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San Francisco: sights

Asian Art Museum

One of the world’s largest museums dedicated to Asian art is in San Francisco’s Civic Center, a short walk from Union Square. It holds some 17,000 objects spanning 6,000 years of history, including the oldest known Chinese Buddha in the world. About half of the permanent collection was donated by industrialist Avery Brundage in the 1960s. The display is organised by seven geographical regions, linked by three themes: the development of Buddhism, trade and cultural exchange and local beliefs and practices. At the moment there is a temporary exhibition Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance, which features 131 works of art as well as shadow puppetry, gamelan performances and masked dances.

Open: Tuesday through Sunday 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Thursdays until 9:00 p.m.; closed Mondays

Admission: Adults $12 or $17 (including Bali exhibition)

Address: 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102


Cartoon Art Museum

One of the city’s newest attractions, the Cartoon Art Museum opened in a permanent location in 1987 thanks to an endowment by Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz. In the past 25 years it has produced more than 100 exhibitions and 20 publications spanning animation, comics, graphic novels, zines, book illustration, and more. The permanent collection comprises about 6,000 original pieces. Two temporary exhibitions on this week focus on the works of Tessa Brunton and Berkeley Breathed.

Open: Tuesday through Sunday 11:00 a.m-5:00 p.m.; closed Mondays

Admission: Adults $7

Address: 655 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105



The largest Chinatown outside of Asia is just a short walk from Union Square. The Chinese community in San Francisco dates back to 1848, when the first immigrants arrived. As well as a wide variety of restaurants and shops, there is much to see—including historic churches, temples and buildings. One of the most famous is the Bank of Canton, formerly the Chinese American Telephone Exchange. You can also visit the Chinese Culture Center and the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory.

Address: The famous gateway is on Grant Avenue, at Bush Street


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Housed in a famous building designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta, and the second largest such museum in the U.S., the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art features more than 26,000 works (and keeps on growing). These include photography, painting and sculpture, architecture and design and media arts. The museum was founded in 1935 and the latest addition is a roof garden. Current temporary exhibitions include Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change and Paul Klee. The cafe is also recommended.

Open: Daily 11:00 a.m.-5:45 p.m.; Thursdays until 8:45 p.m.; closed Wednesdays

Admission: Adults $18

Address: 151 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94103


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