De Young Museum San Francisco: tickets, tours, prices, etc.

The De Young is a great place to see art from around the world and learn about American history through art. Here's everything you need to know to visit.

Andressa García

Andressa García

12 min read

De Young Museum San Francisco: tickets, tours, prices, etc.

©Dennis Jarvis

This museum houses a large number of exhibits featuring contemporary art not only from the United States, but also from around the world. You can also see textiles and costumes representative of the Americas, Africa and the Pacific.

The exhibits are always changing, so it is a visit that I like to include in the list of things to see and do in San Francisco, because you will always feel like you are visiting it for the first time. Book your tickets in advance so you don't miss it.

The most economical option

San Francisco Young Museum Tickets

Skip-the-line tickets to the Young Museum and the Legion of Honor Museum

With this pass you can enter the museum's permanent exhibits, and also visit the Legion of Honor Museum in a single day at no additional charge.

Inside Golden Gate Park you will find this treasure trove of contemporary art, where you can see all the most interesting exhibits of elements from the Americas, Africa and Oceania.

I also invite you to see all the special exhibits that the special exhibits have to show you. A bonus of this experience is that you will have the opportunity to enter the Legion of Honor Museum on the same day. With skip-the-line tickets to the Young Museum you have same-day access to both collections.

Recommended if...: you like contemporary art and don't want to miss the opportunity to see some interesting works in the heart of Golden Gate Park.

How much do tickets to the De Young Museum cost?

De Young Museum| ©Sarah Stierch
De Young Museum| ©Sarah Stierch

Tickets to the De Young are organized by permanent, selected and special exhibitions. A general admission ticket for adults costs from 15 euros and upwards, keeping in mind that the price may change if you also want a ticket to the special exhibitions.

The general ticket includes the visit to the general and selected exhibitions, while to access the special exhibitions you will need an additional ticket, which, depending on the person, will have a higher or lower cost.

Adults over 65 years of age enter with an approximate entrance fee of 12 euros, while students can pay up to 6 euros per ticket. People who are members of the De Young get free admission to the museum.

On the other hand, if you want to enter the Harmon Tower, you can do it for free, because this attraction is part of the De Young museum complex.

This place is amazing because it offers breathtaking views of the entire city of San Francisco. From 4:30 p.m. the entrance to appreciate the permanent exhibits is completely free, but if you want to see other exhibits, you will have to pay an additional price.

With general admission to the De Young, you can also enter the Legion of Honor museum. As in the case of the De Young, at the Legion of Honor you will have access to the permanent exhibits with this ticket, but you will have to pay an extra fee if you want to enter other special exhibits.

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How to get tickets to the De Young Museum at the box office?

De Young Museum, Observatory| ©Art a GoGo
De Young Museum, Observatory| ©Art a GoGo

If you are still not convinced to buy your tickets online before making your visit to San Francisco, then you also have the option to purchase your tickets at the museum's box office.

This box office is open during the same hours as the museum and you can go and buy your ticket right when you want to visit the museum.

As for this way to enter, you have to take into account that tickets are sold on a first come first served basis and you can find a long queue at the time of purchase, so I still think it is better to buy your tickets online before going to the museum.

This will save you a long and annoying queue that will surely take time away from touring the museum.

Buy your tickets for the Young Museum

Are tickets to the De Young included in any of the city's tourist passes?

De Young Museum| ©Ethan Kan
De Young Museum| ©Ethan Kan

There are some San Francisco sightseeing passes that include the De Young among the attractions they offer. However, you should be aware that these passes do not guarantee entry to the special exhibits.

Even if you have a tourist pass with which you can enter the De Young and its permanent exhibits, you have to assume an additional cost to enter the temporary and special exhibits, as well as other specific places in the museum.

Go San Francisco Card

With the Go San Francisco Card you have the possibility to enjoy an average of 25 attractions between 1 and 5 days. This card is ideal for you if you have already visited San Francisco but this time you want to visit other places you have missed.

The De Young is one of the attractions you can choose from when you purchase this card, but remember that the pass only includes general admission. This pass can be purchased for you, your family or group of friends, and it is also possible to include children.

