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Free Monthly Museum Days

Our guide to the best free monthly museum days in the Bay Area
By - posted 1/8/2016

de-young-museum[1]Whether 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

California 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. Other free admission deals – San Francisco Free Days Spring 2016 (for SF residents only) 
– 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Asian 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

Legion 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

Yerba 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

de 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

museum of craft and design dogpatchMuseum 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

Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD)
FREE Third Thursday Evenings | 5-8 pm
The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) offers free entry during Third Thursdays in Yerba Buena. The museum is dedicated to sharing the art and stories of our common African heritage with audiences from around the world.
– 685 Mission St (at 3rd), San Francisco (Ground floor of the St. Regis)

exploratorium[1]The 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

Bank 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).

Oakland Museum of California
FREE First Sundays
Covering four city blocks in 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

Contemporary 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

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 1.08.51 PMSFMOMA: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art – CLOSED for renovations until May 14, 2016
While we don’t yet know if there will be free museum days after the re-opening, in the past every first Tuesday of the month was free at SFMOMA. Cross your fingers that the offer comes back in May!
As they prepare for their re-opening on May 14, 2016, check out their final On the Go program, or stop by the Artists Gallery or Museum Store.
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.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 1.06.01 PMBAMPFA Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive
FREE First Thursdays

BAMPFA, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, is the visual arts center of the University of California, Berkeley. Their mission is to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through art and film.
– 2155 Center Street, Berkeley – BART: Downtown Berkeley

Other Free Days

Listings updated and verified on 1/5/16


Categories: City Guide - Ongoing, Free Museum Day
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