San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) is the largest museum of modern art in the United States.
SFMoMA has about 170,000 square feet of galleries featuring artists such as Picasso, Henry Matisse, Chuck Close, Jeff Koons, Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein etc.
In this article, we explain everything you must know before visiting San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
How to reach SFMoMA
The SFMOMA has three entrances.
Regular visitors can use the first two –
1. Entrance on the Third Street between Mission and Howard
2. Entry on Howard Street between Hawthorne and Third Street
It is highly recommended that you use public transport to get to the Museum.
It is closest to Powell Street and Montgomery Street BART and SF Muni Light Rail stations.
If you prefer cable cars, the closest stops are Powell Street and California Street.
If a bus is your preferred mode of transport, get on to any bus heading towards Mission Street, Howard Street, Third Street, or Second Street near the
Driving to the museum? SFMoMA has got you covered.
Museum’s garage on Minna Street is a few steps away from Third Street main entrance.
The parking is open from 7 am to 11 pm daily.
151 3rd Street,
From Friday to Tuesday, the premier art destination opens at 10 am and closes at 5 pm.
On Thursday SFMoMA stays open longer – till 9 pm.
On Wednesday the Museum remains closed.
It is also closed on two holidays – Thanksgiving and Christmas.
How long does SFMoMA take?
The largest Museum of the country is a 7-story building filled with fantastic pieces.
Hence, sometimes spending a day admiring the art is not enough!
Having said that, you can explore the must-sees at the Modern Art Museum in two to three hours.
If you plan to stay longer, we recommend breaks in between (at the Museum café).
These breaks can help you beat art fatigue, as well as catch your breath.
Best time to visit SFMoMA
Art lovers from all over the World throng this place.
If you want to avoid the crowd, the best time to visit is early mornings on weekdays.
SFMoMA Thursday nights
One of the best time to visit San Francisco’s Modern Art Museum is Thursday night.
It remains open till 9 pm, and many special events are planned.
If you are staying late in the Museum, you can end the day with a Michelin-starred dinner at In Situ, in the in-house restaurant.
SFMoMA for Free
The 45,000 sq feet of art-filled space of SFMoMA requires no ticket!
There are many artworks on Floor 1 and 3 that offers a great introduction to the art of our time.
SFMoMA free Day
Occasionally, SFMoMA announces Free Family Day with many hands-on activities and movie screenings.
On such days, up to two adults may each claim a free ticket and they can be accompanied by a visitor 18 years and younger.
These free tickets can’t be booked online, and can only be claimed at the venue on the day.
The next free family day hasn’t been announced yet.
This ticket gives you access to all the permanent collection and the temporary exhibitions at the Museum.
These are smartphone tickets – they get emailed to you as soon as you make the purchase.
On the day of your visit, show the ticket on your phone along with a valid ID at the ticketing counters on the second floor.
Occasionally, there may be ‘special exhibition’ going on which would require an upgrade (which can be done on the 2nd floor).
SFMoMA ticket price
Adult ticket (25 to 64): 25 USD
Youth ticket (19 to 24): 19 USD
Seniors ticket (65+): 22 USD
Child ticket (0 to 18): Free entry
*Even though under-18s get in for free, you will still need to book a free ticket
What to see at SFMoMA
All of the SFMoMA exhibits are fantastic and equally breathtaking, but then it is humanly impossible to see all of them.
If you need a quick list, check out what the director of the Museum recommends –
• Mark Rothko, No. 14, 1960 (Floor 2)
• Frida Kahlo, Frieda and Diego Rivera (Floor 2)
• Alexander Calder, Constellation (Floor 3)
• Donald Judd, Copper Armchair (Floor 4)
• Diane Arbus gallery ( Floor 4)
• Ellsworth Kelly, Cite (Floor 4)
• Agnes Martin gallery (Floor 4)
• Andy Warhol, Triple Elvis ‘Ferus Type’ (Floor 5)
• Gerard Richter, Lesende ‘Reader’ (Floor 6)
• Jeff Koons, Large Vase of Flowers (Floor 7)
If you can spend four to five hours in the Museum, we have a long list for you.
