Five Must See Museums in San Francisco
From wax celebrities, to albino reptiles, to illegal substances, to war memorabilia, to rare 17th century paintings, there is a museum in the Bay Area sure to wow any visitor. With more than 20 unique museum attractions to choose from in San Francisco, some even considered to be the best in the world, it’s nearly impossible to decide which will be worth it during a short visit. Try one of these five, and you are sure not to leave disappointed.
California Academy of Sciences – For the science or nature lover
Known for its world-class research and educational programs, the California Academy of Sciences is one of San Francisco’s must-see destinations. Located in Golden Gate Park, this aquarium-zoo-planetarium-natural history museum is one of the coolest places for kids and adults of all ages to enjoy. Complete with a four-story rainforest dome, breathtaking coral reef displays, albino reptiles, dinosaur and whale skeletons, and a revolutionary “green roof,” there is something extraordinary around every corner.
Asian Art Museum – For the cultural art or food lover
Located in the Civic Center Neighborhood, this unique museum is one of the world’s most diverse collections of art and artifacts from across the Asian continent. It includes paintings, sculptures, furniture, textiles, and artifacts covering more than 6,000 years of human history from Turkey, China, India, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, and other Asian countries. No exploration of Asia is complete without the distinct flavor of Asian cuisine, make sure to add Cafe Asia to your list of stops at this museum.
de Young Museum – For the fine art enthusiast
Located only steps away from the California Academy of Sciences, the de Young Museum is home to more than 27,000 works of art dating back to 1670. Currently one of the largest and most diverse art collections in the Western United States, their impressive collection features modern and contemporary American paintings, decorative art, sculptures, photography, international textiles, costumes, and art from Africa and Oceania. The ninth-floor, known as the Observation Level, offers breathtaking 360 degree views of San Francisco skyline and the Pacific Ocean.
California Historical Society – For the history buff
The California Historical Society has been collecting a diverse body of materials that document and preserve the rich history of California since 1871. Their impressive collection of historical documents include books, pamphlets, manuscripts, photographs, newspapers, posters, maps, periodicals, artwork, artifacts, and costumes. You can enjoy their enlightening exhibits at their downtown location, or catch one of their mobile exhibits at one of San Francisco’s many museums and libraries.
Walt Disney Family Museum – For the family-oriented
Founded by Walt Disney’s daughter, this family friendly museum is dedicated to the life and work of Walt Disney, creator of some of America’s most beloved fairy tales and animated characters. Housed in a historic building on the Presidio, the contemporary galleries and exhibits take you through Walt’s life, including his humble beginnings, his move to Hollywood, his rise to success in the 30’s-40’s, post-war ambitions, and a gallery commemorating his spirit and achievements. The museum features early drawings and cartoons, movies, music, listening stations, video screens, narration in Walt’s own voice, and a 13 foot model of Disneyland as Walt first imagined it. They also play Disney movie classics in their Fantasia-themed theatre six days a week.
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