Visit the M. H. De Young Museum in San Francisco: tickets, prices, opening hours

Visiter De Young Museum, San Francisco

Are you in San Francisco? Discover THE city’s leading fine arts institution! Follow the guide to San Francisco’s M. H. De Young Museum.

Founded in 1894 in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the M.H. De Young has become a major cultural and artistic landmark in the American landscape. Since its opening, millions of visitors have come here to admire art collections from all over the world. The Americas, Africa, the Pacific, Asia: over 27,000 modern and older works are on display. The De Young has become the 6th most visited art museum in North America, and the 35th in the world!

In 2005, it reopened its doors in a new, ultra-modern building. The building beautifully integrates art, architecture and the natural landscape. The surrounding gardens are perfect for a stroll. They also provide a link to the nearby California Academy of Sciences. And don’t forget to climb to the top of the building for a breathtaking view of the city!

To make your experience a success, we’ve put together all the information you need to know before visiting the M.H. De Young Museum in San Francisco!

History of the De Young Museum

As you enter the De Young Museum building, it’s hard to imagine that it’s an art venue that’s over 120 years old! And yet… Initially built for the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894, the building dedicated to the Fine Arts in San Francisco was designed in a neo-Egyptian style. It was then called the  » Fine Arts Building « .

Under the leadership of Michael Henry de Young, it gradually became the most important museum of exotic curiosities in the western United States. American art and textile arts from the Americas, Oceania and Africa played a major role in the museum’s reputation. In view of its growing success, the museum soon needed a new space in which to display its works, and construction was completed in 1919.

Until the founder’s death, the collections continued to grow. However, throughout its existence, the museum underwent numerous closures and reopenings. It even survived two earthquakes! A fund-raising campaign enabled the museum to be completely rebuilt in 2005. Open, light-filled spaces were created to facilitate the visitor’s artistic experience. Architects Herzog et de Meuron completely redesigned the building to blend in with the surrounding Golden Park landscape.

The latest innovation, on Thursday March 31, 2016, the De Young Museum presents the first museum app available for the Apple Watch. As soon as a visitor with his connected watch approaches a work he has selected, he benefits from the author’s or an expert’s explanation of it. Since November 1, 2018, Thomas P. Campbell has been director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, overseeing the De Young Museum and the Legion of Honor Museum.

What to see and do at the De Young Museum in San Francisco?

The museum’s collections feature a wide variety of artists. Many of the 27,000 works are by world-renowned masters. North America, Latin America, Oceania, Africa, Asia: every continent is represented through paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings and photographs. Textile arts also feature prominently. The oldest object on display dates back 3,500 years!


The American art collection comprises over 1,000 paintings, 800 sculptures and 3,000 decorative arts objects. American pieces from the 17th to the 21st century are the most widely exhibited, especially paintings. These include works by Diego Rivera, Edward Hopper and Mark Rothko. In 2020, the De Young will present a retrospective of Judy Chicago. A pioneer of feminist art, she began her career forty years ago with her first installation, The Dinner Party (1974-1979).


The rooms devoted to African art feature objects from the continent’s kingdoms, including Mali and Ghana. At the entrance to the gallery, you can admire a wooden sculpture – the oldest in the collection – dating back to at least the 13th century. The African collection is displayed thematically rather than geographically. The emphasis is on the aesthetic and expressive qualities of the art.


Important New Zealand Maori woodcarvings can be admired in the Oceanic gallery. Alongside them are Indonesian sculptures dating from the 19th and 20th centuries. Art from New Guinea also features prominently in the rooms dedicated to Oceania. A group of brightly painted sculptures used in malanggan ceremonies in New Ireland, a silver feather scroll from the island of Nindu Santa Cruz, and a rare navigation piece from the Caroline Islands of Micronesia are the highlights of the collection.

Ancient America

The museum celebrates the ancient peoples of Mesoamerica and the Andes. Fragments of wall paintings from Teotihuacan, Mexico, Mayan royal ceremonial vessels and sculptures, and ancestral pottery rub shoulders with artists from the 19th to 21st centuries. The 2,000 pieces held by the De Young have contributed to research in art history and anthropology. Art from cultures indigenous to the American continents is a key element of the museum’s collection. The collection is constantly expanding.

Visiting San Francisco’s De Young Museum also means enjoying an incredible view of the park and the city from the Observation Tower at the top of the building!

How do I get to the De Young Museum in San Francisco?

San Francisco’s De Young Museum is located in Golden Gate Park, near a Japanese garden. In the immediate vicinity is the California Academy of Sciences (220 meters away), and further afield, the Twin Peaks hills (less than 3 kilometers away). The museum can be reached by public transport:

By bus

  • You can take the 5 bus and get off at the 8th Avenue or Fulton Street stop, just outside the park.
  • Bus 28 also stops on Park Presidio Boulevard and Fulton Street.
  • Inside Golden Gate Park, a free shuttle service operates from 9am to 6pm on weekends and holidays. The shuttle runs every 15 to 20 minutes to the park’s 14 stops.

By metro

Take the N-Judah line and get off at the 9th Avenue stop.

By car

If you’re driving, you can park along the park, on John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King streets. Beware, however, that these are relatively rare! There are two paying parking lots, served by the park shuttle. The nearest parking lot is on the Concourse of Music square. With 800 spaces, it is open to cars and bikes seven days a week.

Opening hours & Rates of the De Young Museum in San Francisco

Horaires et tarifs du M. H De Young Museum à San Francisco

Photo credit: Flickr – Wonderlane


  • Tuesday to Sunday: 9.30am to 5.15pm.
  • Late March to late November: until 8:45pm.
  • Closed on Thanksgiving-type holidays


  • Adults: $15
  • 65+: $12
  • Students: $6
  • Free for children under 17
  • Free on the first Tuesday of every month


– Many options are available for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, such as American Sign Language interpretation or audioguide transcriptions of tours.

Visually impaired visitors have access to museum guides and maps in Braille and large print, in addition to audio guides.

– Wheelchairs are available for disabled visitors. Ramps provide access to the museum’s rooms.

Strollers are allowed.

– There are changing tables in the toilets.

Bulky backpacks are forbidden, as are baby carriers that cannot be worn on the front.

– The museum has a café with snack facilities.