The Arts Are Open In San Francisco
In San Francisco, the arts are open—and art is everywhere. Visit our museums and arts organizations, enjoy public art outdoors, and let San Francisco inspire you.
Now that we're ready to welcome you back, it's time to decide how you want to experience San Francisco's culture on your next visit. Use this handy guide to learn which experiences are available to you and start planning today!
Of course, the first thing you should do is sign our Safe Travel Pledge to show your fellow travelers that you're committed to traveling responsibly, ensuring that others can have the same experiences you do when they're ready to travel.
San Francisco's museums hold unmatched collections of art spanning thousands of years of history, six continents, and countless styles of expression. The city's galleries give you a chance to look at the works of some of the most exciting creative minds on the planet. Read on to get acquainted with some of our legendary cultural powerhouses and learn how to plan your visit.
Home to works that span 6,000 years of Asian history, the Asian Art Museum is a true gem among San Francisco's cultural institutions. With a new expansion slated to open in 2021, there will be more room than ever before for its expansive collection. Find out how they've prepared to welcome visitors back before booking your tickets.
Hotels Near the Asian Art Museum: San Francisco Proper Hotel, Courtyard San Francisco Union Square, JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square, The Westin St. Francis San Francisco, San Francisco Marriott Union Square.
This unique studio and gallery provides space, resources, and programs that allow developmentally disabled people the chance to develop their love and talent for art. The artists of Creativity Explored have seen their work exhibited around the world, and you can see some of it here in San Francisco.
Located in beautiful Golden Gate Park, the de Young Museum houses American artworks from the 17th to 21st centuries. Global galleries of photography, costumes, and textiles highlight works from Africa and Oceania. Learn about the de Young's safety rules since reopening, then book your tickets.
This neo-classical shrine to fallen soldiers houses 4,000 years of ancient and European painting, sculpture, and furniture. Located in Lincoln Park, the Legion of Honor's incredible collection inside is matched by its unbelievable views outside. From here, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, and the Pacific Ocean at breathtaking angles. Book your tickets ahead of time.
Located in one of San Francisco's craftiest neighborhoods, the Museum of Craft & Design is dedicated to the way we make art in our world. Showcasing works done with the most traditional of tools as well as those on the cutting edge (no pun intended), the Museum of Craft & Design is sure to inspire your own creativity. Get familiar with their new rules before booking your tickets today.
The home for modern and contemporary art in San Francisco, and the first of its kind on the west coast, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art showcases boundary-breaking works in painting, sculpture, and photography. Explore all seven stories of the building, which is itself a piece of architectural wonder. Book your tickets ahead of time.
Find inspiration in the remarkable life story of Walt Disney, the man who raised animation to an art, tirelessly pursued innovation, and created a distinctly American legacy that transformed entertainment and popular culture. Located in the scenic Presidio, the museum features interactive galleries with state-of-the-art exhibits narrated in Walt’s own voice, alongside early drawings, cartoons, films, music, a spectacular model of Disneyland, and more. Book your tickets today.
The Natural World
San Francisco is one of the greenest U.S. cities, in more ways than one. That makes it the perfect place to more about the world around us.
Explore the natural world at the Academy, which houses a rainforest, an aquarium, a planetarium and more, all under one (living) roof. New rules ensure visitor safety while still allowing you to experience most of the Academy's most fascinating exhibits. Learn how to plan your visit before booking your tickets ahead of time.
Described as a mad scientist's penny arcade, a scientific funhouse, and an experimental laboratory all rolled into one, the Exploratorium is regarded as the world’s foremost interactive science museum. With more than 650 hands-on exhibits that ignite curiosity and transform the way people learn, visitors of all ages can play, observe, and discover. Get your tickets now.
A city as diverse as San Francisco offers no shortage of ways for visitors to experience its many cultures. Here are just a few of them.
The AAACC is the cultural heart of the Fillmore, a San Francisco neighborhood full of Black history. Their galleries and theaters regularly host local artists debuting new works. The AAACC is also the center of San Francisco's annual Juneteenth celebrations.
For five decades, San Francisco's Chinese Culture Center has elevated the stories of not only Chinese Americans, but all Asian Americans. The Center commissions and exhibits artwork both in its halls and in public spaces around the city.
Celebrating the history, tradition, and culture of the Jewish community, both here in San Francisco and around the world, the Contemporary Jewish Museum features rotating exhibitions of works by Jewish artists, cartoonists, filmmakers, and fashion icons. Learn about the Museum's new policies and then book your tickets.
A monument to the history of the gay rights struggle in America, the GLBT History Museum sits proudly in the Castro, San Francisco's legendary "gayborhood". You can explore its extensive archives all year round, since Pride is a permanent state of mind in San Francisco. Plan your visit now.
Museum of the Africa Diaspora (MoAD)
MoAD is a contemporary art museum affiliated with the Smithsonian that celebrates Black cultures, ignites challenging conversations, and inspires learning through the global lens of the African Diaspora.
