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San Francisco Museums

San Francisco Museums Overview

San Francisco

Museums in San Francisco include the Exploratorium, San Francisco Maritime Museum, MOMA, de Young Museum, Walt Disney Family Museum, Napa Valley Museum, Bay Area Discovery Museum, U.S.S. Hornet Museum, Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum, UC Berkeley Art Museum, CuriOdyssey Museum, Computer History Museum, Children's Discovery Museum and Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum. From Wine Country to San Jose and San Francisco to Berkeley, discover an interesting museum in San Francisco.

Museums in San Francisco

San Francisco Maritime Museum is located at the north end of the Embarcadero and Fisherman's Wharf starting at Pier 45. It consists of several piers with an historic tall ship, ferry boat and WWII submarine. Tours are available and facilities can be rented for group events.

San Francisco Maritime Museum
900 Beach Street
San Francisco, California 94123
(415) 561-6662

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Exploratorium San Francisco is located off Interstate 80 a short distance east of Fisherman's Wharf. It houses a collection of exhibits and hands-on demonstrations of modern science, biology and physics. This is a great place for both children and adults to expand their minds.

Exploratorium San Francisco
Pier 15 Embarcadero
San Francisco, California 94111
(415) 528-4444

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Wax Museum at Fisherman's Wharf features 100,000 square feet of wax figures depicting everything from celebrities, religions, history, art and horror. Exhibits include The Last Supper, King Tut's Tomb, The Wizard of Oz, Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, U.S. Presidents and many, many more.

Wax Museum at Fisherman's Wharf
145 Jefferson Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
(800) 439-4305

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Museum of Modern Art is located in Downtown San Francisco off Market Street. It houses a fantastic collection of mind contorting art from abstract paintings and modern sculptures to the just weird and bizarre. The building itself is a modern art must see.

Museum of Modern Art MOMA
151 Third Street
San Francisco, California 94103
(415) 357-4000

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de Young Museum

De Young Museum is situated in Golden Gate and Lincoln Parks and comprises one of this nation's largest art museums. Exhibits include paintings, statuary, photographs, textiles and more. A climb to the top of the de Young building awards panoramic views of Golden Gate Park.

Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco
Golden Gate Park
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 750-3600

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California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is situated in Golden Gate Park. It features a compilation of educational facilities including the Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium, Kimball Natural History Museum and a 4-story rainforest. Walk over a shark tank, view images from space, come face-to-face with a Tyrannosaurus Rex and peer into an actual bat cave all in one day.

California Academy of Sciences
Golden Gate Park
55 Music Concourse Drive
San Francisco, California 94118
(415) 379-8000

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Asian Art Museum is located in downtown San Francisco near City Hall. It features art and artifacts from all Asian cultures and includes paintings, ceramics, basketry, textiles, sculpture and more. Topics include Asian history, the Ming Dynasty, Opium Wars and Gold Country prospecting.

Asian Art Museum
Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture
200 Larkin Street
San Francisco, California 94102
(415) 581-3500

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Contemporary Jewish Museum is located in Downtown San Francisco across from the Yerba Buena Gardens. It features art and artifacts by Jewish artists or representing the Jewish culture. Exhibits also include movies, lectures, literary readings and more.

Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 655-7800

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Wells Fargo History Museum is located off Interstate 80 in Downtown San Francisco. Situated in the Financial District, this is the site of the first Wells Fargo office that opened for business in 1852. Exhibits include an 1860's Concord Coach and gold dust & ore from California Gold Country.

Wells Fargo History Museum
420 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94163
(415) 396-2619

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Cable Car Museum is located in Downtown San Francisco near Chinatown. It focuses on the history of cable cars in San Francisco. Exhibits include photographs, displays and historic cable cars. Their gift shop sells cable car related merchandise. Afterwards, hop on the Powell/Mason cable car for the full cable car experience.

Cable Car Museum
1201 Mason Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 474-1887

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San Francisco Railway Museum is located off Interstate 80 in Downtown San Francisco. Situated across from the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero, it commemorates San Francisco's rail transit history with historic artifacts, illustrative displays, rare photographs and a full-sized replica of a 1911 San Francisco streetcar.

