Growing by the Bay

Free Days at San Francisco Bay Area museums

Most museums in the Bay Area waive the regular attendance fee one day a month. Following is a list of these free days. Museums may changes which day is free, so it’s worth calling or checking their websites (links provided below). Please let me know of errors or omissions in this list.

First Monday
Contemporary Jewish Museum (now closed through spring 2008)

First Tuesday
Asian Art Museum
Cartoon Art Museum (“pay what you wish”)
De Young Museum
Legion of Honor


First Wednesday
California Academy of Sciences

First Thursday
Berkeley Art Museum (BAM/PFA)
SF Museum of Craft and Design

Second Sunday
Oakland Museum

Museum of the African Diaspora


Rummy at Stanford


Lady from Shanghai


  1. The “free” days at the local museums are such a good deal. I went to the Asian last Tuesday and had a marvelous morning, followed by a delicious lunch at the cafeteria there. The only thing that would make it better would be a rooftop garden. Even if we couldn’t walk in it, the view from the third floor down to the roof below would be enhanced by something more inspired; if the roof can’t support greenery, how about some raked sand a la Zen gardens? Still, since it was free, I’m not complaining – only making suggestions for it all to be better.

  2. Some people don’t like the crowds on free days, but I usually don’t mind them. It makes the museums seem vital.

    What I’ve been told is that the Asian has a lot of its engineering equipment up on the roof and that’s why we can’t have a garden up there. But the museum is gearing up for “phase 2,” an expansion that will bring an auditorium and other things. What those features will be is still undecided. This is still in preliminary stages, so we’ll see what we end up with.

Some rights reserved 2022 Tom’s Garden. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons (attribution, noncommercial, no derivs: 3.0) License (US), although some of the work this blog incorporates may be separately licensed. Text and images by Thomas Christensen unless otherwise noted. For print permissions or other inquiries please request via