SF is full of museums, and a lot of them offer free admission. We’ve rounded up the can’t miss exhibits coming to SF this year, so that you don’t miss any of them. Read on to find the best #arsty posts for your ‘gram feed.


151 3rd St. 

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1. Munch on this. The Edward Munch: Between the Clock and Door, runs June 24th through October 9th.

2. Get groovy with Mike Mandel’s Good 70s photography exhibit. Runs through August 20th.

3. Listen in for some eargasms as your explore the connection of art and sound with the museum’s Soundtrack exhibit, running through January 1st 2018.

4. Explore the work from 5 bay area artists, at the 2017 SECA Art Award exhibits. Each artist has their own gallery to present their work, for the first time, to the public. From sculpture to photography, the variety and talent is impeccable.

5. Witness multiple perspectives in the Side by Side: Dual Portraits of Artists exhibits. Runs through December 3.

6. Explore New Work: Park McArthur, then try staying that ten times fast. Just kidding. Take it in through August 27.

7. Indulge your fun side, when art and inner child collide at Noguchi’s Playscapes through November 26.

8. Who says art has to be stuffy and boring?! Alexander Calder utilizes the motion lab to have an interactive exhibit that’s undeniably fun. Runs through September 10.

9. While the Brits aren’t as well known for art as the Italians, they’ve still got some pretty impressive sculptures to show off. So take in the British Sculptors exhibit, through September 10.

10. Another can’t miss photography exhibit, use your own eyes at the “To Those Who Have Eyes To See” exhibit running through August 15.

11. Bureau Spectacular: insideoutsidebetweenbeyond is, much like wifi passwords, all lower case with no spaces. A promising idea for a modern day exhibit. Runs through August 13, 2017

12. Paul Klee and Rex Ray lend their talents to this exhibition running through October 9th.

13. Walter De Maria tackles Surface Waves through February 4, 2018. 14. Nam June Paik is In Character till January 1, 2018.

California Academy of Sciences

55 Music Concourse Dr.

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1. Check out the evolution of dinosaurs to birds at “Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs.” Ancient fossils, magnificent models, and a pterosaur flight simulator are all part of the prehistoric experience that awaits.

2. While the planetarium is a permanent fixture of the academy, the “Incoming!” show will teach you all about asteroids and comets in the solar system.

3. This gem of an exhibit is for the geologically inclined. You can marvel at nearly 400 dazzling and dramatic specimens from the Academy’s geology collection at the Gems and Minerals Unearthed exhibit.

4. Twilight Zone: Deep Reefs Revealed wil ll allow you to descend into the under water twilight zone, where sunlight is scarce,and every dive yields surprising discoveries.

5. The Osher Rainforest is open year round, but deserves a visit to take in the friendly and colorful butterflies as well as green canopies, reptiles, birds and more. Four stories means you can take your time seeing it all.

6. The Steinhart Aquarium can also be experienced year round. It’s home to nearly 40,000 live animals. Fish, big and small as well as an interactive tide pool mean that adults and kids are equally entertained.

de Young Museum 

Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive

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1. Take in 60 years worth of pivotal modernism in the “Stuart Davis: In Full Swing” exhibit, which runs through August 6.

2. Learn about how groovy SF was back in the 60s at the immersive The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll. Running through August 20.

3. Take in the metaphorical through material work of Leonardo Drew in his Number 197 exhibit. Located outside of the museum, admission is not required to take in these three walls of his work. Runs through October 29.

4. Learn about the meshing of history, fashion, and a daily hobby at the Beyond the Surface: Worldwide Embroidery Traditions exhibit. Runs through December 31st. 

5. Take in cultural cross overs, an ancient society, and the evolution of a people in Māori Portraits: Gottfried Lindauer’s New Zealand. Runs September 9, 2017 – April 1, 2018. 

6. Go back in time to learn about how our perception of the UNESCO World Heritage Site has evolved in “Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire.” Runs September 30, 2017 – February 11, 2018.

Legion of Honor

Lincoln Park, 100 34th Avenue

1. Channel some serious #feminist vibes by exploring the intersection of masculine poses on female sculptures, and the role that androgyny plays within her work at “Sarah Lucas: Good Muse.” Runs through Sep 17, 2017. 

2. Explore a different aspect of art, in the lens of women’s hats back in the early 1900s with the “Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade.” Runs through Sep 24. 

3. See how poetry and art have married to create fusions of beautiful work in “Parallel Visions: Poets, Artists, and the Book.” Running through October 8th.

4. Gain a bright new perspective on sculptures at the “Gods in Color: Polychromy in the Ancient World” exhibit, runs Oct 28, 2017 – Jan 7, 2018. 

