If you’re looking for an enjoyable outing for the whole family, look no further than San Francisco’s de Young museum in Golden Gate Park. From its intriguing architectural design to magnificent fine art exhibitions, there’s something to appeal to every visitor.
Where is it: The museum is located at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr., just off of John F. Kennedy Dr., in Golden Gate Park. Those who arrive by public transit and present a Muni Fast Pass or transfer are rewarded with a $2 discount. If you decide to drive, be aware of weekend street closures and limited street parking. However, if you’re willing to pay for parking, Golden Gate Park’s Music Concourse Garage is convenient.
When to go: The de Young is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. – 5:15 p.m., Friday (mid-January through November only) from 9:30 a.m. – 8:45 p.m. and is closed on Mondays.
What to see and do: Most Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. – noon the museum offers a Family Program that includes tours of permanent collections and current exhibitions, followed by studio workshops taught by professional artist-teachers. There are programs for kids ages 4-6 and 7-12. Check the online calendar to confirm.
The current “wow” exhibit is the Olmec collection. These colossal sculptures (from what is now Mexico) will impress young kids, and start great conversations. The de Young’s African, Oceanic, and Art of the Americas collections also contain showstopping pieces. The upcoming Balenciaga and Spain exhibit might hold more allure for adults, unless you’ve got a future Zac Posen or Stella McCartney in your brood. The sculpture garden outdoors is a great experience for children, as well as a good place to move around with fewer inhibitions.
Families with babies: Front-facing baby-carriers and standard strollers are permitted, though rear-facing backpacks and oversized or jogging strollers are not allowed in the museum.
Where to have lunch: Snacks and meals are available at the de Young Café, or you can bring a picnic and explore Golden Gate Park before or after your art outing. Additional dining options, such as the family-friendly Park Chow are just a short walk away near 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way.
Bonus: If you’re still not motivated to visit the de Young, imagine you and the kids jumping in the elevator and zipping to the museum’s top floor to take in the jaw-dropping 360-degree view of San Francisco. We say the view alone is worth the price of admission.
Cost of trip: moderate: Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for 13–17 year-olds, and free for children 12 and under. Some additional special exhibition fees may apply. The first Tuesday of the month is free.
– Tricia Kerr