Mexican Museum in San Francisco

What to Expect During Your Visit

The Mexican Museum in San Francisco dedicates its space to significant pieces from the Mexican, Chicano and Latin cultures. Their collection includes more than 14,000 pieces from Pre-Hispanic works of the Mayan and Aztec societies to modern day, contemporary art.

They are affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC which means all items in this SF museum must be authenticated. This relationship allows them to display objects and exhibits from this world-class institution.

mexican museum sf
This is just one example of the types of pieces you will see at the museum. It is the Canberra Devil made from glass, metal and fabric flowers.

The Mexican Museum in San Francisco initially opened in 1975. It was the dream of artist Peter Rodriquez, who originally built it in SF's Mission District.

In 1982, they moved it to the Fort Mason Center after it outgrew their first facility.

In 2015, they announced that they will relocate to a new facility in SF's South of Market (SOMA) district. They were originally scheduled to move there in 2018, but the current estimate is that the new structure will be complete and they will reopen in this location at the end of 2020.

Their new facility will be at 3rd and Mission Streets right next to the Contemporary Jewish Art Museum, across the street from the Museum of African Diaspora and a block away from the SF Museum of Modern Art.

Hours & Pricing

A visit to the Mexican Museum in San Francisco is free, though donations are welcome. You can drop money into their donation box either before or after your visit.

I typically spend about an hour here, but you could spend a little more time if you want to take a closer look at all of their pieces of display.

They are open Thursday - Sunday from 12pm to 4pm.

They close on the following holidays:
New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, July Fourth (and the Friday before), Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day

Mexican Museum in San Francisco: Permanent Collection

The museum collection covers just three rooms. This is where you can see the majority of their permanent collection. However, they have once again outgrown their current space, so can only show a portion of their pieces at any time.

Ancient Americas

The Ancient Americas gallery of the museum features artifacts from the Mayan, Zapotec, Aztec, Olmec and Incan civilizations. Items on display include tools and mythological figures from each tribe. There are more than 2,500 pieces in this collection that span over 2,500 years.

Colonial Art

This collection includes antique textiles, religious statues and intricately carved furnishings. Pieces in this gallery are from the 1400s to the early 1800s.

over the rainbow painting
This piece is a new addition to their permanent collection. It's entitled 'Over the Rainbow' and was painted by Alfredo Arreguin.

Folk Art

This gallery of the Mexican Museum in San Francisco displays pieces from the Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection of Folk Art. These works of art were donated to them in 1986.

Modern Art

Here you will see paintings, sculptures and works on paper from well-known artists such as Diego Rivera, Carlos Merida and Miguel and Rosa Covarrubias.

contemporary artwork
These are just a few of the more modern works at the museum.

Mexican American/Chicano Contemporary Art

The final collection is from modern day artists such as Carmen Lomas Garza, Manuel Neri and Rupert Garcia. Their collection includes more than 1,000 pieces.

Location & How to Get Here

The Mexican Museum in San Francisco is at Fort Mason Center, Building D. Fort Mason is on the western side of Fisherman's Wharf.

map mexican museum

From Fisherman's Wharf

  • Walk: The easiest way to get to Fort Mason from Fisherman's Wharf is to walk. There is a short cut along the waterfront. It's up a steep hill, but much faster than walking all the way around. Plus, this walk gives you some amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and Fort Mason from above.

fishermans wharf to fort mason

  • Walking Path: Walk along the waterfront at Aquatic Park and continue along the path toward the Pier. Before you reach the Pier, turn left and take the walking path up the hill. You will then walk along that path until you see the first set of stairs down into Fort Mason. It's about a 10 to 15 minute walk.

From Union Square

  • Cable Car: The Hyde/Powell cable car line drops you off right in front of Aquatic Park. Once you arrive, use the walking map above to reach Fort Mason.

  • F Street Car: The F Street Car will drop you off on Jefferson Street near Boudin Bakery. Walk west toward Aquatic Park and then follow the map above.

How else can I help you with your visit to the Mexican Museum in San Francisco?

Add your questions or comments below!

SF Mexican Museum

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Hi there! I'm Jill and I love writing about San Francisco travel as much as I love exploring my amazing city. Thanks for stopping by and please contact me if you have any questions before your trip.

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