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10 Museums in San Francisco

10 museums to see in San Francisco

Do you seek history or art when visiting a city? There are several great museums in San Francisco you should consider seeing on your next trip.

Whether you are planning a visit San Francisco, or if you live here, this list is for you.  In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in San Francisco, we’ve come across much information, some of which can only be gleaned when doing the actual scavenger hunt.

However, we also wanted to share some of that information with you for your visit planning. Here are recommendations for 10 museums in San Francisco to visit.

10 museums in San Francisco

  1. asian art museumAsian Art Museum
    • One of the largest Asian art museums outside Asia, its collections include artefacts from the last 6,000 years! It opened in 1966.
    • The Asian Art Museum is located across the street from San Francisco’s city hall in the Civic Center neighbourhood.
  2. The Cable Car Museum
    • The Cable Car Museum stands in the Washington-Mason powerhouse and car barn on Nob Hill.  It overlooks the engines and wheels that pull the cables for San Francisco’s famous trams. Take a gander at the history of the cable car here.
  3. California Academy of Sciences
    • The California Academy of Sciences is home to an aquarium, planetarium and a natural history museum. It is located within the Golden Gate Park. Entry starts at $13.
  4. de Young Museum
    • The de Young Museum stands within Golden Gate Park, across the music concourse from the California Academy of Sciences. It showcases American art from the 17th through the 21st century. These include modern and contemporary art, photography, textiles and consumes.
    • Admittance starts at $6.
  5. The Exploratorium
    • The Exploratorium, located on Pier 15 on the Embarcadero, is a hands-on science museum for all ages. Over 600 hands-on exhibits can be seen and enjoyed here. As well, enjoy gazing at the city skyline and the bay from the Bay Observatory.
  6. Maritime MuseumMaritime Museum
    • The Maritime Museum appropriate stands in the Aquatic Park Bathhouse Building. Correspondingly, the structure looks like an old white ocean liner. In the centre of the park, this art deco structure sits across the street from Ghirardelli Square.
    • Here you will find 35,000 items on display about the local maritime tradition around San Francisco.
  7. Palace of Fine Arts
    • The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco is the last remaining structure built for the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. This pink and beige stone building with arcade sits next to a pond. It is near the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge on the north side of San Francisco.
    • In light of its history and architecture, it now figures prominently on the National Register of Historic Places.
  8. San Francisco Art InstituteSan Francisco Art Institute
    • Art Institute, founded in 1971, is open most of the time during the day. Enter the courtyard, on your left, will be the Diego Revera room.  Proceed down the hall east until you get to the veranda (Zellerbach Quad). It overlooks North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower, Alcatraz Island and other sights.
    • Take note of the beautifully sculpted entrance to the Art Institute.
  9. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
    • SFMOMA intended to be the 1st modern art museum on the west coast of the United States. Since 1935 when construction completed, renovations were undertaken across its 10 floors. It reopened eventually in 2016. As a result of this renovation, it now looks like a giant white meringue. Snohetta designed SFMOMA.
  10. Walt Disney Family Museum
    • The Walt Disney Family Museum is located within the Presidio grounds. It will immerse you in the life of Walt Disney, the man behind countless Oscar-winning and groundbreaking animated films. Entry starts at $13.

In summary, we invite you to try our San Francisco Tourist Scavenger Hunt. All in all, this 2-hour self-guided walking tour takes you through the heart of San Francisco. Also, you’ll complete challenges and discover your next destinations directly on your mobile phone (how it works).  In short, it costs $30 for your group but is currently free. Moreover, you will enjoy seeing San Francisco’s museums while learning about San Francisco’s history.

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