I stumbled upon this BLOG POST by chance and think it is worth checking out! If you are a fan of murals that is. :-)
Free on first Thursdays of every month (5pm-7pm), this musem has been a prestigious art and antiques store in its early years in the ‘20s. It also became home to the designer Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door Salon—and the woman herself—in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
LOCATION: 550 Sutter betwen Powell and Mason Str.
HOURS: Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10am to 5pm, Sundays from 12pm to 5pm. Closed on Mondays.
Docent Tours are also available, free of charge, to interested groups including schoolchildren. Tours must be arranged by appointment.
The second federal mint in the USA was in this modest brick and mortar building within the Jackson District of San Francisco. At the time, the need to create a mint was based upon the difficulty and hazards of transporting gold and silver from the Sierra mines to the original mint in Philadelphia. The original building constructed in 1854 lasted just one year, converting miners' gold into coins, but produced an amazing $4,084,207 in gold pieces by December of that year. The current brick building was designed for the purpose by Treasury Architect William Appleton Potter, and survived the 1906 Earthquake only to be consumed by the Great Fire. This building was reconstructed, reducing it from the original four stories to the current two story structure, and then changed ownership several times; however, the building was declared a California State Historical Landmark (Number 87) in 1949, and as a San Francisco City Landmark in 1970. The building was carefully integrated into the much larger United Commercial Bank building, also the world headquarters for this bank, and which now caretakes the museum. In addition to the interesting cut-away views of what remains of the old mint, there are rotating exhibits of Pacific Rim artists. At the time of our brief visit, there was an exhibition of 56 Chinese ink-and-brush paintings by the artist Su Fung-nan. The museum notes that his works are characterized by beautiful calligraphic lines and expressive qualities. The museum is free to the public and Tuesday through Saturday from 10 to 4pm. Located at 608 Commerical Street, This is an easy place to stop by for a few minutes, after lunch at on of the street cafes, such as 7 Pleasures, during a walk through the Historic Jackson District, or as a brief rest from a jog starting at the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero.
Artists' Television Access is a film and video screening venue that features shows 3 to 5 nights a week. They showcase emerging local filmmakers and artists from underground scenes around the world. ATA is one of the only venues in the city where any local artist can screen without paying a fee. Most shows are only six dollars and the artist gets some of the money from the door. If you want to see truly underground film and video, ATA is the place to go.
This is not off the beaten path in its on Pier 39 in the middle of the tourist district but it still seemed like a hidden gem. It's a collection of antique arcade machines. Admission is free but of course it cost money to feed the machines. I had a blast here.
Every Monday, except holidays, a trained volunteer leads groups through the War Memorial Opera House describing its architecture, construction, new improvements, colorful history and performance highlights. Your tour will walk you through the boxes and auditorium, behind the footlights to backstage areas, into the wig and make up department and other areas as available.
These tours are only held during the opera seasons which normally is between September and May/June.
HOURS: 10am, 11a, 12pm, 1pm and 2pm.
LOCATION: 201 Van Ness avenue at Hayes.
TO GET THERE: From downtown, take MUNI subway S line/Castro and get off at Van Ness Outbound station. Use Trip Planner to find the best route for you.
DEPARTURE POINT: All tours leave from the Grove Street entrance of Davies Symphony Hall. Group tour reservations should be made two weeks in advance. For further information, contact Performing Arts Center Tours at (415) 552-8338.
NOTE: City Hall also offers FREE tours (Mondays to Fridays. At 10am, 12pm and 2pm) and it is located nearby.
The Academy of Art University has a redundant name but an excellent reputation as a school for the visual arts: graphic design, illustration, photography, computer arts, animation, and other related subjects. They often have window displays that showcase their students' work.
On a recent visit, I spent about half an hour walking around the outside of the University's building and perusing the exhibits. It was fascinating to read about these young up-and-coming artists and how they view their work.
79 New Montgomery Street, south of Market
The lobby of the Hyatt Regency at Embarcadero Center, foot of Market Street, is amazing, unlike any other I've ever seen. The upper floors lean inwards; their walkways are open to the lobby and are lined by gigantic planter boxes.
Hang out on the comfortable leather sofas in the lobby and watch the glass elevators, which look like hot air balloons, ascend and descend. If you're well-dressed and quiet and don't stay very long, no one will bother you.
The Intel Museum, at the Intel headquarters in Santa Clara, offers you an experience of the power of computer chips, how they developed, and an inside look at how processors work. The museum also shows you the several types of processors Intel makes (Pentium, Celeron, Xeon, etc.). The museum is kind of interesting, so if you are into computers, this museum is definitely a must-see -- although the museum is kind of small and requires no more than an hour. The admission to the museum is free.
You might not go out of your way to see this building, but if you pass by while visiting the city you'll recgonize it. It's known as Defenestration, which is defined as throwing a person or thing out a window. It was the brain-child of artist Brian Groggin. Furniture runs around the sides of the building and hangs precariously out of windows.
Location: South of Market at Sixth and Howard st.
Strern Grove is the wonderful outdoor concert series held every summer in the Sunset district. They book talent from the SF Ballet to Reggae and Rock shows. Get their early as it is all lawn seating and usually fills up fast.
This is a unique SF only experience!
where else can you sit in pitch darkness and "watch" music take the form of sound sculptures? This is a 49 seat sound space surrounded by speakers in the walls, ceilings, and floor. You sit in the dark with your eyes closed and listen as various types of music and sound are manipulated and layered through space, direction, and volume to create a unique sensory experience.
Warning- not for everyone--I saw people sleeping all the way through it, they were so relaxed. For others, I saw them walk out with a WTF look- they thought they should have been in Berkeley instead.
Audium is every Friday and Saturday at 8:30pm
Every Sunday from mid June through August the Stern Grove Festival Association presents free concerts in a beautiful amphitheatre surrounded by redwood and eucalyptus trees. Past performers have includes : the San Francisco Symphony and Ballet, Tower of Power, and Luncidia Wiliams.
The main entrance to Stern Grove is located at the intersection of 19th Avenue and Sloat Blvd.
A second Diego Rivera mural, The Making of a Fresco, can be seen at the San Francsico Art Institute.
Located at 600 Chestnut Street, the Institute is open to the public from 9 am til 8 pm daily.
One interesting aspect of this mural is that Rivera has painted himself into the fresco, as the artist seated on the scaffold.
In the early 1930's, Diego Rivera, husband of the famous Frida Kahlo, spent some time in San Francisco creating some of his murals. There are four of these still viewable in the City.
On the walls inside the Pacific Stock Exchange can be found Allegoria di California, or an Allegory of California.