Must-See Museums in San Francisco

San Francisco is famous not only for its parties and concerts, but also for its rich cultural life. Today, Travellizy will tell you which museums are worth visiting in a city that links together the culture and mentality of the West and the East of the United States.


De Young Memorial Museum

The collections and exhibitions of this museum mainly provide a lively dialogue between American society, its perspective and culture. Temporary exhibitions change very often and quickly, which allows visitors to get acquainted with the freshest opinions of artists, sculptors about events taking place in the world and in the country. The expositions of the classics of the visual genre are also very popular.



The museum's unique cultural event is the annual flower festival named Bouquets to Art. Each bouquet presented by the master florists is inspired by a piece of art from the museum's collection.



Visitors seek to closely compare the original and its floral version. The world's best florists consider it an honor to take part in this celebration of beauty and fragrance.



  • Location: De Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, Golden Gate Park
  • Website:


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

This museum is famous for its blockbuster exhibitions: a rich history and equally rich sponsors allow it to attract the most popular and widely advertised exhibitions to the museum.



The history of the museum dates back to 1935 and is the first museum dedicated to contemporary art on the West Coast of the United States. It has six floors, a permanent collection of 33,000 items, two gift shops, educational events - join the world of art in a way that suits you best.


  • Location: SFMOMA, 151 Third Street, San Francisco
  • Website:


California Palace of the Legion of Honor Museum

This museum is always mentioned in tandem with De Young: they have the same roots, and by purchasing a ticket for one, you can visit the second for free. In general, they are one large museum complex of fine arts. Here, you can see the most famous works of art by the masters of the United States. It will be interesting to come here also for those who are interested in the history of America and Europe.



The exhibitions are very diverse and do not have any particular focus. European paintings, art of the ancient Mediterranean, Frida Kahlo or Picasso: whatever you choose, a visit to the museum will allow you to learn more about the chosen period of history and culture.




Asian Art Museum

This is the largest museum in the United States containing exclusively works from Asian countries. The influence and importance of migrants from this region cannot be overemphasized. San Francisco and Bay Area are home to millions of people from China, Vietnam, Japan and other Asian countries.

In its permanent collection, the museum has collected more than 18,000 works of art, which are also available online. About 2000 exhibits are available to visitors In the galleries of the building.



In an art boutique near the museum, many unique jewelry, decorative art objects, reproductions and souvenirs are on sale.



  • Location: 200 Larkin St, San Francisco
  • Website:


Musee Mecanique

If quiet galleries of paintings and sculptures don't seem like a good way to spend your time, check out the Musee Mecanique! You will be surprised to see dozens of vintage slot machines here. Some of them are retro arcade game machines from the middle of the 20th century, but the antique mechanisms of the late 19th century look especially exotic. Spare a couple of quarters, and the miniature wooden figure of the drunkard in the cemetery will start moving!

Almost all slot machines are in working condition, they can and should be played. The machines make so many different noises that you imagine being not in a museum, but in the middle of an amusement park.



The entrance to the museum is free, but make sure you exchange a few dollars for quarters and spend them on slot machines.



The museum is located on the legendary Fisherman's Wharf, so make sure you combine a walk along the waterfront with a visit to the museum. Even if you are not a fan of video games, you may be interested in other outstanding works of hundred-year-old engineering thought.



  • Location: Pier 45 at the end of Taylor Street, Fisherman's Wharf
  • Website:

Maritime Park Association 

If you are lucky with the weather and like sailing, take a stroll along the San Francisco piers and check out the Maritime Museum. The city is not in vain located near the ocean and the bay: the history of the region cannot be imagined without the water element. Transportation of goods, protection of state borders, scientific experiments: military and civilian ships moored along the coast will tell you everything about it.



The Marine Science Institute is the primary resource for Bay Area maritime history. Its collections include tens of thousands of publications, maps, drawings, diagrams. The history of San Francisco was created not only on the streets of the city, but also in the water area around it.



