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The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco
California Academy of Sciences

Top Bay Area Museums

Top Bay Area Museums
Explore the cultural fabric of the Bay Area

Arts abound in this culturally diverse region, with different experiences and styles all over the Bay Area. Start in Golden Gate Park where manicured gardens cradle a cultural hub. At the copper clad de Young Museum see major touring collections and a massive permanent collection of classic paintings, sculptures and decorative arts. The museum’s dramatic 44 metre high tower offers a stunning view of the city and bay, and entrance to the tower is free. Across the park’s concourse is the California Academy of Sciences with a natural history museum, aquarium and planetarium housed in the greenest museum building in the world. 

On a promontory overlooking the mouth of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge is another art related stop, the Legion of Honor, where ancient and European works are presented in a Beaux Arts building; Rodin’s iconic bronze sculpture, The Thinker, sits in the museum’s Court of Honor. San Francisco is also home to The Walt Disney Family Museum, in the Presidio, which focuses on the accomplishments and innovations of the man behind the mouse and The Museum of Craft and Design which showcases the work of designers, makers and artists whose work often falls outside the conventional notion of art.

True to the Bay Area’s reputation as a leader in all things tech is Market Street’s Onedome, a community space dedicated to interactive and immersive art. Featuring playful works and installations from digital artists that hail from all over the world, the 1,800 square metre high tech wonderland is really a collaboration between venue and visitor; experiences involving projections, music, sound and light come alive as you engage with it with results that never repeat themselves. A must for curious children and adults alike. 

Geared more exclusively to kids is the Children’s Creativity Museum, which exhibits multimedia art and technology experiences for children aged 2 to 12. Animation, robot coding, an 'augmented-reality sandpit' with kinetic sand and many other activities, along with a DIY Cloud Gallery, enable visitors to live out the museum's mantra to imagine, create and share.

Other worthwhile museums around the Bay include the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA), where a mid-century modern building, surrounded by terraced gardens, houses Californian art, natural science and history. Fridays at OMCA are spirited events with live music, food vans and local colour. In Silicon Valley the San Jose Museum of Art showcases West Coast modern art. Nearby is the Tech Museum of Innovation, a hands on celebration of technology and science and a huge hit with kids.

 

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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Northern California

Discover the San Francisco Bay Area

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A crimson bridge, cable carriages, a sparkling bay and streets lined with elegant Victorian homes, San Francisco is undeniably one of the world’s great

"I left my heart in San Francisco. High on a hill, it calls to me." - Singer Tony Bennett

cities. Located in Northern California at the state’s distinctive bend in the coast, the region has an alluring magic that stretches beyond the bay to diverse cities with nightlife and trend-setting cuisine. The Bay Area is also home to some of the world’s finest wine country, including Napa Valley and Sonoma, plus waterfront towns, dramatic beaches and the tech-savvy southern end of the Bay known as the Silicon Valley, where lunchtime ideas at Google, Facebook and Apple, turn into the next brilliant innovation.

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Courtesy of NPS Photo

Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial

Tour this military memorial that honours soldiers killed on the World War II home front and pays tribute to Concord’s role in civil rights history

California’s smallest national park service outlet covers a mere half-acre in Concord on San Francisco Bay’s east shore—but it tells a very big...

May

Rock rolls into the wine country with this three-day event in Napa that features 2019 headliners Imagine Dragons, Neil Young, and Mumford & Sons. With more than 80 performers in the May 24–26...

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Jessica S./Flickr
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San Francisco has only one drawback - 'tis hard to leave.
Rudyard Kipling
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Taste the delicious dishes from these amazing California chefs

From a pastel coloured pastry shop to Michelin-starred dining rooms, top restaurants run by celebrity chefs dot the Golden State. And even if you don’t know these chefs from the TV...

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Kid-friendly fun zones, special kids' menus & amazing wine for the grownups

Sure wine country is romantic, but now it’s a surprisingly great destination for families too, with a growing number of vineyards trading in elegant tasting rooms for child-friendly fun zones that...

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John/ Flickr
July

Get the Spanish spirit at this colourful event. Stroll the grounds of Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards with a glass of bubbly, and take in a whirl of passionate music, flamenco dancing and food....

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Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards
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World-class accommodations in world-class locations

Head to the heart of California’s cities for luxurious stays at world-class hotels and resorts. From San Francisco’s historic hotels to celebrity hot spots in Hollywood and Beverly Hills,...

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Lynn Gately/Flickr
San Francisco itself is art, above all literary art. Every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal. That is the whole truth.
William Saroyan
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Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisan cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets are...

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Laura Flippen
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From Gold Rush history to 8th wonders of the world, visit these favorites

If there was ever a box of chocolates—and all of them delicious—it’s the rich collection of natural treasures, fascinating...

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Amy Meredith/Flickr
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Make memories at some of California's family-favourite beaches

Sand, water, and children-it’s a natural combination for easy family fun. These sandy beaches offer appealing, family friendly features, such as calm water for new swimmers, tide pools for...

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Alex Farnum
It's simply a very romantic place. Just one look at any of those streets, and you couldn't be anywhere else -- it's so beautiful, and there's that location, and the sense of the free spirit. ... Who couldn't become ravenous in such a place?
Julia Child
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Sample ultra-fresh, hyper-local, and downright amazing

When you come to California, come hungry. This is a state that really knows how to cook. Amazing and innovative chefs sprinkled with Michelin stars work with local farms and artisanal food...

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George's at the Cove
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Old-fashioned fun in the Golden State

Historic oceanfront playgrounds, classic city park charmers and boisterous adventures - smaller theme parks and attractions offer an array of ways to play. These smaller parks offer...

Safari West
Tai Power Seeff
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According to legend, Winchester Mystery House's maze of passages and building oddities were designed to confuse the ghosts of those killed by Winchester rifles.
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Kids get an inside look at wildlife, space, and more

From cool ways for your children to learn about wildlife, to an insider’s look at a space station, to a chance to walk through a rain forest or learn about the night sky, there’s a...

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Peter Alfred Hess/Flickr
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Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind the scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of actvities...

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Photo by Michael Saechang/Flickr
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Golden Gate Bridge

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See one of the world’s most famous landmarks, spanning an elegant bay

With towers soaring 227 metres into the sky, its span arcing across the mouth of San Francisco Bay and all of it painted bright red-orange, the...

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Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you are in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you will find it here. Want to sample fresh fruits and...

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Livermore

Ranches, vineyards, and relaxed appeal east of San Francisco

With warm sun and wide open spaces cradling vineyards, ranches, and wine country estates, the Livermore Valley makes an appealing destination just...

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Eiojo Torpe/Getty Images

Sausalito

Explore this quaint town that’s just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco

Just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, a steep hillside covered in brushwood and eucalyptus drops from Highway 101 to a flat, sunny shoreline, two...

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Spotlight: Berkeley

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See a stunning museum, shop, and feast in the Bay Area’s most outspoken city

A haven for backyard artists and coffee-shop philosophers, Berkeley has deep roots in the Flower Power movement of the 1960s and ’70s. But...

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San Francisco's cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.