Your Guide to San Francisco's Public Art | San Francisco Travel
“Untitled” by Jorge Pardo, 2022, Van Ness Avenue & Geary Street Boarding Platforms.
“Untitled” by Jorge Pardo, 2022, Van Ness Avenue & Geary Street Boarding Platforms. Credit: Ethan Kapla Photography, Courtesy of the San Francisco Arts Commission

Your Guide to
San Francisco's Public Art This Spring

In San Francisco, the city is our canvas. No matter which neighborhood you’re exploring, you’re bound to find some breathtaking—and free—art.

San Francisco’s ethos of innovation, spirit of creativity, and pleasant year-round climate all work together to make the city the perfect place for public art. Here are some of our favorite selections of the inspiring artwork you’ll see when you’re out and about.

Central Subway Station Artworks

The San Francisco Arts Commission collaborated with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to curate a diverse public art program that includes ten permanent and free site-specific artworks by twelve artists. They are placed inside and outside of the four new Central Subway stations in SoMa, Union Square, and Chinatown.

Chinatown-Rose Pak Station

Yangge: Dance of the Bride and Yangge: Dance of the New Year

These two large laser-cut metal artworks painted a vibrant red by Yumei Hou greet visitors, depicting a Chinese folk dance and showcasing scenes from celebrations like weddings and New Year.

Arrival (Coming 2024)

Tomie Arai's artwork depicts the neighborhood’s history and community through large-scale architectural glass images, showcasing scenes from gardens to the port of San Francisco.

A Sense of Community

This vibrant ceramic tile mural by Clare Rojas highlights diverse Silk Road textiles, symbolizing Chinatown's community.


Union Square/Market Street Station

Lucy in the Sky

Erwin Redl's illuminated installation of 500+ LED panels spans nearly 670 feet, creating a kaleidoscopic effect that visitors can pass under.

Silent Stream

Jim Campbell and Werner Klotz's stainless-steel sculpture, which hangs above Muni riders on the platform, resembles an underground creek.

Convergence: Commute Patterns

Artist team Hughen/Starkweather created a glass artwork that layers a topographic map of San Francisco with painted circles representing commute patterns.

“Lucy in the Sky” by Erwin Redl, 2021, Central Subway: Union Square Market Station
“Lucy in the Sky” by Erwin Redl, 2021, Central Subway: Union Square Market Station Credit: Ethan Kaplan Photography. Courtesy of the San Francisco Arts Commission

Yerba Buena/Moscone Station


This spiraling sculpture by Roxy Paine can be seen from blocks away, rising 102 feet despite its deceptively thin circumference. Locals still argue over what it represents. A beanstalk? A young tree? A crack in the Earth?

Arc Cycle

Catherine Wagner transformed her 1970s construction photos of The Moscone Center into large-scale granite and glass artworks that are displayed within the station.

Face C/Z

Leslie Shows's artwork features a pyrite-inspired design, symbolizing shifting values and Bay Area gold rushes.

4th & Brannan Station


This wind-activated sculpture by Moto Ohtake is mounted on a 40-foot light pole and creates varied movements through 31 rotating points, providing infinite combinations.

Downtown San Francisco

Like an open-air museum, downtown San Francisco offers art in many variations, both indoors and outdoors.

One of downtown SF's latest art additions is the Battery Bridge Mural by Talavera-Ballón. Outside 555 California Street, you’ll find the Bankers Heart sculpture (officially named Transcendence) by Masayuki Nagari.

The bronze sculptures of Douglas Tilden's Mechanics Monument commemorate industry at Market, Bush, and Battery streets. At 465 California Street, the historic Merchants Exchange Building boasts maritime murals by artist William Coulter.

In the Main Hall of the historic Mining Exchange Building at 350 Bush Street, you can view two sailboat paintings by artist Christopher Brown. Outside the building, Artificial Rock No. 149 showcases a sculpture by Zhan Wang.

At Rincon Park along the Embarcadero, you can find Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Cupid's Span, a giant bow and arrow sculpture that draws inspiration from the myth of Eros, whose arrow piercing the earth symbolizes fertility and vitality.

Cupids Bow on the Embarcadero
Cupid's Bow is a popular outdoor spot alongside the Embarcadero.

Illuminate SF

Celebrating San Francisco's creativity and innovation, Illuminate SF highlights the city's public light art with installations that are mostly accessible by public transportation and free to enjoy. Installations can be found throughout the city's many neighborhoods, and during the holiday season, Illuminate SF's Festival of Light features stunning, site-specific outdoor installations across the city that dazzle San Francisco.

Learn More

Large-scale flowers glow in multicolor lights at Entwined, an Illuminate SF exhibit.
Flower power at Illuminate SF.

San Francisco City Guides

Beginning in 1976 with librarian-led tours of City Hall, San Francisco City Guides has expanded to more than 275 volunteer ambassadors offering more than 70 tours. Several tours highlight the city's beautiful murals, like “Mission Murals”, where the wall paintings first appeared in the 1970s and soon became central to the area’s identity, and “Scandalous Murals of Rincon Center”, which showcases 27 murals by Moscow-born artist Anton Refregier that challenged the traditional, patriotic view of America in the 1950s. Other walks with an artistic focus are centered around film, history, and architecture. Advance registration is recommended, but walk-ups are welcome.

Author Lucas Mittenentzwei
Lucas Mittenentzwei

Lucas Mittenentzwei is a digital project and content consultant. Originally from Germany, he has lived in California since 2010, calling San Francisco his home for several years. Lucas started in the hospitality industry before joining Visit California in its mission to inspire the world to visit the Golden State. He is passionate about all aspects of the travel experience, but trying new restaurants (or tried-and-true classics) is at the top of his list.