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San Francisco & Bay Area Museums: What’s Open

Updated Nov. 17, 2020: A list of 50 Bay Area museums, zoos and gardens and any known reopening dates.
By - posted 11/17/2020 No Comment

LIST WILL BE UPDATED SHORTLY WITH NEW CLOSURES: Please note this list is out of date and will be updated shortly as SF moved into the Purple tier on 11/28 which requires indoor museums to shut down.

Here’s a list of all of the Bay Area museums, historical sites, zoos and gardens we could find and their current status and when they may open. Every county is moving at its own pace.

Who did we miss? Know of any museums, zoos or gardens we missed? – email us at events_crew@funcheap.com with the details and links.

Here’s our list. Please note we’ve done our best to get all the details correct, but not that details and dates may change without notice during these times of uncertainty so please contact the venue to confirm first before heading out.

UPDATES:

  • 11/28/20 – San Francisco moved into the “purple” tier today so all indoor museums in San Francisco will likely be closing down.
  • 11/17/20 – This week many counties moved into the state’s purple “Widespread” tier meaning that indoor museums must close. Affected counties are Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara Counties. Outdoor museums and zoos can remain open.  As of 11/17/20 counties still allowing indoor museums are San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo Counties.
  • 10/30/20 –  city announced that museums must stay at 25% capacity due to rising COVID cases –updated 10/3/20
  • Starting November 3rd, indoor museums, zoos and aquariums in San Francisco can increase capacity to 50%updated 10/20/20

Free Museum Days

Some museums have resumed their free museum days or are running special free days upon reopening

Updated 11/17/20 at 10:31 AM

  • Asian Art Museum – SF (Civic Center) – Open – Museum had free “First Sunday” admission sponsored by Kaiser Permanente on November 1st and we are told they will likely continue each month. Please check the museum’s calendar for updates and to reserve tickets.
  • de Young Museum – SF (Golden Gate Park) – Open
    – Through December 2021, free general admission for essential workers, who will also receive a $15 discount on tickets to special exhibitions.
    – Free Saturday general admission for all Bay Area residents
    – Free general admission for every First Tuesday .
  • Legion of Honor – SF (Lincoln Park / Outer Richmond) – Free Saturdays for Bay Area residents plus Free first Tuesdays for all. All free days are for general admission and advanced timed tickets required.
  • Conservatory of Flowers – SF (Golden Gate Park) – Open – Advanced tickets recommended but not required (tickets are not timed). Masks required. First Tuesdays of the month will be free.
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum – North Bay (Sausalito) – Open – Admission is free to Bay Area residents the first Wednesday of every other month.  Please join us for the next Free First Wednesday on 12/2. Tickets will be available in early November.
  • POSTPONED – Oakland Museum of California – East Bay (Oakland) – Due to Alameda County moving into the Purple Tier, the OMCA is no longer allowed to open on November 27th.  Scheduled to Open on 11/27 – Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) today announces it will reopen to the public on Friday, November 27, 2020 with three free community access days over the weekend through Sunday, November 29. In addition to the newly-redesigned OMCA Gardens, which will be accessible for free, the Museum’s Galleries of California Art, History, and Natural Sciences will all be open for visitors to enjoy with a reserved ticket.

