685 Mission Street
A new museum dedicated to the diasporan histories of people of African origin and their influence and adaptation throughout the world. This museum focuses on experiences in North America, the Caribbean, and South America. The museum’s exhibits trace the history and legacy of the slave trade, fights for freedom in the African continent and the New World, music of African influence or origin, and contemporary multicultural and multiethnic societies. $10 adult admission.
Wednesday–Sunday, 12:00 PM–4:00 PM
Boats Leave from Pier 33
Alcatraz is an island located in the San Francisco Bay, 1.5 miles offshore. Often referred to as “The Rock,” the small island early on served as a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison, and a Federal Bureau of Prisons federal prison until 1963. In 1972, Alcatraz became a national recreation area and is currently a historic site operated by the National Park Service. $26 day admission, $33 night admission.
Open daily, 9:00 AM–5:00 PM
Aquarium of the Bay
This is a public aquarium that is focused on local aquatic animals from the San Francisco Bay and neighboring waters. It has over fifty sharks from species such as Sevengill sharks, leopard sharks, soupfins, spiny dogfish, brown smoothhounds, and angel sharks. The aquarium also has skates, bat rays, and thousands of other animals including eels, flatfish, wrasse, gobies, kelpfish, pricklebacks, ronquil, sculpin, and sturgeons. $17 adult admission.
Monday–Thursday, 10:00 AM–6:00 PM
Friday–Sunday, 10:00 AM–7:00 PM
Asian Art Museum
200 Larkin Street
This museum has one of the most comprehensive collections of Asian art in the world, with approximately 17,000 works of art and artifacts from all major Asian countries and traditions, some of which are as much as 6,000 years old. Major galleries are devoted to the arts and South Asia, West Asia (including Persia), Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, China, Korea, and Japan. There are 2,500 works on display in the permanent collection. $12 adult admission.
Tuesday–Sunday, 10:00 AM–5:00 PM
Cable Car Museum
1201 Mason Street
This museum contains historical and explanatory exhibits on the San Francisco cable car system, which itself can be regarded as a working museum. It includes several examples of old cable cars, together with smaller exhibits and a shop. The museum is part of the complex that also houses the cable car power house that drives the cables and the car depot. Free admission.
Open daily, 10:00 AM–5:00 PM
California Academy of Sciences
Golden Gate Park
55 Music Concourse Drive
The California Academy of Sciences is among the largest museums of natural history in the world. The academy began in 1853 as a learned society and still carries out a large amount of original research, with exhibits and education becoming significant endeavors of the museum during the twentieth century. $30 adult admission.
Monday–Saturday, 9:30 AM–5:00 PM
Sunday, 11:00 AM–5:00 PM
California Historical Society
678 Mission Street
This is California’s official state historical society and was founded in 1871. The Society is a statewide, privately funded, nonprofit organization. It operates the North Baker Research Library, which contains a collection of manuscripts, maps, posters, printed ephemera, books, and pamphlets. The library also features works by Eadweard Muybridge and Ansel Adams. $3 adult admission.
Wednesday–Saturday, 12:00 PM–4:30 PM
Cartoon Art Museum
655 Mission Street
The Cartoon Art Museum specializes in the art of comics and cartoons. It is the only museum in the Western United States dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of all forms of cartoon art. The permanent collection features some 6,000 pieces, including original animation cels, comic book pages, and early newspaper comic strips. $7 adult admission.
Tuesday–Sunday, 11:00 AM–5:00 PM
Chinese Historical Society of America
965 Clay Street
415-391-1188 ext. 101
The Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) is the oldest and largest archive and history center documenting the Chinese American experience in the United States. Through exhibitions, publications, and educational and public programming, the Society promotes the contributions and legacy of Chinese America. $3 adult admission.
Tuesday–Friday, 12:00 PM–5:00 PM
Saturday, 12:00 PM–4:00 PM
Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission Street
The Contemporary Jewish Museum was founded in 1984 with the goal of offering contemporary perspectives on Jewish culture, history, art, and ideas. The museum doesn’t have a permanent collection; instead, it curates and hosts a broad array of exhibitions throughout the year. $10 adult admission.
Thursday, 1:00 PM–8:00 PM
Friday–Tuesday, 11:00 AM–5:00 PM
M. H. de Young Memorial Museum
Golden Gate Park
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
The M. H. de Young Memorial Museum is a fine arts museum, which received the right to display the bulk of the organization’s anthropological holdings. These include significant pre-Hispanic works from Teotihuacan and Peru, as well as indigenous tribal art from sub-Saharan Africa. The museum also showcases American art from the seventeenth through twenty-first centuries, international contemporary art, textiles, and costumes, and art from the Americas, Pacific, and Africa. $10 adult admission.
