Back in 2013 SFMOMA closed its doors for three years to build a massive expansion of the museum. Now reopened, it has three times the original gallery size, as well as 45,000 square feet of art that’s free to the public. Don’t miss the impressive photo collection, masterworks by painters like Agnes Martin and Ellsworth Kelly, and the immersive audio tours available through the free museum app.
151 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Located in the heart of San Francisco’s Civic Center in a building that used to be the city’s main library, this museum boasts one of the most heralded collections of contemporary and ancient Asian art in America. Can’t squeeze it during the day? It’s open late on Thursday nights, until 9pm.
200 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Swaths of Fisherman’s Wharf can feel like a charmless tourist trap. But this antique arcade is a true buried treasure. Once a mainstay at the now defunct Playland at the Beach, Musée Mécanique is home to a bevy of mechanical curiosities and collectibles like the iconic Laffing Sal.
45 Sausalito – San Francisco Pier 41, San Francisco, CA 94133
This old-school movie palace has been a fixture in the neighborhood since 1922. The grand interior and signature pre-show organ music are worth the price of admission alone — but stick around for their ever-changing roster of classic films, spirited sing-alongs, and rotating film festivals.
429 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114
An independent bookstore, gathering place, and cultural landmark, City Lights made a name for itself decades back by publishing some of the last century’s most influential poetry — including Allen Ginsberg’s seminal Howl and Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems. Browse the bookshelves and take your spoils to a tiny table at the bar next door — Vesuvio Cafe — for the perfect North Beach hang.
261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
Mural arts have a longstanding history in the Mission District, a historically Latinx neighborhood heavily impacted by the city’s current affordable housing crisis. Balmy Alley is a city block packed with public art that engages with current social issues on both a local and global level. Guided mural walks are offered by a nearby nonprofit Precita Eyes every weekend.
50 Balmy St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Smack dab in the middle of Golden Gate Park, the de Young is just as fun to get to as it is to wander around. Don’t leave without taking the elevator to the top of the museum’s observation tower for some of the best views of the city.
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118
Golden Gate Park
Occupying the space of a former gay bathhouse in the city’s SOMA district, this nightclub brings to its stage local musicians, famous drag stars, cabaret theater, DJ sets and more. One of the few spots in the city you can stay out till past 2 am.
298 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
To get to know San Francisco’s robust community of makers and artisans, head to this DIY workshop space in the city’s Western Addition neighborhood. Woodworking, macrame, floral design, block printing and metalsmithing are just some of the many classes offered.
1798 McAllister St, San Francisco, CA 94115
SFJazz’s diverse offerings and intimate concert hall are just some of the reason’s Bay Area residents have been flocking to the center’s new digs in Mid-Market. Food, murals, educational programs and of course music all blend together in the center’s encompassing building.
201 Franklin St, San Francisco, CA 94102
This stunning exhibition space, located on the Embarcadero’s waterfront in the shadow of the Bay Bridge, is home to the biggest photography space in the country. And better yet, it’s completely free. Make sure to make reservations on their website way in advance, as limited spots for entry fill up fast.
24 Pier, San Francisco, CA 94105
If the wafting scent of freshly made cookies isn’t enough to entice you inside this pint-sized factory, tucked away in an alley in Chinatown, stay to bare witness to the expert folding at the hands of the factory’s longtime employees. A peek inside is free, and photographs will only cost you 50 cents.
261 12th St, Oakland, CA 94607
Like Minnesota Street Project, the Museum of Craft and Design lies in San Francisco’s Dogpatch district. Admire the building’s industrial settings, lounge in the museum’s outdoor parklet, and spend sometime browsing its impressive gift shop.
2569 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Sprawling over three warehouses in San Francisco’s waterside Dogpatch district, this arts non-profit and exhibition space is committed to building and maintaining a creative community within the city. Playing host to events like SF’s art book fair and eleven permanent galleries, Minnesota Street Project is an art destination not to be missed.
1275 Minnesota St, San Francisco, CA 94107