Savvy Tips for visiting San Francisco Musuem of Modern Art for Less
If you’re wondering if you can get cheaper or even free tickets to a museum as modern and classy as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, why yes you can. And we’re happy to tell you how.
In fact there are several good offers and freebies to choose from, which we highlight below. But first some facts about the place.
One of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the United States (with a recent expansion), SFMOMA is a popular stop for SF Bay Area locals and visitors alike. You’ll find the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art between Mission and Howard Streets, in the busy SoMA district.
Founded in 1935, SFMOMA was actually the first West Coast museum to feature only modern and contemporary art. Even back then, it favored artistic innovation and highlighted lesser known artists alongside the masters, like Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse.
Today, SFMOMA has expanded to a lively seven floors of art presenting works from the 20th and 21st centuries. The museum also and “the largest Living Wall in the U.S.” which features native California plant species.
Savvy Tip: You can download the free and beautifully produced SFMOMA Audio App to hear stories about the exhibitions and art, narrated by not only artists and curators but also musicians, dancers, poets and TV stars.
SFMOMA Free & Discounted Tickets
Now for the good stuff. We’ve rounded up the best tips for saving on tix, as you knew we would! And we’ve included some tips for getting there and getting around, in case you haven’t been there in a while.
How to get free tickets to SFMOMA
SFMOMA now provides plenty of public spaces — 45,000 square feet of art — available free to everyone. So why not start there. Also, they’ve got this:
First Thursdays at SFMOMA:
Live in one of the nine Bay Area counties? SFMOMA invites you to spend an evening at their museum, from 4–8pm on the first Thursday of every month. First Thursdays feature art exhibits and live programs related to the current exhibitions. Savvy Tip: you don’t have to, but we recommend reserving your free tickets on their website up to two weeks in advance to reserve your spot (two-person per reservation limit).
At SFMOMA Kids get in Free
Children 18 and younger always get into SFMOMA free.
SFMOMA Free Family Days
SFMOMA schedules some Free Family Days when: “up to two adults may each claim a free ticket when accompanied by a visitor 18 and under …”
Ask your U.S. military representative about free admission tickets for active military, including active US Coast Guard and activated National Guard or reservists.
How to get SFMOMA Discount Tickets
SFMOMA offers a few ways to save on tickets. FYI: last checked (9/2021) full price tix cost: adult $25; senior (65 years and older) $22; age 19–24 with ID $19; age 18 and younger
SFMOMA is included with the popular attraction discount passes: Go San Francisco and SF CityPASS.
Professional Personal Care Attendants (PPCA) accompanying a paying visitor who requires care get free admission.
If you’re visiting with a group of 10 or more people, they’ll cut you a break. See details.
Reciprocal Staff Admissions
Employees of other museums with current valid staff ID get in free and can bring one guest.
SFMOMA Know Before You Go
If this is your first time going to SFMOMA or you haven’t been in a while, here’s what you need to know.
You’ll find SFMOMA at 151 Third Street, SoMa district, next to Yerba Buena Gardens.
The museum entrance on Third Street is between Mission and Howard (the other Howard Street entrance between Hawthorne and Third is currently closed).
Savvy Tip: For after-hours or special events, use the Joyce and Larry Stupski Entrance at Minna Street.
Open Mon/Fri/Sun 10am-5 pm; Thurs 1–8 pm. SFMOMA is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and major holidays Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day, but open until 3pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
Parking near SFMOMA
Best bet is SFMOMA’s own garage at 147 Minna Street, near the museum’s entrance on Third Street (and is a good way to support your fav museum).
Savvy Tip: Get your parking stub validated at the Haas Jr. Atrium on the first Floor for 10% off (or 25% off for SFMOMA members).
Best to check 511.org, but here’s a cheat sheet:
- BART or Muni: nearest stop is Powell Street and Montgomery Street.
- Cable Cars: Powell Street and California Street.
- Bus stops: Located nearby at Mission Street, Howard Street, Third Street, and Second Street.
Accessibility at SFMOMA
The museum takes a modern touch here as well, we’re happy to report. (Let us know if you don’t agree.) Here’s a link that lays out the important SFMOMA accessibility details.
Dining and Gifts
Yeah they’ve got those. The usual museum stuff but if you’re so inclined, check out Cafe 5 on the fifth floor Sculpture Garden. Chef Corey Lee’s Michelin-starred restaurant is currently closed (a 2020/2021 thing, probably), and the gift shop is temporarily closed, alas.
Have more questions? Don’t ask us, we’re not the museum folks, just friendly bloggers trying to help out fellow day trippers. Here’s where you can go for answers:
- Email: museumstore@SFMOMA.org
- Call: SFMOMA Customer Service (415) 357-4035 or (888) 357-0037 (Mon–Fri 9:30 am-4:30pm PT)