Tuesday–Sunday, 9:30 AM–5:15 PM
Friday, 9:30 AM–8:45 PM
Palace of the Fine Arts
3601 Lyon Street
The Exploratorium is a museum full of hundreds of hands-on exhibits — most of them made onsite — that mix science and art. The museum offers visitors a variety of ways — including exhibits, webcasts, websites, and events — to explore and understand the world around them. It aims to promote museums as informal education centers. $15 adult admission.
Tuesday–Sunday, 10:00 AM–5:00 PM
GLBT History Museum
4127 18th Street
Recently completed in late 2010, the GLBT Museum includes 1,600 square feet of gallery and program space. It features a debut exhibition that celebrates the San Francisco GLBT Historical Society’s twenty-fifth anniversary: “Our Vast Queer Past: Celebrating San Francisco’s GLBT History.” An inspirational object was chosen from virtually every year the Society has been acquiring collections in order to raise new questions about familiar gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender stories and evoke largely untold stories that speak eloquently about diversity. $5 adult admission.
Wednesday–Saturday, 11:00 AM–7:00 PM
Sunday, 12:00 PM–5:00 PM
Legion of Honor Museum
100 34th Avenue
The California Palace of the Legion of Honor is a fine arts museum in Lincoln Park. The name (often shortened to Legion of Honor) is used both for the museum collection and for the neoclassical building in which it is housed. It displays a collection spanning more than 6,000 years of ancient and European art and houses the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts. One of the exhibits is “Pissarro’s People,” bringing together over 100 works of art including some 50 paintings and numerous works on paper made over the course of Pissaro’s entire career. $10 adult admission.
Tuesday–Sunday, 9:30 AM–5:15 PM
Museum of Craft and Folk Art
51 Yerba Buena Lane
The Museum of Craft and Folk Art provides innovative exhibitions and educational programs that are designed to connect with and inspire diverse communities. As the only folk art museum in Northern California, the museum is known for a rich offering of focused and unique exhibitions of traditional and contemporary folk art and crafts from around the world — demonstrating how folk art, contemporary crafts, and fine art are all part of the same continuum. $5 adult admission.
Wednesday–Saturday, 11:00 AM–6:00 PM
Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street
This museum holds an internationally recognized collection of modern and contemporary art and was the first museum on the West Coast devoted solely to twentieth century art. The museum’s current collection includes over 26,000 works of painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, design, and media arts. The museum also houses a research library that contains extensive resources pertaining to modern and contemporary art, including books, periodicals, artists’ files, and lecture recordings. $18 adult admission.
Thursday, 11:00 AM–8:45 PM
Friday–Tuesday, 11:00 AM–5:45 PM
Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
175 Jefferson Street
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is a franchise founded by Robert LeRoy Ripley, which deals in bizarre events and items so strange and unusual that readers might question the claims. The franchise has grown since the first exhibit in 1933, and as of December 2010, there are thirty-two Ripley’s Believe It or Not! odditoriums around the world. Odditoriums, in the spirit of Believe It or Not! are often more than simple museums cluttered with curiosities. San Francisco’s has two floors and over 10,000 square feet filled with the strange, the unusual, and the unbelievable! $17 adult admission.
Sunday–Thursday, 10:00 AM–10:00 PM
Friday–Saturday, 10:00 AM–12:00 AM
Walt Disney Family Museum
104 Montgomery Street
415 345 6800
This museum is an American museum that features the life and legacy of Walt Disney. The lobby displays 248 awards that Disney won during his career, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and many Academy Awards. There are ten permanent galleries, ranging from the beginning of Disney’s childhood to society’s response to his death in 1966. $20 adult admission.
Wednesday–Monday, 10:00 AM–6:00 PM
145 Jefferson Street
This museum is one of San Francisco’s largest wax museums known to date and has a population of more than 250 international wax figures. There are many exhibits to witness and enjoy — the exhibits they present for the public to observe are Hall of Religions, King Tut, Chamber of Horrors, Sports, and History. In these exhibits there is a cornucopia of history to examine; for example, one of the most popular is the birth of Christ. $14 adult admission.
Monday–Friday, 10:00 AM–9:00 PM
Saturday–Sunday, 9:00 AM–11:00 PM
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission Street
This Center, which opened in 1993, is the city’s cultural facility, similar to New York’s Lincoln Center, but far more fun on the outside. The Center’s two buildings offer music, theater, dance, and visual arts programs and shows. James Stewart Polshek designed the 755-seat theater and Fumihiko Maki designed the Galleries and Arts Forum, which features three galleries and a space designed especially for dance. Cutting-edge computer art, multimedia shows, contemporary exhibitions, and performances occupy the center’s high-tech galleries. $7 adult admission.
Thursday–Saturday, 12:00 PM–8:00 PM
Sunday, 12:00 PM–6:00 PM