Let’s start with the intricate Richard Serra’s behemoth walk-in sculpture Sequence. And them lets climb up…
Spot Matisse’s Femme au Chapeau along with artworks by Robert Rauschenberg.
Welcome to the floor dedicated to photography.
Apart from one of a kind clicks, have a look at AlexanderClader’s “motion Lab”.
Then step outside on the large terrace with a vertical garden and grab a coffee at Sightglass coffee bar.
Halfway through the museum, check out the progressive works of Ellsworth Kelly.
Up next, you’ll see Agnes Martin’s spirit rising artworks.
Head to the Fisher Collection with its minimal and pop art with Chuck Close and many more.
Then step into the Café 5 to save yourself from art fatigue.
Full and energised, have a look at the Fisher Collection with mind-blowing post-war German masterpieces.
Also, feast your eyes on the Museum’s famous sequence gallery dedicated to Gorge Baselitz and may more.
Almost out of time! Let’s run through contemporary pieces by Cindy Sherman and more. Not to mention the other media art on display.
Before you head out, visit the new Museum Store to buy a souvenir.
SFMoMA audio guide
You can’t buy/rent an audio guide for this SFO Art Museum.
However, you can explore SFMoMA with the help of their mobile app, which has beautifully produced stories about the artworks on display.
The apps haven’t been rated well by the tourists who have used them before, but you have got nothing to lose.
If you don’t like it, you can always uninstall.
Note: Don’t forget to charge your mobile and bring along your earphones.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a highly rated tourist attraction.
Check out two SFMoMA reviews we selected from Tripadvisor, which give you an idea of what to expect at this attraction.
Great stop for modern art lovers
I love Modern Art, and this Museum had a little of everything. Photography, Sculptures, Paintings, Videos and Music exhibits, Architecture, Light Art etc. It was well worth my time and money. – Netia1128, Denver, Colorado
This is a must see for anyone in San Francisco. From Warhol to Lichenstein, it is the major Modern Art home on the West Coast. The only competition – Getty in Los Angeles. – Aphmann, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
Art and food go along very well.
That’s why the three restaurants at this Museum are always in demand.
Sightglass at SFMoMA
The café is available on the 1st floor as well as the 3rd floor.
It serves an array of pastries and fantastic coffee.
Timings at Floor 1: Weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm, and weekends from 10 am to 5 pm. Closed on Wednesday.
Timings at Floor 3:Thursday to Tuesday 10 am to 4.30 pm. Closed on Wednesday.
Have a fine-dining family-friendly experience in this tranquil café and sculpture garden on the 5th floor.
The restaurant offers rich coffee, wines and seasonal ingredients.
From Friday to Tuesday it is open from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm, and on Thursdays, it opens at 10 am and closes at 8 pm.
This café remains closed on Wednesday.
With dishes from around the world, In Situ on 1st Floor is fine-dining redefined.
You can book your place in advance or walk-in to this Michelin-starred restaurant.
The timings are:
Thursday to Monday (for lunch): 11am to 3:30 pm
Thursday to Saturday (for dinner): 5 pm to 9 pm
Sunday: 5 pm to 8 pm.
In Situ is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Museum’s store is curated as carefully as the exhibits and has amazing books, toys, home décor and many more.
Your every purchase supports the exhibits and education programs.
We recommend you stop by the Museum Store on Floor 1 and 2 before you leave.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art can be a maze to any first time visitor.
The exhibits are spread over seven-stories, and there is a lot to see and do.
With the help of a floor plan, you won’t waste your time trying to find what you want to see.
A floor plan can also help you find the other tourist facilities such as washrooms, shops etc.
We recommend you bookmark this page or take a print out.
Download Floor Plan (pdf)