Recently Opened

Updated 11/17/20 at 10:31 AM

Opening Soon

Updated 11/17/20 at 10:31 AM

San Francisco Bay Area Museums

Updated 11/12/20 at 11:40 AM

Major Museums & Cultural Institutions

  • Asian Art Museum – SF (Civic Center) – Open – Reopened October 3rd Capacity limited and timed ticketing required.
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum – North Bay (Sausalito) – Open – Outdoor spaces to general public. Indoor spaces will reopen in phases. First to reopen: Wobbleland, Art Studio and Bay Hall Advanced tickets are required. Advanced tickets required with timed ticketing system. Open Wednesday – Sunday: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission is free to Bay Area residents the first Wednesday of every other month. Please join us for the next Free First Wednesday on 12/2. Tickets will be available in early November.
  • Berkeley Art Museum – East Bay (Berkeley) – Currently Closed as of 10/15
  • California Academy of Sciences – SF (Golden Gate Park) – Open – The Academy reopens to members and donors on October 13 and the general public on October 23. Masks are required and venue limited to 25% capacity. Timed-tickets on sale for general public starting October 14th
  • California Historical Society – SF (Mission District) – Scheduled to Open on 11/18 – California Historical Society will welcome visitors back in person beginning November 18th, 2020, with members & donors only preview days on November 13th and 14th. New public hours will be Wednesday through Saturday, from 12:00 PM to 5:30 PM
  • Chabot Space & Science Center – East Bay (Oakland) – Scheduled to Open on “June 2021” – Chabot Space & Science Center plans to reopen for general admission in June 2021.
  • Contemporary Jewish Museum – SF (SoMa) – Open – The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) reopens on October 17, with Member preview days on October 15 and 16. Masks required. Hours are Thursday–Sunday, 11am–5pm, and tickets can be booked in advance.
  • de Young Museum – SF (Golden Gate Park) – Open – Museum limited to 25% capacity. Through December 2021, free general admission for essential workers, who will also receive a $15 discount on tickets to special exhibitions. Free Saturday general admission for all Bay Area residents begins September 26th. Free “First Tuesdays” for all begins in October.
  • GLBT Historical Society Museum – SF (Castro) – Open – All visits to the museum must be reserved online in advance; we are unable to accommodate walk-ins at this time. Tickets will be timed at hourly intervals, and the number of visitors will be capped at five people per hour. Daily museum attendance is limited to 25 percent of total capacity. Open Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday – 12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Adult admission is $10. Admission is free for all visitors on the first Tuesday of every month, thanks to a grant from the Bob Ross Foundation. Through the end of 2020, admission is free on Saturdays for Bay Area residents (please bring an ID card or other proof). Qualifying counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma. All visitors will also need to reserve these free tickets online in advance.
  • Lawrence Hall of Science – East Bay (Berkeley) – Scheduled to Open on “June 2021” – The Hall is closed through at least June 2021
  • Legion of Honor – SF (Lands End) – Open – The Legion of Honor reopens on October 30th with limited capacity and advanced timed tickets required ($15 adults) . Free Saturday general admission for Bay Area residents begins on October 31st. Free First Tuesdays for all resumes November 3rd. Free admission for essential workers through end of 2020. (All free days are for general admission. Special exhibition access is extra)
  • Museum of Craft and Design – SF (Dogpatch) – Open – The Museum reopens to the public on Friday, October 16. All visitors must have a timed-ticket. If capacity is not reached for that hour, walk-ins may be admitted. 10:00 AM–10:45 AM tickets are reserved for visitors who are of high-risk during Covid-19. Timed admission tickets for MCD Members, children 12+ under, EBT holders, active-duty military personnel, first-responders, and members of NARM and ROAM are $0. Open Wednesday–Saturday: 10:00 AM–5:00 PM | Sunday: 12:00 PM–5:00 PM | Closed Monday and Tuesday
  • Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) – SF (SoMa) – Currently Closed as of 10/28
  • Oakland Museum of California – East Bay (Oakland) – POSTPONEDCurrently Closed – On Monday, November 16, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statement indicating that several California counties, including Alameda County, have moved from the “Orange” Tier to the “Purple” Tier due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the state. Due to this shift, the Oakland Museum of California’s plans to reopen on November 20 to Members and November 27 to the general public will now be postponed. –  Scheduled to Open on 11/27 – Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) today announces it will reopen to the public on Friday, November 27, 2020 with three free community access days over the weekend through Sunday, November 29. OMCA Members will be welcomed back the weekend of November 20. In its initial phase, the Museum will be open to the public Friday through Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm in order to manage capacity and prioritize safety. In addition to the newly-redesigned OMCA Gardens, which will be accessible for free, the Museum’s Galleries of California Art, History, and Natural Sciences will all be open for visitors to enjoy with a reserved ticket.
  • San Jose Museum of Art – South Bay (San Jose) – Open – The Museum, Store, and el cafécito will reopen on October 30, 2020, adhering to all the guidelines established by Santa Clara County. SJMA’s new hours will be: Friday–Sunday 11am–5pm.
  • SFMOMA – SF (SoMa) – Open – SFMOMA reopened October 4th with two weeks of Free Community Days and free parking at the museum from Sunday, October 4-Sunday, October 18. Free tickets available beginning 9/25. Museum limited to 25% capacity.
  • The Exploratorium – SF (Embarcadero) – Scheduled to Open “Spring 2021” – Beginning November 5, the museum will be open Thursday through Sunday from 10am to 5:30pm, with last gallery entry at 4:15pm, and will be closed Monday through Wednesday for the remainder of the year.
  • Walt Disney Family Museum – SF (Presidio) – Open – No updates yet, but lots of engaging online content and virtual events.
  • Yerba Buena Center for the Arts – SF (SoMa) – Scheduled to Open “Early 2021” – In an update on their website on October 6th the YBCA says they plan to “open our Forum building to the public in early 2021.” Please note there is a rather confusing article on their website titled “We Are Open” – but what they mean is that they have a few outdoor art activations and are hosting local K-5 students by temporarily converting their galleries into remote learning hubs.

