Over the next few minutes you will be taken on a deep dive into the San Francisco art scene. Galleries, museums, supply stores, schools, shows, events, and more will all be covered thoroughly in this blog.
There is not a better way for us to begin than by jumping directly into the best San Francisco Art Galleries and Museums where you will find some of the finest exhibitions and collections the city has to offer. Up next we will discuss the best art stores near you to buy all the supplies and materials you need for your next project.
Shows, festivals, and events that are held throughout the year will be the topic of our next section. Those who want to see a variety of styles in a short amount of time should consider going on a local art walking tour and we will also fill you in on where to find some of the coolest sculptures and statues around the area.
Art classes and lessons near you will need their own section, and there are plenty of classes for both kids and adults that are available. Some of our more experienced readers may not need any lessons so we will tell you where you can find art studios for rent in your area as well before wrapping up with the best shops for framing around town.
There will be a local art map towards the end to help you figure out where all these places are, plus we welcome you to check out our other posts on the Pacific Northwest at this link if you are interested.
Best Art Galleries & Museums In San Francisco
You will see some of the top collections on the West Coast when you visit the best art galleries and museums in San Francisco:
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art at 151 3rd St
- De Young museum at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr
- Asian Art Museum at 200 Larkin St
- Studio Gallery at 1641 Pacific Ave
- Gallery 444 at 444 Post St
- Fraenkel Gallery at 49 Geary St #450
- Catharine Clark Gallery at 248 Utah St
- Arthaus at 228 Townsend St
- Andrea Schwartz Gallery at 545 4th St
- 111 Minna Gallery at 111 Minna St
- Dennis Rae Fine Art at 747 Beach St
- Montague Gallery at 445A Sutter St
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has a collection of over 33,000 objects including works by Henri Matisse, Jean Metzinger, Paul Klee, Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Richard Diebenkorn, Clyfford Still, Dorothea Lange, and Ansel Adams. It was the West Coast’s first museum devoted solely to 20th-century art and every first Thursday of the month entry to the museum is free and children under the age of 18 are always free. Check out all they have to offer from 10am to 5pm most days, from 1pm to 8pm on Thursday, and be warned they are closed all day Wednesday.
De Young Museum was founded in 1895 and is the oldest museum in your area. It is free to enter on the first Tuesday of each month and on Saturdays and De Young has a collection of American art that includes over 1,000 paintings, 800 sculptures, and 3,000 decorative arts objects in addition to over 7,000 pieces from Africa, the Pacific, and the Americas along with some works by European painters like Salvador Dali. Their hours are 9:30am to 5:15pm Tuesday through Sunday.
The Asian Art Museum has one of the most extensive Asian art collections in the world with over 18,000 works in its permanent collection some of which date back as far as 6,000 years. Every first Sunday of the month entry to the museum is free but don’t visit them on Tuesday or Wednesday because they will be closed.
Studio Gallery is also closed on Tuesday and Wednesday but is open from noon to 6pm the rest of the week and they usually host a new exhibition once a month with some of the works being for sale.
Gallery 444 features a one-of-a-kind collection of thrilling original pieces by significant contemporary artists such as surrealist master Rafal Olbinski and the sole representative of bright Peruvian artist Rossmary Valverde. The artworks on display are available for purchase and you can check them out from 10am to 4pm daily.
Catharine Clark Gallery showcases contemporary work in all media with new exhibits opening every six weeks. Don’t visit the gallery on Sunday or Monday but they are open from 10:30am to 5:30pm Tuesday through Friday and 11am to 6pm on Saturday.
ArtHaus Gallery provides advising and curatorial services in addition to exhibitions.
Materials & Supplies Near You
Buy art supplies and materials at stores like:
- Flax Art & Design at 2 Marina Blvd Center
- Arch Art and Drafting Supply at 10 Carolina St
- Paper Tree at 1743 Buchanan Mall
- Mendels at 1556 Haight St
- Scrap at 2150 Newcomb Ave
- Maido Fine Stationery & Gifts at 1581 Webster St #260
- Case for Making at 4037 Judah St
- Blick Art Materials at 979 Market St
Flax Art & Design is the country’s only art supply store located within a national park. They also provide in-store art lessons and workshops.
Arch Art and Drafting Supply offers in-store classes, workshops, and product demos.
Scrap is a reuse center and materials depot for used arts and crafts supplies plus they provide a series of creative reuse workshops.
Case for Making sells handcrafted watercolors and a line of letterpress watercolor paper goods, all of which are manufactured in-house alongside a selected range of creative tools.
Shows & Events
There are some great local art shows, events, and festivals each year and some of the most highly recommended would be:
- Fog Design & Art Fair in January
- San Francisco International Arts Festival in May & June
- Art Market San Francisco in September
Fog Design & Art Fair is held at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture each January. To celebrate today’s most significant creatives and major contributors to the fields of design and visual arts the fair brings together 45 top international galleries, prominent and contemporary design dealers, a weekend of engaging activities, and a spectacular installation.
The San Francisco International Arts Festival is an annual multicultural performance and visual arts festival held in your area at the Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture in late May and early June that features 400 creators and artistic ensembles from the Bay Area and 57 other countries. It also conducts several educational and outreach events.
Art Market San Francisco is another one of the Bay Area’s major art fairs that is also held at the Fort Mason Center each October. The festival features eighty-five modern and contemporary galleries from across the world and attracts over 28,000 visitors.
