Downtown San Francisco’s Yerba Buena arts district is having a free family block party, and you’re invited! This October 16th, five of the area’s top cultural destinations and Yerba Buena Gardens Festival welcome all ages to a full day of hands-on art making activities for kids and special family-friendly performances, and it’s totally free! Below are some insider tips for attending the event.

When to go: Sunday, October 16 from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. Venues are located within 1 to 2 blocks of Third Street and Mission Street in Downtown San Francisco. For more information contact 415-614-3216 or click here.
Insider tip: Get to the event an hour early to see the all-new Children’s Creativity Museum (formerly Zeum). The Museum opens the doors to its new exhibits that weekend including the new Imagination Lab, and to accommodate the crowds it’s opening early at 10:00 am before all the other events kick off at 11:00 am. Suggested arrival time is 9:45 am to snag a spot.

How to get there: The event is easily accessible by BART and other public transportation with most venues located just one block from the Montgomery or Powell Street Stations.
Insider tip: If you plan on coming by car, take advantage of a special parking deal that day only! City Park and The Hearst Corporation are offering a special $5 flat fee at the Hearst Parking Center, 45 Third Street, from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm on the day of the event on a space available basis. Redeemable only with a coupon available that day from the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District booth in Yerba Buena Gardens.

What to bring: Bring a bag to carry around all the art projects and crafts your kids make throughout the day. Carry water and snacks to stay replenished during your day of fun!

How to dress: You never know what the weather will be like in downtown San Francisco so make sure to dress in layers if you want to enjoy all the fun performances and outdoor activities in the Gardens.

What to do: At 11:00 am the events will be kicking off at the Children’s Creativity Museum. Your kids can make clay animations, music videos, digital art, and more, and don’t miss out on taking a free spin on the historic carousel!

Then stop by the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Lines can form to get in due to security, so to avoid them, head over early. While you’re at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, make sure to pick up your free ticket right when you arrive to one of the awesome magic shows happening that day in conjunction with the Museum’s special exhibition, Houdini: Art and Magic. Be amazed by the Magic of Chin-Chin with shows at 11:30 am, 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm, but get that ticket! Once they’re gone, the shows are full.
Insider tip: Stop into the Art Room if you have some time before the show to make your own optical illusion art!

Next, head over to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for a bonanza of hands-on sketching, scribbling, and squiggling activities related to the exhibition Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective. There is a new treat at the museum: the new Country Dog Gentlemen Gallery Game — a handheld, multimedia device that prompts families to look, move, listen, and find fun ways to get talking about art at the museum. At the end of each round, the game introduces players to a new canine companion from Roy De Forest’s painting, Country Dog Gentlemen. Free with deposit of valid ID.

Lastly, over at the Museum of the African Diaspora, don’t miss the chance to participate in a drumming workshop or make your own memory box to take home. It’s all part of the fun activities planned in conjunction with the exhibition Collected: Stories of Acquisition and Reclamation.
Insider tip: At 4:00 pm the event is over, but don’t worry if you’re not quite ready to leave. Most museums stay open for free until 5:00 pm that day.

Lunch spots: By mid-day, you might be hungry for lunch. If you don’t know where the family-friendly restaurants in the Yerba Buena area are, make sure to stop by the info booth in Yerba Buena Gardens to pick up a list of great places to eat just for families! Or consider a picnic while you take in the great shows that continue non-stop from 11:00 am – 3:30 pm on the Esplanade Stage in Yerba Buena Gardens with everything from hula dancers to taiko drummers.
Insider tip: For families with wee ones, the smaller Children’s Stage near Children’s Creativity Museum will have special, interactive music and clowning from 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm just for younger audiences.

Cost: Admittance to the museums are all free for the day, but you may will need money for transportation and food.