Make sure to take advantage of the rich arts and culture scene when you visit San Francisco. Just follow this simple guide and make your trip extra special.

young couple checking out art in a gallery

Arts and Culture in San Francisco

San Francisco is usually associated with steep hills and iconic cable cars. When planning travel to the City by the Bay, travelers often choose what restaurants they will enjoy and may consider taking a day trip out to Napa Valley. However, there is a wealth of art and cultural experiences to be explored on any given day right in the city itself – if you know where to look.

de Young Museum

Founded in Golden Gate Park in 1895, the de Young Museum has always played a part in the culture scene of San Francisco. This landmark museum is gifted with art from Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Future artists and fashion lovers in particular will want to check out the exhibitions of Textile Arts, pre-Colombian artifacts, photography and Modern and Contemporary artists.

the De Young Museum in San Francisco

African American Art and Culture Center

Founded in 1989, this center exists to preserve and present culture for all of San Francisco. Located in the historic Jazz District, the 30,000 square foot space was once a multilevel furniture store. Visitors now have a theater, art galleries, dance and music studios. A schedule of performances and exhibits constantly change to bring the arts to all ages in the community.

Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

The Asian Art Museum is home to one of the most comprehensive collections of Asian Art in the world. There are over 18,000 pieces in their collection, with everything from contemporary collections to works of art thousands of years old. Past exhibitions have included Tomb Treasures from the Han Dynasty, sculpture, and Japanese ceramics.

Palace of Fine Arts Theatre

The Palace of Fine Arts was originally commissioned for the Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915. Designed by Bernard R. Maybeck, the Palace was built with a rotunda, pond, and colonnade inspired by ancient Rome. While most of the Exposition buildings were taken down after the fair, the Palace of Fine Arts was kept due its architectural beauty.

The Palace was restored and turned into a non-profit arts center in 1965. It now honors its legacy by operating as a theater for a wide range of cultural events. Music lovers will enjoy performances like “The Fab Four – Ultimate Beatles Tribute.” Younger audiences are treated to shows like a musical version of the classic tale of Aladdin.

Palace of Fine Arts Theatre

Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts

Established by local artists and the community in 1977, this cultural center promotes and preserves Latino art. Displays represent the cultural contributions of Chicano, Caribbean, South and Central Americans. Art displays are made accessible, allowing all members of the community to partake of its richness.

Are there museums that we’ve missed? Or incredible theaters in San Francisco that you’ve visited?

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