Are you looking to learn a little more than English during your time at CISL? Both San Diego and San Francisco are full of beautiful museums housing interesting artifacts, exhibits, and art. If you time it just right, you can visit dozens of museums without paying a penny! Every Tuesday, two museums in San Diego’s Balboa Park are free to the public if you have an ID with a San Diego address (if you have one, your California driver’s license will work). San Francisco also has many museums that are free to the public on various days. The following is a list of some of the free dates for San Francisco’s museums:


Asian Art Museum

Free on the first Sunday of each month, 10 am to 5 pm

200 Larkin Street San Francisco, CA

Over 18,000 works of art spanning 6,000 years come together at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. One of the largest museums in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian Art, the museum’s mission is to lead a diverse global audience in discovering the unique material, aesthetic, and intellectual achievements of Asian art and culture.


California Academy of Sciences

Free one Sunday each quarter, 10 am to 5 pm

Upcoming dates: March 3, June 2

55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Proudly labeled the “Greenest Museum in the World,” the California Academy of Sciences is a world-class scientific and cultural institution in Golden Gate Park. Its 400,000 square foot structure houses an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum, and a 4-story rainforest!


de Young Museum

Free on the first Tuesday of the month; 9:30 am to 5:15 pm

50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA

What was originally designed as a place to temporarily keep a collection of “exotic oddities” has become the United States’ primary museum focused on American art, international textile arts and costumes, and art of the ancient Americas, Oceania, and Africa.




Free on the first Wednesday of the month, 10 am to 5 pm 

3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco, CA; moving to Pier 15 in April 2013

This hands-on museum is more than just a place to “watch and learn:” here, you explore! Considered more of a “laboratory” than a museum, the Exploratorium uses creative exhibits to show–not tell–how the wonders of science work. Note: the museum is moving! It will be closed from January to April 2013 and will reopen on Pier 15, 



Legion of Honor Museum 

Free on the first Tuesday of the month; 9:30 am to 5 pm

100 34th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94121

Known as San Francisco’s most beautiful museum, the Legion of Honor was built to remember the Californian soldiers that lost their lives in World War I. The museum is located in Lincoln Park and provides stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, Golden Gate Bridge, and the city of San Francisco. Its collection includes Rodin’s Thinker, which sits in the museum’s Court of Honor, European decorative arts and paintings, Ancient art, and one of the largest collections of prints and drawings in the country.


San Francisco Modern Art Museum

Free on the first Tuesday of every month

151 Third Street, San Francisco, CA


Ansel Adams, Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Diego Rivera, and countless others come together in the SFMOMA. Expect to see paintings, sculptures, photography, and exhibits on architecture, design, and media arts.



Society of California Pioneers

Free on the third Thursday of every month; 4 pm to 7 pm

300 Fourth Street San Francisco, CA 94107-1272


Explore California’s rich history in this museum, which has over 50,000 photographs of California before it was known as the land of celebrities and surfers.



Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Free on the first Tuesday of the month; 12 pm to 8 pm

701 Mission Street San Francisco, CA 94103


A performance venue, museum, and art gallery, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is a gathering place for local artists (and future artists!). There is always an exciting event happening at the center: check out their Facebook page for a list of events.