Where To Find The Best Museum Nightlife In San Francisco

California Academy of Sciences Nightlife © Micah Elizabeth Scott/Flickr
California Academy of Sciences Nightlife © Micah Elizabeth Scott/Flickr
Photo of Natalie Savio
21 December 2016

With an array of bars, concerts, clubs, and more, it’s no secret that San Francisco is home to some amazing nightlife. However, many people often forget that among these venues, museums can offer a unique nightlife experience not available in every city — so when thinking about where to spend your nights, take advantage of San Francisco’s amazing museums.

Autodesk Gallery Design Night Activity | © Anita Hart/Flickr

Autodesk Gallery

Art Gallery, Bridge, Building, Library, Market
Map View
On the first Thursday of every month except January and July, the Autodesk Gallery hosts ‘Design Night.’ Customers at the Autodesk Gallery can walk around and learn about the various design projects Autodesk is working on from the entertainment and fashion industry to athletics and computers. Design Night has a guest speaker, an open bar, and great food that is included in the admission fee, and the most interesting feature though is their tables filled with DIY activities.

Asian Art Museum

Museum
Map View
California Academy of Sciences Nightlife
California Academy of Sciences Nightlife | © Micah Elizabeth Scott/Flickr
The Asian Art Museum is home to some of the most fascinating aspects of Asian art and culture. With more than 17,000 objects in the museum, it is the largest museum devoted solely to Asian art in the United States outside of Asia. Open on Thursdays in the spring and summer from 5pm to 9pm, the Asian Art Museum’s Matcha night is filled with a DJ, drinks at the bar, activities, and performances, all for just 10 dollars. Some of the exhibits’ artists are also there to chat about their work with anyone who’s interested.

California Academy of Sciences

Museum, Park
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The California Academy of Sciences, located in Golden Gate Park, is open on Thursdays from 6pm to 10pm. Open to adults who are 21 or older, there is a variety of drinks such as wine, beer, and cocktails created by their very own in-house mixologist. There is also a live band or DJ, a dance floor, and each night has a theme and a presentation to go with it. Guests can also explore the downstairs aquariums, exhibits, or the rooftop terrace.

De Young

Building, Museum, Park
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From spring to fall, the De Young, also in Golden Gate Park, is open on Fridays from 5pm to 8:45pm. Friday nights feature music, dance performances, food and drinks at the museum’s café, various art projects, exhibition tours, films, lecture presentations, and different themes for each week. Customers can experience all the museum has to offer at no cost, since there is free admission!De Young, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA, USA

Exploratorium

Bookstore, Museum, Shop
Map View
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, USA - MAY 14, 2018: Interactive Science Museum Exploratorium on Embarcadero Street
Science Museum Exploratorium | © KURLIN_CAfE / Alamy Stock Photo
On the first Thursday of the month from 6pm to 10pm, the Exploratorium After Dark opens for adults 18 and up. The Exploratorium at Pier 15 is a museum that explores science and art to influence the way people perceive the world. Their $15 nightlife includes live performances, films, interactive exhibits, technology, and, of course, cocktails — and with reservations at a significantly lower price than the regular entry fee, customers can walk through the Exploratorium’s Tactile Dome, a completely dark, dome shaped tunnel that requires people to use their sense of touch to guide their way through its mazelike chambers.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Museum, Store, Building
Map View
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
People analyze some artwork at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art | © Get Your Guide
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, or SFMOMA for short, has its Thursday nightlife, which runs from 6pm to 9:45pm at half the price of regular admission. With live music from local musicians and experimental bands, films, book launches, and chats with the artists, SFMOMA’s nightlife is beyond just entertaining. Until the museum’s opening, SFMOMA fans can visit the SFMOMA Museum Store on each month’s Third Thursday in Yerba Buena between 5:00 and 7pm for SFMOMA products, art, food, and drinks.

Tenderloin Museum

Museum
Map View
The Tenderloin Museum, which opened less than a year ago in April of 2015, is open at night sporadically for events and for night tours on Thursdays at 7pm for adults 21 and up. The museum offers insight into the rich and diverse history of the Tenderloin community. Many events are held at the Tenderloin Museum such as film screenings and live performances from singers, dancers, and spoken word artists. The Tenderloin Night Tour differs greatly than their daytime tours, with stops at speakeasies, old gambling rooms, LGBT clubs, and more, and the tour concludes with discounted drinks at the popular PianoFight bar.

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