Holidays at San Francisco Museums

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November 16, 2017

Holiday Fun at San Francisco's Many Museums

Holiday time is here in San Francisco, and the spirit of the season is in full swing. While you are here soaking up the holiday happenings, we invite you to visit our world-class museums, where a deep cultural significance and level of fun you just won’t find anywhere else in the country is on display during the holiday season.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) (151 Third St.)
San Francisco’s architectural masterpiece and world-class showcase of modern art is running several exciting exhibitions over the holiday season. From a five-decade retrospective of the works of photographer Walker Evans to the massive spiders of Louise Bourgeois, who launched her career as an artist in her 80s, a day spent inside SFMOMA will delight all ages.

Legion of Honor (100 34th Ave.)
Modeled after the actual Palace of the Legion of Honor in Paris and perched over the crashing Pacific surf in the northwest corner of the city, this museum is worth the visit if just for its raw beauty and elegance. With a special exhibit focusing on the works of Gustav Klimt and Auguste Rodin, who only met once but had profound influence on each other, this holiday season is the perfect time to visit the Legion.

de Young Museum (50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr.)
Located inside Golden Gate Park, and easily accessible on the N Judah Muni Metro train, the de Young Museum is a treasure trove of art and cultural artifacts from the Americas, Africa and Oceania. This holiday season, come check out Teotihuacan: City of Fire and Water, which dives deep into the hidden history of ancient Mexico, as well as a collection of 19th-century portraits of native Maori from New Zealand by the island country’s most prolific painter, Gottfried Lindauer.

California Academy of Sciences (55 Music Concourse Dr.)
Also located in Golden Gate Park and right across the concourse from the de Young, this world-class science museum, aquarium and planetarium is packed with entertainment for the whole family. This holiday season, the California Academy of the Sciences is putting on a polar-themed exhibit complete with indoor snow flurries, live holiday music by a big band and special presentations inside a giant snowman theater.

Exploratorium (Pier 15)
Take your holiday vacation to the heights of high tech exploration at the Exploratorium, an award-winning, hands-on children’s science museum located between Fisherman’s Wharf and the Ferry Building on San Francisco’s downtown waterfront. Aside from hosting a special exhibit on Curious Contraptions, which explores the world of miniature life-like mechanical sculptures called automata, the Exploratorium will also be opening its famous tactile dome for special after-hours visits during the holiday season.

The Walt Disney Family Museum (The Presidio)
Situated in the glorious parkland of the Presidio and served by a free shuttle from downtown, The Walt Disney Family Museum takes an inside look at the man behind the world’s favorite animated films. This holiday season, the museum hosts a special Home for the Holidays at Carolwood exhibit, an immersive seasonal display that focuses on Disney’s famous love for trains. Special screenings of Christmas with Walt Disney will also be shown during the month of December.

Aquarium of the Bay (Embarcadero and Beach Street)
With a waterfront location right on Fisherman’s Wharf, there is no better way to get up close and personal with aquatic wildlife than at the Aquarium of the Bay. Besides the newest resident of the Aquarium, Octavio the giant Pacific Octopus, the Aquarium of the Bay is hosting a special two-week Snow Days event in the river otter habitat display that will be a treat for visitors as well as the otters themselves, who love snow and like to play in it all day long.

Museum of the African Diaspora (685 Mission St.)
Located just around the corner from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and Yerba Buena Gardens in downtown San Francisco, this state-of-the-art museum is the largest of its kind in the world and showcases art and culture from around the globe as it relates to the African diaspora. Come check out En Mas and Otra Mas, two holiday time exhibits devoted to the carnaval, the first on the African roots of the Caribbean tradition and the second on San Francisco’s own carnaval celebration.

California Historical Society (678 Mission St.)
Situated within the former home of the San Francisco Builders Exchange, this historical museum offers a variety of fascinating exhibits on California history. This holiday season, Meanwhile Out West focuses on the colonization of California by the Spanish and their interaction with the hundreds of thousands of indigenous people who called the Golden State home at the time.

SFO Museum San Francisco International Airport
With exhibitions spread throughout San Francisco’s International Airport and a main gallery space and library located right next to the International terminal, this could be the first (or last) museum you check out on your visit to the city. During the holidays, the SFO Museum has several exhibitions on display, including Flying the Main Line: A History of United Airlines and Empowering Threads: The Textiles of Jolom Mayaetik, a Maya weaver from Chiapas, Mexico.

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