The Best Local Museums in San Francisco

Local Museums in San Francisco

San Francisco is a unique city with a personality that is all its own. From the historic cable car system to the interesting personality of some of the city's most infamous residents, San Francisco has a vibe all its own. These local museums offer just a glimpse into San Francisco, its history, and the city today.
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
This venue offers contemporary visual art, performances, films, and community programs that highlight and educate the public on local, national, and international artists that are creating works in modern times.
701 Mission St., SoMa, San Francisco, CA, 94103
Walt Disney Family Museum
This museum is dedicated to the life and work of Walt Disney. It was founded by the Walt Disney Family Foundation and is overseen by Diane Disney Miller. The museum features historic photographs and other paraphernalia from Walt Disney's life as well as rotating exhibits on various animators and stylists who have worked on the Disney movies.
104 Montgomery Street, Presidio, San Francisco, CA, 94129
Planning a trip to San Francisco? You might also be interested in The Best History Museums in San Francisco and The Best Local Sites in San Francisco.
The Marine Mammal Center
Created in 1975, the Marine Mammal Center, focuses on rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing injured marine mammals. It's also a research and educational center.
2000 Bunker Road, San Francisco, California, 94965
San Francisco Museum of Craft & Design
This museum features the work of painters, textile artists, and sculptors. It's a small museum with a number of rotating exhibits.
2569 Third Street, San Francisco, CA, 94107
Randall Museum
This family-friendly museum offers a number of interesting exhibits including a STEM lab, science and ceramics studios, and several exhibit spaces. This museum is all about the kids, and there's plenty of space for the young ones to play. There's a toddler treehouse and a large electric model railroad that even has replicas of Bay Aria trains. Animal lovers will enjoy the animal exhibit which features live coyotes, foxes, reptiles and sea creatures.
199 Museum Way, San Francisco, CA, 94114
Museum of the African Diaspora
This contemporary art museum features work that highlights Black culture. The museum educates and informs visitors on the history of African culture, following through to modern times. The space is 20,000 square feet and it was created through the efforts of the former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown.
685 Mission St (at 3rd), San Francisco, CA, 94105
Musée Mécanique
This museum was created by local celebrity Edward Galland Zelinsky in 1933. It features his unique collection of antique mechanical creations including coin-operated musical instruments, antique arcade machines, and other unusual contraptions. If you bring your own coins, you can try out many of the machines as they still work.
Pier 45, Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, CA, 94133
Legion of Honor
From it's beautiful Beaux-Arts building to its impressive collection of ancient and European art, this museum is a must-see in San Francisco. The limestone, marble, and chevron wood building is a beautiful work of art and inside there is a collection of more than 800 European paintings (with 250 available to view).
Lincoln Park | 100 34th Avenue (at Clement Street), Lincoln Park, San Francisco, CA, 94121
San Francisco has plenty more to offer, so see also our other articles: Where to Rest and Find Peace and Quiet in San Francisco and Historic Buildings in San Francisco.
Exploratorium
The Exploratorium will entertain and engage kids and adults of all ages. It has a wide variety of kid-friendly, hands on exhibits that include science experiments, as well as interactive zones that incorporate touch, sight, memory, and perception. The museum is found at Pier 15 and it features exhibits that serve to educate and inform on all types of science including physics, biology, engineering and sound.
Pier 15 (Embarcadero at Green Street), San Francisco, CA, 94111
Children's Creativity Museum
This kid's museum is all about using your imagination and creativity. There's a play space where kids can just be kids. There are also labs, workshops, and studios where kids can experiment, explore, and learn. The Animation Lab lets kids create their own characters who then come to life through stop-motion filming. The Tech Lab teaches kids to program robots, and the Music Studio lets kids dress up and create their own music videos.
221 Fourth St., San Francisco, CA, 94103
Cartoon Art Museum
This unique museum is the only museum in the Western US that is dedicated exclusively to cartoon art. There are about 7,000 pieces of work here.
650 Mission Street, Union Square, SF, California, 94105
California Historical Society
The California Historical Society offers a variety of interesting exhibits at their downtown location. They also provide exhibits to a number of exhibits to other museums in the area.
678 Mission St., San Francisco, CA, 94105
California Academy of Sciences & Morrison Planetarium
The California Academy of Sciences is both a natural history museum and a research institute. It has more than 26 million specimens, making it one of the largest museums of natural history in the world. It's also California's oldest museum, dating back to 1853.