San Francisco Explorer Pass

For a price starting at 52 euros you can purchase this pass that offers admission to a maximum of 5 attractions in a period of up to 30 days. With this pass you can choose from approximately 20 options of museums, public transportation and other activities in San Francisco.

The De Young is included among the museums offered as options in the San Francisco Explorer Pass. By choosing the De Young you can also enter the Legion of Honor with the same pass.

San Francisco Sightseeing Pass

In this flexible pass you have the opportunity to choose from at least 30 attractions to visit within a maximum of 60 days. The De Young is included in the two options offered by the pass to enjoy San Francisco.

The flexible pass to San Francisco attractions is designed to save you money on admission to the museums and other attractions you choose on the pass. There are two options to enjoy the pass, the De Young is included in both options.

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Are there special children's tickets?

Children outside the museum| ©sneakerdog
Children outside the museum| ©sneakerdog

Youth under 17 and children are admitted free to the museum's permanent exhibits. In the case of special exhibitions and other services inside the museum, they may have to pay a lower admission fee.

There are also special promotions for certain days of the week, where not only children can enter for free, but also the rest of the public, such as Tuesdays and Saturdays free for Bay Area residents only.

But definitely a visit to the De Young Museum is an activity that I would include among the things to see and do in San Francisco with children because they love to know the details of American and world history.

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Are there guided tours of the De Young Museum and is it worth it?

De Young Museum.| ©loa bacon
De Young Museum.| ©loa bacon

The museum offers an audio tour service. This tour is offered in a format compatible with mobile devices, so to access it you will only have to request it at the entrance when you purchase your ticket.

This service is not included in the ticket price, it has an additional cost and you can request it in different languages, not only in English, which is amazing if you don't speak that language well.

As for excursions or tours for this museum, it is generally included in many of the full day tours in the city and from San Francisco, taking into account that it is one of the best museums in the city.

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How to get to the De Young Museum?

Music concourse parking| ©Rob Marquardt
Music concourse parking| ©Rob Marquardt

If you go by private car, you have the option to stay right in front of the De Young if you go along Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr. To park your car, the De Young offers you the possibility of paid parking in the Music Concourse Garage, but spaces are limited.

If you do not want to pay for parking, you also have the possibility to leave your car on the street near the museum inside Golden Gate Park, but for security reasons I would recommend you to pay to park your car in the Music Concourse Garage.

On the other hand, you have the option of going to the museum by public transportation, in fact, the De Young is one of the fine arts museums that encourage the use of public transportation to visit them. For that reason, the entrance fee may have a small discount if you inform that you got there that way.

In that case, you have several options to get there, the muni, the bus and the subway. If you choose the muni, the routes that will get you closest to the De Young are: 44 O'Shaughnessy Bus, 5 and 5R Fulton Bus, 7 Haight/Noriega Bus, Judah Muni Metro and 28 Bus.

You also have the option of using the free routes offered by Golden Gate Park, whose routes operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., including Saturdays and Sundays, as well as holidays.

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Top works you can't miss at the De Young Museum

Works of the Museum| ©Dale Cruse
Works of the Museum| ©Dale Cruse

The works exhibited in this museum are divided into temporary and permanent galleries. They also have an object conservation area where you can see multiple items from various cultures, as well as paintings, paper and textiles.

Special exhibitions may show certain items that are not regularly exhibited in the museum. To find out which ones are being presented at the time of your visit, I recommend you visit the museum's official website to find out.

In the museum you can also see photographic works in perfect state of preservation, as well as different artistic elements made of fabric and paper. As for the rest of the galleries, they are divided by region of the world.

American Art

At the De Young you can appreciate one of the most complete collections of American art in the country. It includes paintings and sculpture from the 17th century to the present, making it the largest non-Indian collection.

Most of the pieces on display in this area belong to the Rockefeller collection, while a few others were acquired through other means. Among the pieces in this exhibit are objects of value created by Native American cultures, as well as later immigrants, African slaves and their descendants.

It is an exhibition that will help you understand from art, American history and how in this territory a large number of diverse cultures are intertwined to give way to what is known as American culture itself.