Given new public safety guidance for gathering indoors, San Francisco's music and performance venues are announcing new concerts and shows that could make for a fun night out during your next visit.
Alonzo King LINES Ballet is a celebrated contemporary ballet company that has been guided since 1982 by the unique artistic vision of Alonzo King. LINES has collaborated with noted composers, musicians and visual artists from around the world to create performances that alter the way we look at ballet today.
"Dear San Francisco" at Club Fugazi
Club Fugazi, one of San Francisco's oldest and most iconic theaters, is now home to an all-new resident production from the acclaimed circus group, The 7 Fingers. "Dear San Francisco: A High-Flying Love Story" is an intimate, immersive experience that celebrates everything people love about San Francisco. The story is told told through original music, breathtaking choreography, and death-defying acrobatics. To purchase tickets, visit www.clubfugazi.com or call 415-273-0600.
Feinstein's at the Nikko
This intimate venue in the Hotel Nikko regularly welcomes local talents and Broadway headliners alike.
San Francisco Opera
San Francisco Opera has been thrilling audiences since 1923. The company is known for commissioning numerous world premieres, training some of opera's greatest young artists and being one of the world’s leading opera companies.
Hotels with Easy Access to San Francisco Opera: San Francisco Proper Hotel, Courtyard San Francisco Union Square, JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square, The Westin St. Francis San Francisco, San Francisco Marriott Union Square.
San Francisco Symphony
Treat yourself—and your ears—to something special with the San Francisco Symphony’s current season. Enjoy the orchestral series with Esa-Pekka Salonen, who leads live and digital projects exploring the music of Igor Stravinsky, including semi-staged performances of "Oedipus Rex" and "Symphony of Psalms", directed by Peter Sellars. And do not miss "The Matrix," directed by the Wachowskis and featuring Don Davis conducting his own score.
Hotels with Easy Access to San Francisco Symphony: San Francisco Proper Hotel, Courtyard San Francisco Union Square, JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square, The Westin St. Francis San Francisco, San Francisco Marriott Union Square.
As San Francisco has reopened, the city has renewed its commitment to art in public spaces. That's how SF Wednesdays, a program that features musicians, dancers, and more in some of the city's most popular neighborhoods, was born. You never know which performances you might catch on your next visit to Union Square or the Embarcadero.
You don't have to go indoors to see great art in San Francisco. Murals, sculpture, and light art installations can be found in every neighborhood of the city and can be enjoyed for free.
Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitor Center
Start your exploration of the Mission District's abundant outdoor murals at Precita Eyes. The staff of this community-based non-profit can give you terrific tips for a self-guided tour of neighborhood artworks and other favorite local haunts.
Murals first appeared along the Mission's Balmy Alley in the 1980s in response to human rights violations and political corruption in central America. Today, the themes of the artwork here have expanded to include gentrification and government injustice. You'll find Balmy Alley between 24th and 25th streets, and Treat and Harrison streets.
Clarion Alley is known for community and arts activities. This collection of murals reflects a variety of artistic styles and often depicts themes of social inclusiveness. More than 700 murals have been created since 1992, speaking to community concerns of social, economic, and environmental justice. You can find Clarion Alley between 17th and 18th streets, and Mission and Valencia streets.
The Women's Building
A cornerstone of the community on 18th Street, The Women's Building's entire three-story facade is covered in detailed artwork that celebrates women leaders in the fields of politics, art, science, and social justice.
Representing the first Africans stolen from their homeland and sold into slavery in 1619, these 350 ancestral sculptures by artist Dana King encircle the vacant plinth of the slaveholder Frances Scott Key in Golden Gate Park, which was partially toppled by protesters during Juneteenth 2020. This work endeavors to create a sweeping through-line from America’s original sin of slavery to our current moment of racial reckoning across America.
A former military installation, this enormous park at the northern edge of San Francisco features hiking and biking trails that include outdoor artwork. Andy Goldsworthy is a master of creating using only natural materials, and his four artworks scattered across the Presidio's grounds make for a truly fun artistic scavenger hunt.
Delight in the longest nights of the year in San Francisco. Illuminate SF is a collection of large-scale light art installations that span the city and turn our long winter evenings into bright and bold spectacles. The main event happens during the holidays, but a number of light art installations can be seen year-round. This includes the incredibly popular "Entwined", a new addition that's turned Golden Gate Park into an after-hours must-see.
Notable San Francisco Artists
These are just some of the talented local artists whose work you can see all across San Francisco during your next visit.
Amos Goldbaum is a San Francisco muralist whose work can be seen in Civic Center, Noe Valley, and many other neighborhoods. He has painted streets, vast walls and sells his clothing with many of his painting at festivals around the city.
Colette's mosaic and tile work can be seen all around San Francisco: in parks, schools, and libraries, just to name a few.
This award-winning San Francisco design studio has created, among many other public art pieces, the twisting and shimmering "Orbital", which can be found in the Mission Bay neighborhood.
Want to take a deeper dive into San Francisco's arts and culture scene? Check out sfarts.org.