The adjoining Morrison Planetarium hosts a variety of shows and events centering around astronomy and the stars. The 75-foot dome and large theatre make for an engaging and enjoyable experience for kids and adults alike.
55 Music Concourse Drive, Inner Sunset, SF, California, 94118
Cable Car Museum
This free museum is all about the history of the cable car system in San Francisco, and is also home to the actual machinery that powers the cable cars themselves! Visitors can see historical exhibits about how the cable cars were once used much more frequently in the city, what they looked like, and how they work. It's also possible to go down under the street level to see the gear machinery, and gaze upon the large engines and wheels that move the cables.
1201 Mason Street, Nob Hill, SF, California, 94133
If you're looking for more information about San Francisco, read A Train Lover's Guide to San Francisco and An Art Lover's Guide to San Francisco.
Balclutha
Balclutha
This steel-hulled full rigged ship was built in 1886. It's a U.S. National Historic Landmark and is located at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.
Russian Hill, SF, California, 94133-1312
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
The Asian Art Museum has one of the most comprehensive Asian art collections in the world. There are over 18,000 works of art, with some works over 6,000 years old.
200 Larkin Street, Civic Center, SF, California, 94102
Built on a peninsula, San Francisco is surrounded by water. It touches the bay on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. With so much of life in the city geared towards the water, there are bound to be great beaches. From small and quiet, to larger and more popular, these are some of the best beaches in San Francisco.

San Francisco is famous for its hiking trails and trails in the surrounding national parks. The Bay Area offers plenty of opportunities for hikers and backpackers whether you're in the city or out in nature.San Francisco offers some of the best outdoor activities in the world. With beautiful weather, scenic mountains, and fantastic beaches, it's the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking, rock climbing, biking, and kayaking, to surfing, sailing, paddle boarding, and skydiving, there's something for everyone.San Francisco has some of the best museums in the country. From iconic museums like the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Asian Art Museum, to unique museums like the Cartoon Art Museum, there's something for everyone.
Interested in more travel advice for San Francisco? Check out Educational Places and Activities in San Francisco and How to Spend One Day in San Francisco.
San Francisco is a city full of history and heritage. From its iconic cable cars to its historic architecture, San Francisco has a wealth of interesting sites to explore.

San Francisco is known for being a foodie's paradise. The city is home to some of the country's best restaurants, as well as gourmet food shops, farmers markets, and food trucks. With so much to choose from, it can be hard to choose where to go. Luckily, San Francisco's food scene is diverse, so no matter what you're in the mood for, you're sure to find something you love.San Francisco is a terrific cruise destination because there is so much to see. When getting off of a ship at the port here, you can quickly and easily stroll around town to see so many of the city's famous sites and attractions from Pier 39 to Coit Tower to Lombard Street and the city's famous cable cars.San Francisco has an abundance of family-friendly attractions, making the city a great option for a family vacation with the kids. From museums to parks, there are plenty of attractions to keep children entertained.San Francisco is a honeymooner's paradise. The scenery, the romance, and the architecture are all perfect for a romantic getaway. The Bay Area also boasts some world-class restaurants and theater productions, making it perfect for a honeymoon filled with fine dining and a show.

San Francisco is a city that embraces romance. From the cable cars, to the restaurants, to the beautiful parks and gardens, San Francisco's love of life, its romance, is palpable. Here are some of the most romantic spots in this dynamic city.
Planning a trip to San Francisco? You might also be interested in The Best Art Museums in San Francisco and The Best Children's Museums in San Francisco.
San Francisco is a backpacker's paradise. With its vibrant nightlife, cheap hostels and hotels, and easy access to all the attractions, it's no wonder that backpackers from around the world flock to the city.San Francisco's beaches are legendary, and the city's best waves are right at its doorstep. From beginners to experts, you'll find San Francisco beaches welcoming surfers of all skill levels.San Francisco is a city that has it all. From its rich history, to its diverse culture, to its incredible food scene, San Francisco has a little bit of everything for everyone. And it's all packed into a small area so that visitors can explore everything they want on foot.

San Francisco is known for its beautiful weather and amazing scenery, making it a perfect destination for photographers. The hilly streets and colorful architecture provide endless opportunities for stunning photos. There are a variety of places in San Francisco to take photos, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, and the Cable Cars.San Francisco is home to some of the most impressive landmarks in the world. The city is famous for the Golden Gate bridge, the Transamerica Pyramid, and Alcatraz Island, but there are also many other iconic landmarks and architectural marvels throughout the city.San Francisco is famous for its nightlife, and with good reason. With a variety of bars and clubs, there is never a shortage of things to do after the sun goes down.Kayaking is an activity that can be enjoyed year-round in San Francisco. With calm waters, the San Francisco Bay offers perfect conditions to kayak. The bay is dotted with islands, and kayaking is one of the best ways to explore them.

