If de Young Museum’s Herzog & de Meuron architectural design doesn’t capture your attention, the bird’s-eye view of Golden Gate Park from the observation tower will. Wander the collections of Oceanic and American art, as well as galleries of impressive textiles and decorative arts.
The M.H. de Young Memorial Museum’s American collection features 17th- to 21st-century works. Many visitors view pieces from Hudson River School artists. Oceanic art, such as New Zealand Maori wood carvings, and African art, including ancient terra-cotta from Mali, figure prominently. An expansive textile arts collection, including 20th-century couture from European designers, such as Balenciaga, Chanel, Dior, and Saint Laurent, is very popular.
The San Francisco CityPASS and Go card, plus a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus, include admission to de Young Museum, while other tours, such as self-guided, electric bike, and Segway tours, and Surrey rentals, don’t. Single-admission tickets provide same-day admission to de Young’s partner fine arts museum, the Legion of Honor. Tours don’t include admission to any special exhibits.
Things to Know Before You Go
- de Young Museum is compact and easy to visit in a few hours.
- The small on-site café is very busy at lunchtime and during special exhibitions.
- The museum is wheelchair accessible with accessible restrooms. It sets aside separate days during new exhibitions to allow visitors who request accommodation to visit when the museum is less crowded.
- Admission for children under 17 is always free. Admission is free to everyone on the first Tuesday of the month.
How to Get There
de Young Museum is in Golden Gate Park, near the California Academy of Sciences, the Hagiwara Tea Garden, and the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Muni’s 44 O’Shaughnessy, 5 Fulton, 21 Hayes, and N Judah streetcar all stop within walking distance of the entrance. If driving, there’s a parking lot at the Music Concourse and free on-street parking throughout the park. Golden Gate Park is closed to car traffic every Sunday.
When to Get There
de Young is busiest during the summer, on important holidays, and when special exhibitions are held. Arrive during opening at 9:30am for uncrowded galleries and easy parking. In spring and fall, picnickers fill Golden Gate Park. The museum is open Tuesdays–Sundays, 9:30am–5:15pm; it’s closed on Mondays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.
Dine with a View
de Young Café hosts a popular Weinpause or traditional afternoon wine or coffee break. It also attracts crowds who take in the view of the Barbro Osher Sculpture Garden, which includes works designed to blend in with the natural landscape of Golden Gate Park.