San Francisco Railway Museum
77 Steuart Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 974-1948

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Walt Disney Family Museum is located off Highway 101 near the entrance to the Golden Gate Bridge. Situated in the Presidio, a former Army base, it showcases photos, drawings and artifacts that trace the history of Walt Disney from his cartooning to the completion of his amusement park. A state-of-the-art theater displays classic Disney films that rotate monthly.

The Walt Disney Family Museum
104 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94129
(415) 345-6800

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Cartoon Art Museum is located in Downtown San Francisco between 2nd and 3rd streets. It features art from movies, superhero comics, newspaper comics, graphic novels, Japanese anime and more.

Cartoon Art Museum
655 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 227-8666

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Museum of the African Diaspora is located off Interstate 80 from the 4th or 5th Street exits. It focuses on the culture, art and history of people of African descent within the United States and globally. Topics include the origins of man in Africa, rituals, adornment, music, food, slavery and freedom.

Museum of the African Diaspora
685 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 358-7200

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Legion of Honor is located off Highway 1 from Geary Boulevard. Situated in Lincoln Park overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, the Legion of Honor is a fine art museum with a collection of European paintings, European decorative art & sculpture, graphic arts, photographs, multimedia and more.

Legion of Honor
100 34th Avenue
San Francisco, California 94121
(415) 750-3547

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Museum of Craft and Design is located off Highway 101 from Cesar Chavez Street. It features crafts and design in many different topics and mediums including glass, precious metals, wood, jewelry, ceramics, sculpture, photography, graphic design and more.

Museum of Craft and Design
2569 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 773-0303

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SFO Museum is located off Highway 101 from the San Francisco Airport exit. Situated within the San Francisco Airport, exhibits are located at several locations throughout the airport terminals and feature ever-changing exhibitions on many topics including decorative arts, anthropology, pop-culture, aviation and many more.

SFO Museum
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
San Francisco, CA 94128
(650) 553-8043

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Randall Museum is located in the heart of San Francisco off Interstate 80. Situated in Corona Heights Park, it attracts young naturalists with exhibits like Wild in the City, Living with a Restless Earth, Healthy Oceans and Windswept. Resident animals include a Brown Pelican, Desert Tortoise, Gopher Snake, Great Horned Owl, Mallard Duck and more. A small theater hosts theatrical performances, movies, comedians, magicians and jugglers to name a few.

Randall Museum
199 Museum Way
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 554-9600

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San Francisco Film Museum is located off Highway 101 in Downtown San Francisco. It celebrates the history of filmmaking in San Francisco. From the famous chase scene in Bullit to an unlucky day for bank robbers in Dirty Harry, to Raiders of the Lost Ark and Milk, thousands of films have had scenes filmed in San Francisco.

San Francisco Film Museum
1755 Van Ness Avenue
Suite 101
San Francisco, CA 94109
No Phone

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Wine Country Museums

Napa Valley Museum is located off Highway 29 in Yountville. Explore Napa Valley's environment, culture, history and creative expression through exhibits. Learn about the geology that makes Napa a world-renowned wine producer. Discover the cultural diversities of the region from Native Americans to Chinese workers, European immigrants and migrant laborers. Exhibits include paintings, sculpture, photographs, prints, film, video and crafts.

Napa Valley Museum
55 Presidents Circle
Yountville, CA 94599
(707) 944-0500

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Napa Firefighters Museum is located off Highway 29 in Downtown Napa. See fire equipment that was used by the Napa Fire Department from the 1850's to mid 1900's. It includes a collection that precedes fire engines when fire crews used hand pumps, hose carts and horse-drawn steamers. The collection also includes historic engines, hydrants, extinguishers, clothes patches, photos and more.

Napa Firefighters Museum
1201 Main Street
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 259-0609

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Bay Area Discovery Museum is located off Highway 1 from Alexander Avenue. Situated at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, it seeks to engage, delight and educate children through exploration and connection with the local environment. Exhibits include Imagination Playground, Art Studios, Lookout Cove, Wave Workshop and more.

Bay Area Discovery Museum
557 McReynolds Road
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 339-3900

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Tiburon Railroad Museum is located off Highway 131 from Tiburon Boulevard. Situated in the historic Tiburon Depot, it houses models, photographs and artifacts of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad. The second floor depicts living conditions of railroad workers of the 1920's.

