NightLife at California Academy of Sciences San Francisco

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October 15, 2015

Nightlife At San Francisco Museums

San Francisco has plenty to offer visitors after dark: trend-setting restaurants, world-renowned performance venues and bars and nightclubs that cater to every crowd.  But did you know that San Francisco’s museums are some of the hottest spots for a memorable night out? Check out the full list below for the best opportunities to learn a little while having a lot of fun.

Asian Art Museum (200 Larkin St.)
On Thursdays in the spring and summer, the Asian Art Museum stays open to 9 p.m. Visitors have the opportunity to enjoy special exhibitions, fun talks and encounters with the artists themselves. Drinks are served at a cash bar and DJs keep the music playing. Schedule: Thursdays, 5-9 p.m. (Resumes Spring 2016) | Admission: $5 after 5 p.m. Surcharges may apply for special exhibitions.

Auto Desk Gallery at One Market (One Market St., 2nd Floor)
Design Nights at the Auto Desk Gallery explore the concept of how technology continues to transform our world. Come celebrate the creative process with stories of exceptional design and engineering from across the world, an open bar, live music and activities. Schedule: First Thursday of every month (except January and July), 6-10 p.m. | Admission: $25.

California Academy of Sciences (55 Music Concourse Dr.)
A new adventure unfolds every Thursday night at Cal Academy. You can explore the seas and the stars without leaving the building or your cocktail. Rock out to live music or listen in on talks about cutting-edge science. It’s all here, with additional seasonal specials and options for group/private events. Schedule: Thursdays, 6-10 p.m. | Admission: $15 per person ($12 for Academy members). Open to adults age 21 and older.

California Historical Society (678 Mission St.)
Dedicated to inspiring and empowering people to make California’s rich past a part of their present, the California Historical Society offers a variety of evening programs and events. Schedule: Third Thursday of every month. | Admission: $5-10 per person (free for members)

Chinese Historical Society of America Museum (965 Clay St.)
The Chinese Historical Society of America Museum is the oldest organization in the country dedicated to the history and contributions of the Chinese people in America. The Museum hosts special evening events throughout the year.

Contemporary Jewish Museum (736 Mission St.)
This dynamic and welcoming space offers visitors a chance to experience art, music, film, literature, debate and—most importantly—people. CJM's evening programming, “Nights at the Jewseum,” features live music, crafts, and other activities that allow visitors to mingle and enjoy each other’s company. Schedule: Third Thursday of every month. | Admission: Free with museum admission, $5 after 5 p.m. for adults 21 and older.

de Young Museum (50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr.)
After-hours Fridays at the de Young are “happenings” that feature live music, dance, discussions, lectures, demonstrations, and opportunities to interact with local artists. The museum café offers a Friday night menu with specialty cocktails, and the museum’s famous observation tower stays open until 8 p.m. Schedule: Every Friday, 5:30-8:45 p.m. (2015 season ends Nov. 27, resumes Spring 2016) | Admission: Free, ticket required for permanent collections and special exhibitions.

Exploratorium (Pier 15 (Embarcadero at Green Street))
After Dark at the Exploratorium combines aspects of a gallery, a theater, and a cabaret to create a unique experience for visitors. Each evening showcases a different topic—from music to sex to electricity—but all include a cash bar, live music, and access to hundreds of interactive exhibits. Where else can you find an intellectually stimulating playground for adults? Schedule: Thursdays, 6-10 p.m. Open for ages 18+ | Admission: $15 ($10 for members, free for Lab Members).

Monterey Bay Aquarium (886 Cannery Row, Monterey)
If you’re down the coast for some beach time, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Evenings by the Bay. Enjoy live music on Saturdays and Sundays, and sample local food and wine while seeing the famous aquarium in a whole new light. Schedule: Summer weekends (2016 dates to be determined), 6-8 p.m. | Admission: Included with Aquarium admission. Not all exhibits are available for viewing during extended hours.

Museum of Craft and Design (2569 Third St.)
Opened in 2004, the museum provides innovative exhibitions and programming around craft and design that engage and stimulate visitors. Evening programs for adults are frequently offered. Check the museum website for full details.

Museum of the African Diaspora (685 Mission St.)
Dedicated to providing local artists the opportunity to showcase work reflecting the artistic and cultural richness of the African Diaspora, the museum hosts public dialogues, artist open houses, and film discussions intended to stimulate conversations on race, identity and culture. Visit the museum website for full details.

Oakland Museum of California (100 Oak St., Oakland)
Just a short ride across the bay is the Oakland Museum of California, which combines art, history, and the natural sciences to tell the story of California’s evolving character and identity. On Fridays, the museum offers family-friendly programming into the evening hours, with hands-on activities, live music, and a variety of food and wine vendors. Schedule: Fridays, 5-9 p.m. | Admission: Half-price gallery admission for adults; food and beverage prices vary.

Presidio Dialogues and Sessions (The Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Ave., Presidio Main Post) 
The Presidio Officers’ Club offers free programs and performances that can be enjoyed with a cocktail from the bar or the adjoining Arguello Restaurant.  Presidio Dialogues features notable authors, artists, and conversation starters exploring themes from ancient history to current events. The Presidio Sessions feature live music across a variety of styles, performed in an intimate atmosphere. Schedule: Presidio Dialogues – Every Thursday, 7-8 p.m. Presidio Sessions – Every Friday, 6 p.m. | Admission: Free

Tenderloin Museum (398 Eddy St.)
The newest museum in the city celebrates one of its most overlooked neighborhoods. A melting pot that played host to some of the city’s most historic events, the Tenderloin Museum celebrates the individuals who shaped this community and the world beyond it. Special event details can be found on the museum website.

Yerba Buena Gardens (760 Howard St., Terrace Level)
Get your culture on in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena neighborhood with arts, food, and drink. Take a walk around Yerba Buena Gardens and visit the nearby galleries and museums to pick up your wristband for all-night happy hours at participating bars and restaurants. Schedule: Third Thursday of every month, 5-7 p.m. | Admission: Free

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (701 Mission St.)
A nationally recognized leader in connecting audiences and arts programming, YBCA also presents special initiatives that nurture local artists, provide youth education, and create unique experiences for members of the community. Events covering the visual and performing arts, film and video and civic engagement are offered year-round. Visit their website for a full schedule.

Photo by Tosh Chiang / CC BY

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