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Free Monthly Museum Days

Our guide to the best free monthly museum days in the Bay Area
By - posted 1/2/2015

Free Monthly Museum DaysWhether the economy is strong or sour, most of the museums in San Francisco and the Bay Area throw their doors open once a month to allow free admission to all comers.

Generally on the first Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday of each month, these free days are often crowded, but if you arrive early you’ll stand a great chance of seeing some of the Bay Areas best museums for free.

Free Admission to San Francisco Bay Area Museums

Free Monthly Museum DaysCalifornia Academy of Sciences
FREE Sundays (only once a quarter) 
The Academy now only has a few totally free days a year – usually once a quarter on Sundays. Scheduled free dates for 2015 so far include February 22 with more dates to be announced. Other free admission deals – San Francisco Free Days Spring 2015 (for SF residents only) 
– 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Free Monthly Museum DaysAsian Art Museum
FREE First Sundays 
One of the largest museums in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian art with a collection of over 17,000 artworks spanning 6,000 years of history. Special collection surcharges may apply.
– 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco – BART: Civic Center

Free Monthly Museum DaysLegion of Honor
FREE First Tuesdays 
This exquisite Beaux-Arts building located on a perch with an unbelievable view overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge housed a collection of 4,000 years of ancient and European arts. Special exhibition surcharges may apply.
– 100 34th Ave, San Francisco

Free Monthly Museum DaysYerba Buena Center for the Arts
FREE First Tuesdays 
Multidisciplinary art center features exhibitions, performances, film/video and rotating art exhibits with a focus on contemporary and emerging artists form the Bay Area and beyond.
– 3rd and Mission, San Francisco – BART: Powell Street

Free Monthly Museum Daysde Young Museum
FREE First Tuesdays
One of the most visited art museums in the country, the de Young showcases a priceless collection of American art from the 17th through 20th centuries along with art from Central and South America and the Pacific and an impressive collection of textiles. Special exhibition fees may apply.
– 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Free Monthly Museum DaysMuseum of Craft and Design
FREE First Tuesdays
After six years in Union Square and two years of pop-ups, the Museum of Craft & Design opened up their permanent location in the Dogpatch. Rather than featuring paintings or traditional sculpture, the museum showcases other types of artwork that range from furniture, kinetic sculptures, and jewelry.
– 2569 Third Street, San Francisco

Free Monthly Museum DaysThe Exploratorium

FREE Days – Five or six times a year
The Exploratorium at Pier 15 is a museum of science, art and human perception with hundreds of interactive exhibits, many geared towards children and families. Free days typically are Groundhog Day (February 2nd), Pi Day (March 14th), Mothers Day (May), Engineering Day (Late September) and Founder’s Day (Mid October)

– Pier 15, San Francisco

Free Monthly Museum DaysBank of America Free Days
Free weekends at seven Bay Area museums for cardholders
Holders of Bank of America credit cards and debit cards get free admission to seven Bay Area museums for one weekend each month. Museums include Contemporary Jewish Museum (SF), Legion of Honor (SF), de Young Museum (SF), San Jose Museum of Art (SJ) and The Tech Museum of Innovation (SJ).

Free Monthly Museum DaysOakland Museum of California
FREE First Sundays – 11 am-5 pm
Covering four city blocks on Oakland, the museum specializes in collections of art, history and natural science to tell the story of California.
– 1000 Oak Street, Oakland – BART: Lake Merritt

Free Monthly Museum DaysContemporary Jewish Museum
FREE First Tuesdays
The Contemporary Jewish Museum engages audiences of all backgrounds through dynamic exhibitions and programs that explore contemporary perspectives on Jewish culture, history, art, and ideas. And the architecture of the Museum itself is a work of art.
– 736 Mission Street, San Francisco – BART: Montgomery Street

Free Monthly Museum DaysCLOSED UNTIL 2016 – SFMOMA: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
SFMOMA will be closed for renovations until 2016. Please stay tuned to FuncheapSF to find out about their public events in the interim, and of course, free museum days when the transformed SFMOMA opens up again. 
The SFMOMA houses the West Coast’s most comprehensive collection of 20th century art including master works by Ansel Adams, Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso, Diego Rivera and more.

Other Free Days
Free Monthly Museum Days
Autodesk Gallery (Embarcadero) – Every Wednesday & Friday
Bay Area Discovery Museum (Sausalito) – First Wednesdays
Berkeley Art Museum (Berkeley) – First Thursdays
Cartoon Art Museum (SoMa) – First Tuesdays “Pay What You Can” Day
Chinese Historical Society (Chinatown) – First Thursdays
Conservatory of Flowers (Golden Gate Park) – First Tuesdays
GLBT Museum (Castro) – First Wednesdays
Pez Museum (Burlingame) – First Thursdays
San Francisco Zoo (Outer Sunset) – Typically either first or second Wednesdays (SF residents only)
Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History (Santa Cruz) – First Fridays
SF Camerawork (SoMa) – Free admission every day

Listings updated and verified on 1/2/14


Categories: City Guide - Ongoing, Free Museum Day
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