Art Dealers & Appraisers
You can try to add a new piece to your collection or find out how much a piece is worth by going to an art dealer and appraiser near you:
- San Francisco Art Exchange at 458 Geary St
- Christopher Clark Fine Art at 377 Geary St
- Lost Art Salon at 245 S Van Ness Ave #303
- Heritage Auctions at 603 Battery St
- Modern Eden Gallery at 1100 Sutter St
San Francisco Art Exchange is a world leader and pioneer in the representation and selling of important photographs and artworks of popular culture. They represent original and limited edition works by album cover artists Roger Dean and Storm Thorgerson, painter and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame musician Ronnie Wood, creations by both John Lennon and Ringo Starr, and over 100 notable photographers from music and pop culture.
Lost Art Salon buys and sells artworks, provides free placement consultations for pieces purchased at the Salon, and rents out pieces while also offering framing services near you.
Heritage Auctions is the largest auctioneer of collectibles and the third largest auction house in the world. They also buy intriguing items through consignment or outright purchase and are known for their appraisal and consulting services.
Studio Gallery and Gallery 444 from our first list also buy and sell pieces.
When the weather is nice consider going on an art walking tour in your area:
- Precita Eyes Mural Arts & Visitors Center at 2981 24th St
- Art & Architecture Tours at 33 Hallam St
Precita Eyes Mural Arts & Visitors Center offers group or private mural tours of the Mission District’s Mission Street and 24th Street corridors. They also have a local mural map that is available in their arts store for those who prefer a self-guided mural experience.
Art and Architecture Tours are not walking tours per se, they are a platform that provides a map and tour route of art and architecture in San Francisco for anyone who want to take self-guided tours.
Sculptures & Statues
You can also find some really unique statues and sculptures around town like:
- Yoda Fountain at 1 Letterman Dr
- Crab Sculpture at Jefferson St Pier 39
- Abraham Lincoln Monument at 135 Polk St
- The Thinker at 100 34th Ave
- Cupid’s Span at The Embarcadero & Folsom St
The Yoda Fountain is a 26-inch-tall bronze figure of Yoda that guards the entrance to Lucasfilm’s headquarters on the Southeast corner of the Letterman Digital Arts Center.
The Crab Sculpture may be found in Fisherman’s Wharf directly in front of the Pier 39 entrance.
The Abraham Lincoln Monument was designed by Armenian American sculptor Haig Patigian in 1926 and is located at the Civic Center.
The Thinker was created by Auguste Rodin in 1904 and can be found in Lincoln Park.
San Francisco Art Classes
We are all at different levels and sometimes a lesson or two can give us the boost that we need. Some of the best San Francisco art schools and classes can be found at:
- San Francisco Art Institute at 800 Chestnut St
- Young Art Lessons at 3251 20th Ave
- Art School of SF Bay at 2424 Clement St
- Asian Arts School at 2101 Taraval St
- Jean Henry School of Art at 2640 Ocean Ave
San Francisco Art Institute was founded in 1871 and is one of the countries oldest and most prestigious higher education institutions for contemporary art. They provide public classes including an open drawing studio and scholarships are offered for students who meet the criteria.
Young Art offers children’s lessons, camps, field trips, and birthday parties and can provide both in-person and private lessons.
There are great art classes, manga classes, portfolio preparation, and seasonal camps for children, teens, and adults available at Art School of SF Bay.
Asian Arts School provides weekly classes for children ages 5 to 18 on weekends and weekday afternoons and evenings in addition to seasonal art camps.
The Jean Henry School of Art is a private school for adults where you can find remote painting sessions all year for students of all skill levels as well as figure drawing every third Thursday of the month.
Flax Art & Design and Arch Art and Drafting Supply from the local supply stores list also offer lessons.
Studios For Rent Near You
Get your next project started at one of these San Francisco art studios:
- Artspan at 934 Brannan St
- The Midway at 900 Marin St
- Point Artists Studios at 1598 Custer Ave
- Art Explosion Studios at 744 Alabama St
Some of the best places for art framing near you would be:
- Walter Adams Framing at 2019 Fillmore St
- Underglass Framing at 2239 Market St
- Artisans of San Francisco at 2549 Irving St
- Cheap Pete’s Frame Factory Outlet at 4249 Geary Blvd
- Frame at 1926 Lombard St
Walter Adams Framing provides on-site consulting, design advice to complement the color and style of the environment, and the re-framing and/or re-matting of existing works.
Aside from full-service custom framing Cheap Pete’s Frame Factory can also has pre-cut mats and framing supplies for do-it-yourselfers as well as free instructional sheets to assist you with your at-home framing job. They can also do high-quality bespoke printing.
Lost Art Salon from the dealers list is also known to provide great custom framing in your area. By the way we have also written blogs on:
- Art & Creativity in Oakland
- Art & Creativity in San Jose
- Art & Creativity in Sacramento
- Art & Creativity in Portland
Have Fun Enjoying The San Francisco Art Scene
Hopefully we did a decent job of covering the full art scene near you. The best local galleries, museums, events, shows, supply stores, dealers, appraisers, walking tours, sculptures, classes, studios, and framers in your area were all discussed.
If you made it all the way to the end then you probably love art as much as we do. Don’t be afraid to mention any of your own tips and tricks in the comments at the end of the post, and please feel free let us know if we got anything wrong or if anything we posted has become dated.
Have fun going to the galleries, museums, buying supplies or doing anything that has to do with art in San Francisco!