Need some time away from the fog? Duck into one of San Francisco’s excellent museums. Whether your interests are in history or fine art, you’ll find a museum perfect for having a relaxing afternoon.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

The most celebrated art museum in San Francisco, SFMOMA houses over 33,000 works by 20th-century and contemporary artists. Some of the biggest names in modern art, including Jackson Pollock and Clyfford Still, had their debuts here. The rest of the collection is a who’s who of the modern art world: everyone from Louise Bourgeois to Andy Warhol to Robert Rauschenberg is represented.


Plenty of science museums aspire to encourage their visitors to adopt an inquisitive approach, but few are as successful as the Exploratorium. Combining science with art and the nuances of human perception, the Exploratorium is a hands-on museum offering a broad range of interactive exhibits that cover topics like human behavior and the physics of light and sound. A good place for spending time with children and teenagers.

de Young Museum

One of SF’s foremost fine arts museums, the de Young is particularly strong in its collection of American art, which spans the past 350 years. Focus your attention on the hard-to-find Hudson River School, Ashcan School, and decorative arts pieces, as well as on the museum’s treasure trove of textiles and costumes from around the world.

Asian Art Museum

San Francisco may not be geographically located in Asia, but the Asian Art Museum nevertheless is one of the most impressive repositories of Asian Art in the world. All regions of the continent, from Central Asia to the East, are featured prominently. On the second floor of the museum is a reconstructed Japanese tea house, which is particularly worth checking out if you have a thing for fine tea.

Legion of Honor

The Legion of Honor includes a sizable range of European art, including a notable collection of Rodin sculptures. If nothing else, come to admire the architecture, which is a full-scale replica of the neoclassical French Pavilion from the 1915 International Expo.

Cable Car Museum

A beloved vestige of early public transportation in San Francisco, the cable car holds a special place in the city’s history and has its own museum to prove it. Drop in to check out examples of former cable cars, including the only extant car from the first successful cable car company. Best of all, admission is free.