Come and spend a day at the de Young Museum! Internationally acclaimed, the de Young Museum is the third most visited art museum in the United States* and one that every art, architecture, and culture lover should make a point of exploring. Reopened in a newly designed building in 2005, the de Young dates back to 1895 and, in its own words, “has been an integral part of the cultural fabric of the city and a cherished destination for millions of residents and visitors to the region for over 100 years.”
*Only the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York rank higher than the de Young in numbers of visitors. Because the museums of the Smithsonian Institution do not charge admission, their numbers may be higher but are not counted in the rankings.
Visiting the de Young Museum
- The museum is located in Golden Gate Park at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco. To view a map, click here.
- Hours: Open Tuesdays through Sundays – 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m
- Extended Friday hours (March 28 – November 29, 2014) – 9:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.
- General Admission: Adult $10; Senior 65+ $7; Youth 13-17 $6; College student with valid ID $6; Children 12 and under FREE
- *First Tuesday of the month is FREE General Admission to the de Young*
- DISCOUNT: Public transport (Muni) riders will receive a $2 discount when purchasing tickets at the museum. Proof of transport is required.
- Special Exhibits: Adult $25; Senior 65+ $22; College student with valid ID $21; Youth (ages 6-17) $15
- Click here to purchase tickets online.
The de Young Exterior
The exterior of the de Young was designed with the surrounding landscape in mind; warm copper hues, stone, wood, and glass reflect and balance the nature of Golden Gate Park around it. The perforated copper walls are meant to make one feel as though they were looking through a tree canopy — a work of art in itself!
The de Young Tower
Be sure to visit the de Young’s 144-foot tower for a panorama view of the surrounding Sunset and Richmond Districts, with the sunny day possibility of seeing even more of San Francisco.
The de Young Sculpture Garden
Before or after you visit the museum, take a stroll around the outside of the museum. Not only will this give you an opportunity to admire the building’s unique design and get an up close view of the copper, but it will also provide you with an added art experience. Through the various small gardens surrounding the museum, you’ll see sculptures both old and new, including some of the museum’s original sphinxes.
Permanent Collection at the de Young Museum
The de Young hosts one of the finest collections of American art, showcasing over 1,000 paintings dating from 1670 to today. Along with paintings, the museum has over 800 sculptures, 3,000 decorative art objects, 13,000 textiles and costumes, and much much more.
To get an idea of some of the works you will see, click here.
Special Exhibits at the de Young:
The special exhibits at the de Young Museum are ever-changing and always exquisite. With past exhibits including Bulgari jewelry, Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, Danny Lyon photography, Jean Paul Gaultier’s haute couture fashion, Picasso, Van Gogh, Cézanne, and others, the de Young has proven itself a world class museum worthy of hosting the best.
Current and upcoming special exhibits include:
From February 15, 2014 through May 11, 2014, the de Young Museum will be hosting Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George, an exhibit which encompasses works from the artist’s summertime retreats to upstate New York’s Lake George.
National Gallery of Art
On loan from Washington, D.C., come to the de Young from June 7, 2014 through October 12, 2014 to see Modernism from the National Gallery of Art: The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection. This collection features nearly 50 works by Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns and others, giving viewers the opportunity to see some of the most important art from the post-World War II era. The centerpiece of the exhibit, Barnett Newman’s The Stations of the Cross, will be complimented by such works as Lichtenstein’s Painting with Statue of Liberty and Jasper Johns’ Perilous Night.
Getting to the de Young Museum
Taking Public Transportation to the de Young Museum
If you are downtown, you can easily climb aboard a Muni streetcar to get to the de Young. By taking the westward bound N Judah and hopping off at 9th and Irving, all you have to do is walk down 9th, cross Lincoln Way and head into Golden Gate Park; before you know it, you’ll be there. If you do take Muni, be sure to save your ticket – that will save you $2 on your General Admission ticket.
Parking at the de Young Museum
There is an underground parking garage located near the museum. There is also street parking within Golden Gate Park surrounding the museum.
Places of Interest and Food near the de Young Museum
Places of Interest near the de Young Museum
- Music Concourse: Located directly between the de Young Museum and California Academy of Sciences, the Music Concourse and Spreckels Temple of Music were completed in 1900, is an important and historic site in San Francisco. Walk around it to view statues and monuments to important American figures, including Francis Scott Key, writer of the “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Two non-American figures to look for (whose monument created a lot of controversy during the rising patriotism of World War I) are Goethe and Schiller, their monument being an exact copy of the original in Weimar, Germany.
- California Academy of Sciences: While you’re in the neighborhood, you should check out the fun and interesting exhibits at the Academy. Located directly across from the de Young Museum, we’ve recommended it in our 10 Fun Places for Kids blog post, though you don’t need to be a kid to enjoy it!
- Japanese Tea Garden: A nice place to relax after a few hours at the museum, the Japanese Tea Garden is an excellent place to reclaim tranquility and enjoy a cup of tea. Located next to the de Young, the Tea Garden is a must on your San Francisco visit.
- San Francisco Botanical Garden: Enjoy a morning at the museum, lunch on Irving St., and then stroll back down 9th and cross Lincoln to view over 8,000 plants from around the world covering 55 acres of Golden Gate Park. Or, bring a picnic lunch and relax in the beautiful gardens for the afternoon. You won’t have to travel far from the de Young to get here.
Eating around the de Young Museum
The de Young Museum does house a small café which offers soups, salads and sandwiches. Though these can be tasty, a wide assortment of restaurants can be found less than a ten minute drive (or, in some cases, walk) from the museum.
Visiting the de Young Museum means that you are near some of San Francisco’s lesser known neighborhoods. Walking or driving ten minutes will take you to Haight St., Cole Valley or Lincoln Way/Irving St., all of which boast small restaurants and shops.
A few of the restaurants that we recommend are:
Lincoln Way/Irving St. – the closest neighborhood to the museum, within walking distance:
- Pluto’s: Salads
- Nopalito: Mexican
- Park Chow: All-American
- Pacific Catch: Fish Grill
- La Fonda: Mexican – we prefer their burritos to Gordo’s (located on 9th)
Some other great food stops in Cole Valley and the Haight are listed in this 7×7 SF article.
Free Tours by Foot wishes you a great day at the museum! Check out our walking tours to complement your stay in San Francisco!