Sailing in San Francisco is a unique experience, and a great way to see the city from the water. From sunset sails to dinner cruises, there are many options to choose from.San Francisco is home to some of the best fishing in the country. The bay is teeming with fish, including salmon, halibut, and rockfish. Anglers of all ages and skill levels flock to the city's piers and waterfronts to catch their limit.San Francisco's location on the Pacific Ocean makes it one of the premiere locations for windsurfing in the world. The waters here are smooth, and the winds are consistent, too. The winds blow year-round, but the best winds are in the summer.Parasailing is a thrilling adventure that puts you high in the air, where you can take in some of the most breathtaking views of San Francisco. Parasailing is an activity that can be enjoyed by anyone, and it's an ideal way to see the sights of San Francisco from a different perspective.

San Francisco's iconic Ferry Building and Fisherman's Wharf are hubs for all things water-related. With dozens of different options, San Francisco is a terrific town to explore from the water, or just have a great time on a boat.San Francisco is the birthplace of the hippie movement, and the city's musical legacy lives on today. With an abundance of live music venues, from bars to clubs to outdoor festivals, there's never a shortage of musical events happening in the city.San Francisco has a reputation as one of the most theater-centric cities in America. Theaters line the city's streets, and nearly every corner has a performance of some kind. With dozens of theaters, a theater district, and a thriving theater community, it's no wonder that San Francisco is a mecca for theater lovers.

San Francisco is famous for its shopping, with high-end boutiques, department stores, and flea markets all across the city. San Francisco has everything from high-end designer fashion to vintage finds and one-of-a-kind items.San Francisco has long been known as the "Capital of Cool". The city's status as a tech hub is undeniable, and nowhere is this more evident than in its many tech companies. Tech companies dot the city's skyline, and you'll find them everywhere. Whether it's walking down the street and spotting a tech company's logo, or seeing employees sporting their company logo on their t-shirts, San Francisco's tech scene is inescapable.San Francisco is known for its amazing hotels, and with good reason. The hotels in San Francisco are as eclectic and unique as the city itself. From boutique hotels to luxury hotels and anything in between, San Francisco has some of the best hotels in the world.San Francisco's Golden Gate Park is one of the best places in the city for bird watching. With more than 1,000 species of wild birds, the park is teeming with life. You can spot some species by walking the trails, and there are also several spots where you can sit on a bench and watch the birds.

San Francisco is a melting pot of different cultures. From its diverse neighborhoods to its eclectic food scene, San Francisco's culture has been shaped by the many people who have come and lived here.San Francisco's nightlife scene is legendary, and it's easy to see why. With everything from huge clubs to intimate lounges, there's something for everyone. Whether you're looking for dance clubs, live music, or somewhere to sip a cocktail, San Francisco's nightlife scene has got you covered.

San Francisco is famous for its hilly terrain, and cycling is a great way to explore the city. There are plenty of great places to rent a bike, and the city's hilly terrain makes it perfect for a leisurely ride. Many of the best routes are along the waterfront, and there are also many quieter, residential streets to explore.San Francisco's architecture is as diverse as the city itself. From Victorian to Art Deco to contemporary, the cityscape is dotted with architectural styles, and is home to a variety of famous landmarks.San Francisco is one of the world's great cities for art, with a vibrant art scene that's constantly evolving. The city's museums and galleries are world-renowned, and many have free or inexpensive admission.San Francisco is a beautiful city, and with 15 international schools, it's the perfect place to study English abroad. The city's cultural diversity, its rich artistic heritage, and its many attractions make it an ideal place to learn English.

San Francisco's gardens are some of the most beautiful gardens in the world. From formal, manicured gardens to natural, wild gardens, San Francisco's gardens are a great place to spend an afternoon.San Francisco's farmers markets and flea markets are more than just places to buy fresh produce or artwork. They are community gathering spots, where locals come to socialize, play, eat, drink, and listen to live music.The San Francisco Bay Area is home to several excellent aquariums, including San Francisco and Oakland's popular California Academy of Sciences. Visitors can explore over 1,000 species of plants and animals in more than 100,000 square feet of exhibits, including a giant kelp forest, a coral reef, and a tide pool.San Francisco is home to two world-class zoos: the San Francisco Zoo and the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens. The San Francisco Zoo is home to over 1,200 animals, including African elephants, Asian elephants, giraffes, tigers, lions, and cheetahs. The San Francisco Zoo & Gardens is home to over 1,500 animals including African lions, giraffes, tigers, and cheetahs.

San Francisco has dozens of breweries, and each one offers a different experience. From classic brewpubs to cutting-edge breweries, there's no shortage of great places to enjoy a beer.
How much does it cost?

Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $25 to $90. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $47. A few of the best options are below.

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