Smaller / Local Venues & Museums

Bay Area Zoos & Aquariums

Updated 10/28/20 at 2:38pm

  • Oakland Zoo – East Bay (Oakland) – Open – Timed tickets required. Through October 31, the Zoo will be open from 10am–6pm, with Early Entry for Members and Friends of the Wild starting at 9am. Timed tickets are available in one hour increments, with the last entry ticket being 3pm–4pm. The Zoo is open until 6pm.
  • San Francisco Zoo – SF (Lake Merced) – Open – Limited attendance to 50% of the Zoo’s capacity to maintain social distancing. Online reservations are required for all guests. Book in advance from noon today for up to the next two weeks. Parking must be pre-paid online for guest parking lot. Face coverings are required for anyone over the age of 2. Many indoor areas are closed including the South American Tropical Rainforest, Insect Zoo and Great Ape Passage.
  • Aquarium of the Bay – SF (Fisherman’s Wharf) – Open – Open 11am-6pm daily. Limited capacity, timed tickets required.
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium – Road Trip (Monterey) – Currently Closed as of 10/28
  • The Marine Mammel Center – North Bay (Sausalito) – Currently Closed as of 10/28

Bay Area Gardens

Updated 10/28/20 at 2:38pm

  • Conservatory of Flowers – SF (Golden Gate Park) – Open – Reopened on Oct. 1 at 25% capacity. Advanced tickets recommended but not required (tickets are not timed). Masks required. First Tuesdays of the month will be free. The Conservatory will also continue offering free or reduced admission through Museums for All, a program to bring free or reduced admission to San Francisco residents who receive public benefits, including Medi-Cal and CalFresh.
  • Japanese Tea Garden – SF (Golden Gate Park) – Open – Tea Garden will set up one-way pathways to avoid congestion. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with last entry at 4:30p Discount admission for SF residents. Free Hour for everyone, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am to 10am
  • Filoli Gardens – Peninsula (Woodside) – Open – The Garden, Estate trail, and historic House are open, but there is a one-way route through the garden. Social distancing and face coverings required.
  • Ruth Bancroft Garden & Nursery – East Bay (Walnut Creek) – Open – Limited entry and masks required. No docent tours currently and picnicing is not allowed.
  • San Francisco Botanical Garden – SF (Golden Gate Park) – Open – Open 7 days a week but onsite programs on hold until further notice.
  • The Gardens at Heather Farms – East Bay (Walnut Creek) – Open – Outdoor public garden areas open for visiting from sunrise to sunset, but indoor building and offices closed.
  • UC Berkeley Botanical Garden – East Bay (Berkeley) – Open – Open Daily, 12 – 5 pm. Online advanced admission tickets are required for all visitors.

What did we miss? Know of any updates? – email us at events_crew@funcheap.com with the details and links.



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