San Francisco is famous for its vibrant science and culture museums, but this popularity often comes with swarms of tourists and sky-high admission prices. However, there’s another environment to enjoy these museums — after dark. Almost all major San Francisco museums have added after-hours, adults-only events on select nights for a reduced entry fee, adding live music, special movie screenings, and alcohol to their usual exhibits.
Every Thursday from 6-10pm, California Academy of Sciences opens its doors for NightLife, a museum party with a different theme each week. With two house DJs, a bar, and a 20-something crowd dressed up for a nightclub, this museum event is definitely the most rowdy. Be sure to bring an ID because a valid 21+ ID is required for entry. Almost all of the day exhibits are open at night, including the rainforest room, a mock-ecosystem filled with reptiles and butterflies for attendees to walk through. Make sure to head there first—this exhibit closes at 8pm.
Experience the Exploratorium After Dark for adults 18 and over on the first Thursday of each month. Each monthly event showcases a different theme with opportunities for attendees to have a whirl at hundreds of hands-on exhibits. The Exploratorium is located on the waterfront Embarcadero, with the museum itself modern, open, and spacious. Walking to the back past the exhibits, attendees will find trendy bar/restaurant, SeaGlass. Enjoy fresh Mahi Mahi tacos and wash them down with an expansive selection of reasonably priced drinks. Be sure to check out the Landscape Gallery with a fog machine, cloud chamber, and rift machine. The Exploratorium, Pier 15, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA, USA, +(415) 528-4444
On top of all of the special nighttime activities like live music, lives performances, author readings, and kite-making at Friday Nights at the de Young, attendees also can experience the entire museum for free. This includes the museum’s famous Observation Tower, boasting an unobstructed 360-degree view of San Francisco and the bay. With free entry, attendees can splurge on the cash bar and pre-fixe restaurant menu inside, while enjoying music and themed interactive exhibits and hands-on craft making.