African Art

The figures that you will see in this area will surprise you because they are pieces that belonged to the primitive civilizations of sub-Saharan Africa, but that up to this moment the investigations to know their origin and the history behind them, are still in progress.

Researchers are still trying to understand where these pieces come from as well as what they tell of those civilizations erected in Africa at some point in history. Many of them were acquired around 1894 at an exhibition of African artifacts in California.

Arts of the Americas

Works of the Museum| ©Dale Cruse
Works of the Museum| ©Dale Cruse

In this area you will be able to see the great variety of sculptures, paintings, vessels and other elements from Mesoamerica and all the territories that comprise western America.

Most of the elements you will see in this exhibition will help you understand what life was like for the Native Americans.

Among the elements that stand out the most are some pieces from the Aztec cultures, ancestors of today's Mexicans.

Oceanic Art

In this area you can see from a strange amulet that simulates the weather in Micronesia, to textiles from Indonesia. In this exhibition you will see incredible objects from all over Oceania.

Many of the pieces on display here come from purchases made in the late 1800s, while many others are gifts from sailors and travelers throughout the 19th and 20th centuries who explored the Pacific and brought back to the museum multiple pieces of value from these unique places.

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How much time do you need to visit the De Young Museum?

Inside the Museum| ©Selena N. B. H
Inside the Museum| ©Selena N. B. H

The time to visit the De Young will depend on how you want to visit. If you go alone, with your family or friends and just buy your tickets to visit the place, it may take you approximately one or two hours to go through the whole place.

The museum gives you the opportunity to plan group visits, so your stay in the museum may take a little longer than usual. I especially recommend this type of group visits so that you can get to know each of the exhibitions of this place a little more in depth.

In the group visits you will have the opportunity to know each and every one of the exhibitions of the museum, from the permanent to the special ones. Of course, you should know that when planning this type of visit, you must inform which exhibitions you want to attend so that they are included in the entrance fee.

De Young Museum opening hours

De Young Museum| ©Tom Hilton
De Young Museum| ©Tom Hilton

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30 am to 5:15 pm. The rest of the days of the week are used to clean the museum and organize the new exhibits for the next opening.

Openings during special days such as 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day should be checked on the museum's official website before visiting the museum. Sometimes the museum closes for these dates and other times it stays open.

Tips for visiting the De Young Museum

View from De Young Museum| ©ali sinan köksal
View from De Young Museum| ©ali sinan köksal
  • Purchase your ticket well in advance of your visit to the De Young to avoid unnecessary lines when you are on site.
  • Enter their website in advance to know which exhibitions will be active at the time of your visit so you can know which ones you want to enter.
  • If you are going by private car, try to arrive early so that you can secure your parking space at the paid parking lot.
  • If you have children with you, remember that you cannot leave them unsupervised in the museum. It is a place to admire, not to touch anything.
  • Make sure you comply with the rules when you are inside the museum, such as not ingesting drinks and food while walking around the place, or taking flash photography.
  • If you want to take advantage of the free admission on Tuesdays, I recommend arriving on time so you don't miss out.
  • Include the museum among the things to see and do in San Francisco in two days, so that you have time to visit the Legion of Honor Museum as well.

This is the De Young Museum store

De Young Museum Store| ©pingping
De Young Museum Store| ©pingping

The De Young Museum Store is connected to the Legion of Honor Museum Store. This place, which operates both physically and online, is a great place for you to take souvenirs from your visit to both museums.

This store is amazing because it allows you to buy both the things you see on display, as well as place special orders for art.

The store gives you the possibility to take with you everyday objects, such as home accessories, stationery, bookstore and children's items, all related to the museum in question, as well as to the temporary and permanent exhibitions held there.

Where to eat near the De Young Museum?

Royal Ground Coffee, San Francisco| ©Chris Yunker
Royal Ground Coffee, San Francisco| ©Chris Yunker

Near the De Young there are plenty of places where you can enjoy a good meal after visiting the museum. The museum's own cafe offers a variety of snacks for a light meal.

If you are looking for a more complete menu, I recommend places like Royal Ground Coffee, Green Island Restaurant or El Mansour Restaurant. In the latter you can taste the authentic flavors of Moroccan food.

Buy your tickets for the Young Museum