Tiburon Railroad & Ferry Depot Museum
1920 Paradise Drive
Tiburon, CA 94920
(415) 435-1853

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Marin History Museum is located off Highway 101 from 2nd Street. Situated in the former home of Louise Boyd, an Arctic Explorer, it showcases the innovation and creativity of the people of Marin County. Exhibit topics include law enforcement, San Quentin, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin IJ newspaper, Louise A. Boyd and more.

Marin History Museum
1125 B Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 454-8538

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Bolinas Museum is located off Highway 1 between Point Reyes and San Francisco. Situated on the edge of Bolinas Lagoon, it features fine art from local Marin artists.

Bolinas Museum
48 Wharf Road
Bolinas, CA 94924
(415) 868-0330

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Museum of the American Indian is located off Highway 101 from De Long Avenue. It promotes understanding and appreciation of Native American cultures with exhibits of jewelry, basketry, pottery, ceremonial dress, tools and more. Tribes represented include the Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo to as far north as Eskimo.

Museum of the American Indian
2200 Novato Blvd
Novato, CA 94947
(415) 897-4064

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Petaluma Historical Museum is located off Highway 101 from Washington Street. Situated in the historic 1904 Carnegie Library building, it houses exhibits on Petaluma's poultry, dairy and Miwok Indian history from the 1850's. Other exhibits include vintage wedding gowns and rotating exhibits.

Petaluma Historical Museum
20 4th Street
Petaluma, CA 94952
(707) 778-4398

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Petaluma Wildlife Museum is located off Highway 101 from Washington Street. It features murals, stuffed wild animals, dinosaur bones and living animals. The African exhibit depicts gazelle, elephant, zebra, lion and other native African animals in a natural scene. Also on display from Africa are authentic artifacts from multiple East African tribes. The North American exhibit includes mountain goats, big horn sheep, wolf, eagle and a rare white bear. Live animals include exotic insects, iguanas, turtles, snakes, frogs and more.

Petaluma Wildlife Museum
201 Fair Street
Petaluma, CA 94952
(707) 778-4787

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Sonoma Valley Museum of Art is located off Highway 12 in Downtown Sonoma. It features modern and contemporary art showcased in exhibition galleries and held in an art library. It also features an art studio and classroom offering workshops.

Sonoma Valley Museum of Art
551 Broadway
Sonoma, CA 95476
(707) 939-7862

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Western Railway Museum is located off Rio Vista Road (Hwy 12). It features over 50 historic electric streetcars and electric trains from all over California and other western states. The grounds includes railway exhibits, a store, gift shop and picnic grounds. Train rides are offered over the restored main line of the old Sacramento Northern Railway.

Western Railway Museum
5848 California 12
Suisun City, CA 94585
(707) 374-2978

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East Bay Museums

Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum is located off Interstate 80 from Air Base Parkway. Situated near the Travis Air Force Base, the Jimmy Doolittle Center has one of the largest collections of military aircraft on the west coast. It features warbird exhibits, a gift shop and picnic grounds. Planes include the F-4 Phantom, F-86 Sabre, B-29 Superfortress, B-52 Stratofortress, a space capsule and many more. Topics include Jimmy Doolittle, the Wright Brothers, Tuskegee Airmen, WASP, Berlin Airlift and Project Gemini to name a few.

Jimmy Doolittle Center
300 County Airport Road
Suite C4
Vacaville, CA 95688
(415) 847-1423

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Benicia Historical Museum is located off Interstate 780 from Park Road. It consists of 4 historic buildings that were once U.S. Military Arsenal sites. Artifacts pertain to the history of Benicia including the Camel Barns which document an 1800's U.S. Army experiment in using camels as pack animals.

Benicia Historical Museum
2060 Camel Road
Benicia, CA 94510
(707) 745-5435

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Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum is located off Interstate 80 from Curtola Parkway. Situated in Downtown Vallejo, they collect and share the history of Vallejo and the U.S. Navy at Mare Island.

Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum
734 Marin Street
Vallejo, CA 94590
(707) 643-0077

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Vacaville Museum is located off Interstate 80. It focuses on the cultural and historical preservation of Solano County. Exhibits include photographs, clothing, local landscape paintings, agricultural artifacts and more.

Vacaville Museum
213 Buck Avenue
Vacaville, CA 95688
(707) 447-4513

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Golden State Model Railroad Museum is located off Interstate 580. It features 10,000 square feet of model trains. Highly-detailed model train layouts depict scenery from Northern and Central California. Train sets include freight and passenger trains from the steam train era to modern day diesels in O, HO and N scales.

Golden State Model Railroad Museum
900 Dornan Drive
Point Richmond, CA 94801
(510) 234-4884

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UC Berkeley Art Museum is located off Interstates 80/580 from University Avenue. It features international art from classical Asian art to modern art by today's artists. More than 14,000 objects comprise the collection of paintings, photographs, drawings and more.

UC Berkeley Art Museum
2626 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA 94720
(510) 642-0808

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UC Berkeley Museum of Paleontology is located off Interstates 80/580 from University Avenue. It contains the largest paleontological collection of any university in the world. The collection is comprised of microfossils, invertebrate, vertebrate and plant specimens from every continent. View fossils of crinoids, mollusks, dinosaurs, plants and mammals to name a few.

UC Berkeley Museum of Paleontology
1101 Valley Life Sciences Bldg
Berkeley, CA 94720
(510) 642-1821

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Lindsay Wildlife Museum is located off Interstate 680 from Geary Road. It features close up views of live wild animals like the red-tailed hawk, gray fox, bald eagle, black widow spider, alligator lizard and many more California native species. It also functions as a wildlife veterinary clinic.

Lindsay Wildlife Museum
1931 1st Avenue
Walnut Creek, CA 94597
(925) 935-1978

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Blackhawk Museum is located off Interstate 680 from Crow Canyon Road. It features nearly 100 historically significant and artistically inspired European automobiles in 70,000 square feet of space. Many of their vehicles are former award winners at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Blackhawk Museum
3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle
Danville, CA 94506
(925) 736-2277

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Museum of San Ramon Valley is located off Interstate 680 from either El Cerro Boulevard or Sycamore Valley Road. Situated in Downtown Danville in the 1891 Southern Pacific Depot, it preserves and showcases the rich history of the San Ramon Valley. Exhibits include artifacts, illustrations, photographs and hands-on displays.

Museum of San Ramon Valley
205 Railroad Avenue
Danville, CA 94526
(925) 837-3750

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U.S.S. Hornet Aircraft Carrier is located off Interstate 880 from the Posey and Webster Street tubes. The U.S.S. Hornet is best known for its participation in WWII and retrieving astronauts during the Apollo space missions. Visitors are given full access to the carrier including the primary flight control room, Captain's bridge, weapons room, engine room, torpedo shop and more. Over a dozen warbirds include the F-14 Tomcat, F-8 Crusader, T-28 Trojan, HUP-1 Retriever and SH-3H Sikorsky Sea King to name a few. Also included are Apollo space mission artifacts, aircraft carrier memorials, a photo gallery, special exhibits and flight simulators.

U.S.S. Hornet Museum
707 West Hornet Avenue
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 521-8448

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South Bay Museums

CuriOdyssey Museum is located off Highway 101 from Coyote Point Drive. It features mostly native California wild animals that cannot be released back into the wild. Nearly 100 animals include golden eagles, bobcats, porcupine, owls, hawks, snakes, turtles and many more. Native gardens offer educational respite for visitors to investigate plants, insects and birds.

CuriOdyssey Museum
1651 Coyote Point Drive
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 342-7755

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Hiller Aviation Museum is located off Highway 101 from Holly Street. It chronicles aviation history as far back as 1869. Aircraft on display range from gliders and biplanes to modern-day spy planes and helicopters. A flight simulator offers a variety of different aircraft options.

Hiller Aviation Museum
601 Skyway Road
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 654-0200

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San Mateo County History Museum is located off Highway 101 from Whipple Avenue. Situated in the historic 1910 County Courthouse, it highlights the events and people that helped shape San Mateo County. Exhibits focus on Native Indians, transportation, suburban living, settlers & migrants, entrepreneurs, Maverick's big wave break and more.

