Also known as the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, this fine arts museum is known for its creative offerings as well as its unusual exterior and prime location in Golden Gate Park. As many people in the community were unhappy with a large museum being constructed in the middle of the park, the architects covered the building in 950,000 pounds of perforated copper in order for it to oxidize and eventually turn green, blending in with the landscape’s eucalyptus trees. Additionally, the textured copper helps the structure to imitate light shining in through a tree canopy. By doing this, the De Young Museum aims to act as a natural addition to the Golden Gate Park.
Upon first viewing the building, you’ll probably notice the striking copper exterior as well as the 144-foot twisting tower off to the side. Even if you’re not interested in art, the tower’s observation deck is worth the visit for a bird’s-eye view of Golden Gate Park and San Francisco. That being said, the institution showcases an impressive collection of American art from the colonial era through twentieth century, textiles, photography, and works from Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Moreover, De Young Museum often host special exhibits.
Before leaving, grab a bite at one of their cafes, browse the museum shop and stroll the 35,000 square foot sculpture garden outside, which is free to enjoy. The pieces are interesting to view, with many abstract works littered around the well-manicured space.
If you’re in San Francisco on a Friday night, the museum hosts a weekly “Friday Nights at the de Young.” The event features a mix of live music, dance performances, films, panel discussions, interactive art activities, special exhibitions and cocktails.