Who says you have to surrender your love for art when you have children? Not the creative peeps at the De Young Museum.
Instead, they have crafted a museum that lures and inspires young people, despite the Academy of Sciences, that temptress across the street. Highlights for kids include the viewing tower (which gives a 360 degree view of the park and city), the vibrant collection of modern art in the museum collection, and the rotating exhibits. Their garden makes a lovely place for your kids to run (and climb–that is, until they get in trouble for exploring the sculptures). The cafe serves pricey organic fare in a lofty dining room.
Local families love the free Friday night happy hour, with live music, themed exhibits and even a hands on crafts project for children. The bar is open, the music is flowing and us parents don’t feel like ogres, stuck in our homes while the rest of the city pops the cork on their wine. Note that you have to pay to view the exhibits, but the lobby area feels like a huge party, so you don’t have to fork over the cash.
On Saturdays, the museum offers tours and art activities for kids aged 4-12. From 10:30am to noon (for nonmembers), artists will teach your child all about the current exhibits. If your kids are over 6, you can drop them off and tour the museum on your own. Happy freedom.
If you really want to culture it up, you get free admission to the Legion of Honor (on the same day) with your De Young ticket.
Muni: N (9th Ave).