5. Look into the work of two big names in art, 100 years after each of their deaths. Pivotal as a groundbreaking painter and the ‘father of modern sculpture” respectively, exploring the work and the connections between these two is intriguing and an honor to their legacy. KLIMT & RODIN: An Artistic Encounter runs from October 14, 2017 – January 28, 2018. 


Pier 15 (Embarcadero @ Green St.)

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Think outside of the box with Wild Card, and interactive cardboard experience. Artists have created magical spaces out of cardboard, glue and some scissors. Runs through September 4th.

Asian Art Museum

200 Larkin St

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1. Get into some Flower Power with this aptly named exhibit, that will be detailing “the symbolism of six significant blooms: the lotus, plum blossom, cherry blossom, chrysanthemum, tulip, and rose.” Runs through October 1st.

2. See where tech and art meet at the “Digital poetry from Net Art pioneer Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries” exhibit.  The interactive flash animation pieces cover topics such as power, freedom, equality, racism, and xenophobia. Runs through October 1st.

3. Gain a greater appreciation for different cultures during the “Philippine Art: Collecting Art, Collecting Memories ” running through March 11th, 2018.

4. Gain new insight on sculptural work at The Sculptural Turn. Featuring work from 14 different Japanese clay artists, there are multiple perspectives on display. Runs through November 26th.

5. Learn the roots of imagination at the Portrait of the Artist, which features work inspired by the Muslim and Indian concept of Mi’raj. Runs through October 29th.

6. Get more than your alphabet soup provides at the unique, letter centric installation from Liu Jianhua. Collected Letters is a piece in which letters appear frozen midair. Not your typical story book ending.

7. Get into fashion at the upcoming Couture Korea exhibit, which begins November 3rd and runs through February 4th 2018.

Contemporary Jewish Museum 

736 Mission Street

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1. The 613 by Archie Rand runs through Oct 22. The major painting is based on the ethical rules and religious behaviors that Jews are expected to uphold. There is one painting for each one of the 613 rules, occupying 1700 square feet. These acrylic paintings are not to be missed.

2. “In That Case: Havruta in Contemporary Art Allison Smith and Christina Zetterlund” runs through Jul 3, 2018. “Allison Smith’s collaboration with Christina Zetterlund looks at craft and design history to explore issues of inclusion, exclusion, and hierarchies of power.”

3. “Kutiman: offgrid offline” runs through Jul 8, 2018. The internet meets art in this audio visual piece by artist Kutiman.

4. “Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs” runs through Sep 3rd. For the cartoon fans, we’ve got you covered. Roz Chast has done cartoons for the New Yorker since 1978. Her graphic memoir tackled the sensitive subject of caring for aging parents. Come to have your heartstrings pulled, in an artisitc manner of course.

5. Lamp of the Covenant: Dave Lane is an ongoing exhibit.  The massive sculpture, entitled Lamp of the Covenant, is a 90-foot-long, six ton work suspended high over the heads of museum visitors. Feel free to marvel before you even enter the museum as this piece takes place in the lobby.

6. Jewish Folktales Retold: Artist as Maggid will run Sep 28, 2017–Jan 28, 2018. This exhibition presents newly commissioned works by sixteen contemporary artists in response to a selection of tales from the Jewish folklore. They position themselves as the maggids, or Jewish storytellers by exploring themes, and characters from classic Jewish folktales.

Museum of the African Diaspora 

685 Mission Street (at Third)

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1. Learn about where history and photography intersect in “Todd Gray: My Life in the Bush with MJ & Iggy.” Gray used to photograph Michael Jackson, and this exhibit presents a deeper look into his work, and the subsequent messages his photography style portray. We learn the deeper meaning of presentation in these works. Runs through August 26th.

2. The Ease of Fiction features works by four contemporary African artists living in the United States, that serves as a foundation for a critical discussion about history, fact, & action. Their aim is to explore power, memory, personal agency, and play. The title suggests that idea that we are more comfortable accepting fiction than truth, because it is easier. We believe what those in power tell us, which is a dangerous process. Runs through August 27th.

3.  Get new information on the rock legend, at Love or Confusion: Jimi Hendrix in 1967. Featuring photos taken of Jimi Hendrix in 1967, this exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of the infamous Summer of Love, and the entrance of Jimi Hendrix as one the greatest guitarists of all time. His entrance into the music world was full of theatrics, talent, race, and sexuality. Look back at where it all began. Runs through August 27th.

4. The emerging artist focus is on Angie Keller. Keller aims to increase the visibility and recognition of Afro- Peruvian cultural expression and El Carmen as a product of the African Diaspora. The photographs featured in The Gladioli of El Carmen bring us into the colorfully decorated homes of each woman.

Get yourself to as many of these exhibits as possible. The museum limit does not exist.

Just one more...