After the walk, do not forget to look into the famous Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop, which we wrote about in the article "Chocolate Factory in San Francisco" 

  • Location: 499 Jefferson St., San Francisco
  • Website:


Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum

Visiting San Francisco is always a challenge to your feelings and sensations of what is decent and right. It is a city that prides itself on supporting all sorts of sexual minorities. Just think of the famous Castro District, where loving couples of men and women in different combinations, transvestites and transsexuals stroll around at any time of the day. Not surprisingly, it is here that a small museum dedicated to vibrators was opened. You will find out that vibrators were used upon the doctor's advice to help women get rid of different types of headaches, asthma and even, oddly enough, tuberculosis. The museum curator conducts educational and entertainment tours in English. While visiting the museum, you can see a huge collection of devices.



The entrance to the museum is free, so are the tours. There is a shop at the museum where, as you might guess, you can buy a vibrator for yourself or as a gift. Also, there is a huge number of products for the choice of buyers to create the mood of lovers. The museum promotes sexual health, pleasure, and empowerment since 1977, so that museum staff can discuss issues with you that are not usually discussed with friends and family.




GLBT Historical Society Museum

If you are wondering how San Francisco became the most popular city for the LGBT community on the planet, do not be lazy to ask the direct participants about it. Friendliness and tolerance to any manifestation of sexuality are considered to be the value and mission of this city.



You will be remember a walk through the Castro District, where thousands of rainbow residents have lived and worked for decades, for its unique atmosphere. The building that houses the museum is in the heart of Castro. This is the first museum in the country that tells exclusively about the fate of gays, lesbians, transgender people. You will find here large archives, personal belongings of the city's inhabitants, which for decades have been conquering their place under the Californian sun.




Children's Creativity Museum

If you are planning to travel with your family, don't refuse the pleasure to spend a day creating with your children. The Children's Creativity Museum was made so that parents and children have fun, develop creativity, get acquainted with new ways to learn about the world and themselves.



Lots of interactive boards teach kids about animation, digital design, video and music. It is assumed that children will not look at the exhibition, but will create something with their own hands. In warm weather, the museum offers many outdoor activities.



  • Location: Yerba Buena Gardens, 221 4th St., San Francisco
  • Website:



Walt Disney Family Museum

This museum is dedicated to the creator of the legendary Walt Disney trademark. Here, fans of animated films will learn about how Walt Disney lived and worked, about his career. The first sketches, albums, Oscars - all stages of this man's life are thoroughly described in the galleries. Even the smallest visitors will not remain indifferent when seeing familiar characters. Adults will find it interesting to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of creating famous Disney movie masterpieces.



Almost a century of history of the Disney World is part of the culture of the United States. It is not in vain that it is not just an amusement park Disneyland and cartoons about Mickey Mouse, but a huge corporation that has been supplying entertainment products to the whole world for decades.



  • Location: 104 Montgomery Street in the Presidio, San Francisco
  • Website:


Oakland Museum of California

If you've walked around San Francisco enough, and you're curious about what the city looks like across the bay, go to Oakland. Cross the bridge and enter neighborhoods with more graffiti than any other city in Bay Area. The Oakland Museum of California is located downtown, and consists of three museums merged into one museum complex. You can walk here through art galleries and learn about the California Gold Rush.



In the nest building, those who wish can join the freshest cultural expositions reflecting the life of Americans.

The temporary exhibitions tell the story of the multifaceted history and cultural experiences of local people, whether they are early hip-hop performers or representatives of the ultra-radical political party Black Panthers.


  • Location: OMCA, 1000 Oak St., Oakland
  • Website:


For those travelers who are interested in military topics, it will be interesting to get acquainted with the military past of Bay Area. We wrote about museums dedicated to this topic in the report "San Francisco Bay Military History" 


San Francisco is a large city with a mixture of many cultures and traditions. Getting to know the local culture in the museums enriches the curious traveler's experience. When you're ready to take a look at some of the amazing and unique works of art in person, Travellizy's experienced team is ready to help you choose the best option.


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