The only thing better than a day at the museum is a free day at the museum. Mark your calendars now and have fun later! 

Pro-tip: Library members who participate in the Discover & Go Program can receive free or discounted tickets to many of the below museums.

California Academy of Sciences

Free admission for San Francisco residents on designated weekends each year based on your neighborhood. Admission is free to the general public — next Free Spring 2018 days will take place February 23, 24, 25, Mar 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 1, 16, 17, 18. Proof of residency is required.

The only museum in the Bay that is simultaneously a science museum, a zoo, and an aquarium. Is that a rainforest!?

14306517962_0dcec32e5e_kEric Wagner via Flickr

de Young Museum

Free admission on the first Tuesday of every month.

Explore American art from 1670 to the present day, international contemporary pieces, and costumes and textiles of exotic oddities from across the ancient Americas, Oceania and Africa. Everyone loves a headdress.

Legion of Honor

Free admission on the first Tuesday of every month.

If you’re looking for a lesson on European History, the Legion of Honor can school you on 6,000 years of ancient European art directly out of France! Can you say très cool? Plus it’s in one of the most gorgeous areas of the city, with stunning views of the Presidio, the Golden Gate, Lincoln Park Golf Course and the ocean.

3883883902_058819aec0_bKanaka Menehune

Exploratorium

Upcoming free admission days are Mother’s Day (5/13/2018), Free Community Night (7/13/2018, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.), Free Community Days 3/14/2018, 9/22/2018, 10/21/2018.

The playground of all museums. Explore-for-yourself exhibits where you are allowed to touch stuff!

San Francisco Botanical Garden

Free admission daily from 7:30-9am, for all San Francisco City & County Residents (with proof of residency), on the second Tuesday of every month, and on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day & New Year’s Day.

Pretty gardens, relaxing springs, and 8,000 different kinds of plants from all over the world! This could take awhile…

GLBT History Museum

Free admission on the first Wednesday of the month.

We did it first! Celebrate 100 years of the city’s vast queer past through powerful exhibitions and exciting programs.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Galleries

Free admission on the first Tuesday of every month. Also free with your same-day performance, screening, or event ticket.

The perfect museum for the youthful, artsy fartsy types that love contemporary visual art, performance, and film. Embrace art through diversity and all it’s worth in this amazing city.

border-crossing_2400-1440x720Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman via YBCA

Asian Art Museum

Free admission on the first Sunday of every month.

The artistry and diversity of all Asian cultures in one place! Don’t forget to stop at Cafe Asia on your way out –seriously, it’s freakin’ amazing.

Museum of Craft and Design

Free admission on the first Tuesday of every month.

Get your arts and crafts on! Adult workshops for those creative, DIY folks who are gifted enough to cut a perfectly straight line.

Contemporary Jewish Museum

Free admission on the first Tuesday of every month.

Explore the Jewish Experience through extraordinary music, film, literature, debate, and—most importantly—people. It also happens to be one of the coolest buildings in SF.

6281130074_6a6e21b016_bAndreina Schoeberlein

Conservatory of Flowers

Free admission on the first Tuesday of every month.

The beautiful Victorian greenhouse is not only the oldest building in Golden Gate Park, but it’s also the oldest remaining municipal wooden conservatory in the whole country. And of course, it’s full of super cool exotic flowers and plants. What’s not to love?

Cable Car Heritage Museum

Always Free!

San Francisco’s iconic cable cars are not only iconic, but they have a fascinating history.

SF Museum of Modern Art

Always free for 18 and under. Various Free Family Day’s throughout the year. 

Last time we made this update SFMOMA was still undergoing renovation leaving a giant di Suvero sculpture sized hole in this post. SFMOMA does have 45,000 square feet of open art space within and around the building.

5nkdGYU4ZPQXRichard Serra's

Museum of African Diaspora

Free admission Saturdays starting February 2018. Always free for children under 12. Check the calendar for more information.

How cool is it that we have this museum in our backyard. MoAD is one of the only museums in the world dedicated to presenting the rich cultural heritage of the people of Africa and of African descendant cultures all across the globe. Not only does it have a unique mission in chosen exhibits but the aesthetics of the building itself are absolutely stunning.

SFO Museum

Technically, always free, but some parts are accessible to the general public while others are only accessible with booked travel. 

It’s become a common sight to walk through an airport and see art displayed. Not many know that our airport, SFO, was one of the pioneering airports in that movement. It makes sense considering all of the open space and walls one finds at most airports. Plus, airports have a captive and, typically, the miserable audience looking for any minor distraction from the travel experience. Visiting an airport when you aren’t traveling is a strangely relaxing experience. Check out this handy exhibit map to see the parts that are accessible pre-security.

This post was originally published by Jasmine Whitaker on March 15, 2015. 

[Featured Image: Eric Wagner]


  1. […] Mission St in SoMa) through November 1st, 2015. Stop by on the first Tuesday of each month for free admission. A few gallery chats relating to Winehouse will be taking place at the museum as well during the […]

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