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Art Tours

There's so much going on in the Bay Area art scene that we thought that self-guided Art Tours would be a digestable way to check some of it out at your own pace. We've picked a few different themes and thrown out some ideas and a map -- for you to explore on your own.

We try to keep the information on these tours as update as possible, but we suggest that you double check the venues' locations and hours of operation before heading out. If you find that anything has changed or you would like to make suggestions, email us.

Also, we suggest checking out the San Francisco Arts Commission's website for more self-guided tours of public art in San Francisco at


San Francisco Mural and Steet Art Tour

Last updated: June 2010
Spending a day visiting local mural sites not only brings an eyeful of free art, but also offers a visual narrative of key cultural, historic and creative forces responsible for making San Francisco the city it is today. This tour explores the most colorful attractions gracing San Francisco.
Take the tour.


San Francisco Textiles & Fiber Art Tour

Last updated: June 2010
We've put together a list of must-see locations for all things fiber and textile-related, creating a tapestry of famous spaces and little known spots that spans across the city. Designed to illustrate the intersection of culture, technique and tradition, this tour is an opportunity to see historical examples as well as to introduce the work of up and coming contemporary fiber artists.
Take the tour.

San Jose

Downtown San Jose

Last updated: June 2010
Though San Jose is better known for its techies rather than its artsy crowd, the downtown SoFA District is quickly becoming a hot destination for art lovers. Its multi-faceted arts scene is growing by the day, offering countless opportunities to experience and engage with the work of local and international artists. This tour explores the rich history, a burgeoning arts scene, and public art around San Jose.
Take the tour.


Photoplay San Francisco

Last updated: November 2007
This tour shows off San Francisco's own star quality by highlighting places around the city to look at photographs, see films, and their close cousin, videos. We've mapped out a variety of spots across San Francisco to see the latest in contemporary photography to sites that house nostalgic images of the city's past -- and everything in between. It's all about looking at images -- moving in space or frozen in time.
Take the tour.


Oakland Arts Community

Last updated: September 2007
Oakland has always been an attractive location for artists wanting affordable studio spaces and low-cost housing. In recent years, artist collectives and alternative art spaces began to flourish around the city's Northgate district, spanning outward toward the fringes of West Oakland's Lower Bottoms and Temescal neighborhoods. Take an inside look into Oakland's vibrant arts community on this 12-stop grand prix tour to see what each space is all about!
Take the tour.

Palo Alto

Palo Alto Public Art Tour

Last updated: September 2007
Favorite haunts like University Avenue, the Stanford campus and the nearby Stanford Shopping Center draw eager visitors from around the Bay Area and beyond to Palo Alto. But to please your inner aesthete, this tour will take you to the picturesque, yet quirky grounds of Byxbee Park, past murals from East Palo Alto's student-driven Mural Art Project, then on to Stanford for works from some of the art world's most renowned sculptors.
Take the tour.

Female Artists

San Francisco Tour of Public Art by Female Artists

Last updated: December 2007
In San Francisco parks, gardens and public spaces, permanent works of public art quietly enhance the cityscape for both residents and visitors alike. This self-guided Public Art Tour questions the notion that public art is something to glance at along the way to someplace else. Because there are so many works of public art at each of the following stops, we've chosen to exclusively highlight the contributions of female artists to the San Francisco cityscape.
Take the tour.


San Francisco's Glass Arts Tour

Last updated: June 2010
Beginning in the second half of the 19th century, the roots of glass art in San Francisco took hold as artisans from such local studios as the United Art Glass Company created many of the famous stained-glass windows that adorn the city's public spaces, both sacred and secular. This left behind a continuing legacy of the glass art tradition. This tour is designed to give both a historic and a contemporary perspective of this vibrant medium.
Take the tour.


San Francisco Cartoon Art Tour

Last updated: May 2010
If you just can't get enough of comic books and cartoon art, devote a day to our San Francisco Cartoon Art Tour. Along the way, you'll delve into cartooning's past, revel in its present and even get to try your hand at creating an animated film. If you want to hit every spot on the list and include time for lunch, allot at least six hours to complete this self-guided tour and schedule your adventure for Wednesday through Sunday, when all locations mentioned are open.
Take the tour.

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