San Mateo County History Museum
2200 Broadway Street
Redwood City, CA 94063
(650) 299-0104

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Computer History Museum is located off Highway 101 from Shoreline Boulevard. Situated in the heart of the Silicon Valley along with Microsoft, Google and other internet giants, it documents the history and rapid rise of computers. Learn about the early pioneers of the computer industry and their inventions that created the building blocks for today's machines.

Computer History Museum
1401 North Shoreline Boulevard
Mountain View, CA 94043
(650) 810-1010

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Triton Museum of Art is located off Interstate 280 from Winchester Boulevard. Situated across from the Santa Clara Civic Center, it features contemporary and historical works with emphasis on Bay Area artists.

Triton Museum of Art
1505 Warburton Avenue
Santa Clara, CA 95050
(408) 247-3754

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The Lace Museum is located off Highway 101 from Mathilda Avenue. It showcases an extensive collection of lace and lace-making tools. Exhibits include hundreds of tools, lace samples, books and other materials covering the history of lace. Lace making classes with experienced instructors are offered.

The Lace Museum & Guild
552 South Murphy Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
(408) 730-4695

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San Jose Museum of Art is located off Guadalupe Parkway (Hwy 87) from San Francisco Street. Situated in Downtown San Jose, it features modern and contemporary art a focus on West Coast art. Over 1,400 artworks range from modern masterpieces to recent works by emerging artists.

San Jose Museum of Art
110 South Market Street
San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 271-6840

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The Tech Museum is located off Guadalupe Parkway (Hwy 87) from San Francisco Street. Situated in Downtown San Jose, it explores the latest technologies with hands-on learning exhibits. Topics include renewable energies, medical advances, the Silicon Valley, virtual worlds, earthquakes, space and oceanography. An IMAX theater features educational films on a giant screen dome.

The Tech Museum
201 South Market Street
San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 294-8324

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Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum is located off Interstate 880 from the Alameda. It features the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts on exhibit in western North America. Exhibits include burial coffins, mummies, perfume bottles, games, sculptures and much more from the tombs of ancient Egyptian Pharaohs.

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
1660 Park Avenue
San Jose, CA 95191
(408) 947-3635

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San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles is located off Interstate 280. Situated in Downtown San Jose, it combines the traditional art of quilt making with modern technologies. View quilts made of re-purposed materials, digitally rendered using Photoshop & 3D programs, foreign textiles, wedding quilts and more.

San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
520 South First Street
San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 971-0323

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Children's Discovery Museum is located at the intersection of the 280 and 87 Freeways. Situated in Downtown San Jose, it promotes learning with interactive exhibits you can test, crank, listen, prod and tinker. Exhibits include The Art Loft, Secrets of Circles, Kids' Garden, Wonder Cabinet and more.

Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose
180 Woz Way
San Jose, CA 95110
(408) 298-5437

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Japanese American Museum is located off Highway 87 from St.James Street. Situated in Downtown San Jose, it collects, preserves and shares Japanese art, history and culture with the community. An emphasis is on the Bay Area with exhibits on Japanese immigrant farming, pioneers of Japantown, WWII internment camps, Asahi baseball team and more.

Japanese American Museum of San Jose
535 North 5th Street
San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 294-3138

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Portuguese Historical Museum is located off the 280 freeway from the 10th Street exit. It's situated next to the Japanese Friendship Garden and a small zoo. focus is on the culture and history of Portuguese immigrants and their role in the Gold Rush and whaling & dairy industries. Exhibits include a replica of the first Portuguese church.

Portuguese Historical Museum
1650 Senter Road
San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 287-2290

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum is located off Highway 85 from the Almaden Expressway. Situated in Almaden County Park, it showcases the history of this cinnabar mine that began mining in 1845 under Mexican ownership. Mercury is extracted from cinnabar and is necessary in the processing of gold and silver. Exhibits include a diorama of the mine shaft, history of mining communities, artifacts from immigrant miners and more. The 'Casa Grande' estate was once a resident for mine superintendents and is now open to visitors.

Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum
21350 Almaden Road
San Jose, CA 95120
(408) 323-1107

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


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