Al Fresco Brunch & Museum Day in SOMA
We chose this date as it allows you the most flexibility to mold this experience to your own idea of fun. The location is easy to get to via all public transport agencies, has three major museums within a literal stone's throw distance, and can be customized to be dog or kid friendly.
Estimated Cost: Moderately expensive
Estimate Duration: 1.5-5 hours
Best Days: Weekends
Best Time: 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Vibe: All the venues listed are quiet enough to enjoy easy conversation though we still recommend you use your quieter indoor voices at the museum exhibits.
1. Enjoy brunch at Samovar Tea Lounge
Samovar Tea Lounge sits a top the Yerba Buena Gardens's second-story overlook. An urban refuge from the fast pace of SOMA's shopping district, Samovar's menu boasts over 35 varieties of tea you can savor while you relax. They also offer beer and wine if your idea of a city sanctuary includes an ABV percentage. The patio is the best place to take in some of SF's most distinctive modern architecture juxtaposed against historic buildings. Because they don't take reservations, get there before you are hangry—the wait can be 20-30 minutes, on average, on the weekends.
Gluten-free french toast, waffles and sourdough toast available upon request.
Patio is dog friendly—woof!
Recommendation: Get a side of smoked duck instead of bacon for a savory treat.
2. Take a stroll in Yerba Buena Gardens
Explore the five-acre esplanade of landscaped lawns, public art, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial & Waterfall.
Art walks, concerts, and performances in the outdoor amphitheater are hosted here regularly.
See the 100-year-old indoor carousel on the corner of Howard and 4th street, or the second floor playground if you have kiddos.
Recommendation: bring a blanket to sit on to enjoy the well manicured knolls.
3. Check out the latest exhibits at one of three nearby museums
SF MOMA: $25 per person
Home of the renowned Doris and Donald Fisher Collection of postwar and contemporary art comprising more than 1,100 works by 185 artists.
Download the SFMOMA app so you can tour the museum with 15–45 minute guided immersive walks that take you through the galleries using indoor positioning technology.
With seven floors of art to see, be sure to take a break at Sightglass coffee on the third floor or head up to the fifth floor for a glass of wine in the sculpture garden.
YBCA: $10 per person
This is the best bet for you if you want like to discuss current events. YBCA states "it’s the responsibility of arts institutions to spur and support societal movement," and they do it based on what's happening in our culture and politics.
YBCA is a non-collecting organization. Meaning, they don't spend resources acquiring and showcasing permanent, specific art collections. Instead, they devote resources to hosting exhibitions, educational programming, events, and public outreach.
Contemporary Jewish Museum: $14 per person
The CJM is also a non-collecting museum that partners with cultural institutions to present exhibitions that are both timely and relevant where new perspectives on Jewish culture, history, art, and ideas.
The first thing you will note about the CJM is its striking, unique architecture. The building’s shape is derived from the Hebrew letters, chet and yud, which together spell chai, the Hebrew word for “life.”