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May 16, 2016
Photo by Pei Ketron

8 Cultural Stops You Need to Make in the Yerba Buena Neighborhood Cultural District

When SFMOMA moved to its current South of Market location in 1995, the area was still a relatively unpopulated no-man’s land. Along with the museum eventually came a head-spinning number of hotels, retail spaces, restaurants, residential projects and cultural entities that flocked to the neighborhood and completely transformed it. Art spaces cropped up in particular abundance, making this part of town—especially the blocks stretching from Second to Fifth and Market to Harrison Streets—one of the most densely packed arts districts on the West Coast.

Now, as SFMOMA further expands its presence in the city, the neighborhood is enjoying a new wave of economic and cultural vibrancy. While you’re there, don’t miss the opportunity to check out some of SFMOMA’s most well-respected art neighbors, many of whom partnered with the museum on its ambitious "SFMOMA On the Go," off-site programming initiative during construction on the new building and still maintain close ties.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (701 Mission St.)
A favorite of the local vanguard, this multidisciplinary hub offers adventurous visual arts, performing arts and film programs with a youthful, global-minded outlook. 

Museum of the African Diaspora (685 Mission St.)
Art and stories of African-descendant cultures worldwide are the MO of this unique museum, among the few in the world dedicated to documenting the African diaspora.

Contemporary Jewish Museum (736 Mission St.)
Consistently great exhibitions that explore contemporary views on Jewish culture, history and art make this small but formidable museum a popular stop on the art circuit.

Children's Creativity Museum (221 Fourth St.)
For little art lovers, hands-on art and technology exhibits designed to nurture creativity and collaboration are here to explore.

California Historical Society (678 Mission St.)
Original exhibitions that draw on the organization’s vast archive of manuscripts and fine art illuminate the Golden State’s social, political and cultural heritage.

Crown Point Press (20 Hawthorne St.)
A respected print publisher specializing in etchings, this light-filled gallery and workshop shows works on paper by contemporary masters like Robert Bechtle, Kiki Smith and Wayne Thiebaud.

Annie Street Plaza (Annie Street off Mission between Third and New Montgomery Streets)
Catch free live music and street food temptations on any given day at this recently designated pedestrian zone and parklet just a block away from SFMOMA. 

Yerba Buena Garden Festival (Mission Street between Third and Fourth Streets)
Held from May 1 through October 30 in the beautiful, grassy park at the heart of the neighborhood, this annual outdoor arts festival offers some 75 free music, dance and theater performances.

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