is a fine arts museum in the gorgeous location of Lands End. Renovated in the 90s, the Legion added square footage, skylights and environmental upgrades, and houses an art collection spanning the centuries – including Near East antiquities, European painting, and a Rodin sculptures (including the prominent cast of Rodin's Thinker in the Legion's courtyard). The Legion has rotating exhibits, ongoing tours and special events, and also a café.

FREE on the first Tuesday of the month.

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