Learn more about the art legacy of San Francisco. Did you know the Bay Area has not one but two larger-than-life bronzes of “The Thinker” by Auguste Rodin? Do you know where the city’s Diego Rivera murals are located? Has it been too long since you toured the Mission’s Clarion Alley murals or veered off Market Street for a visit to Yerba Buena Gardens to see the nation’s third largest memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr.? It’s also worth noting that the wonderful 1930s murals of Coit Tower have been restored.
Oakland Art Murmur
Dates: First Friday of every month
Earning great word of mouth since its 2006 beginning, the OAM/First Friday evenings between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. now encompass 40 galleries and project venues. Head for Telegraph Avenue from Grand to 27th for food trucks, musicians, performers, pop-up everything and dancing in the streets — it’s a combination DIY art walk and street festival. Lots of spillover into Jack London Square and other neighborhoods makes a map a handy tool. During Saturday Stroll Artwalk the following day, exhibits, talks, films and special events take place during the more leisurely afternoon from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
OAM Walking Tours
Dates: 3rd Saturday of every month, 2 to 4 p.m.
The third Saturday of every month marks another spinoff from the success of Oakland Art Murmur Galleries. Just show up at 2 p.m. for the changing two-hour walk led by Oakland-based artists, writers and curators. There’s access to one or more galleries and a brief talk from someone associated with the art in each one. Some Saturdays are family-oriented. Check the website for the weekly rendezvous location, guide and itinerary.
Outdoor Sculpture Walk at Stanford University
Cantor Arts Center
328 Lomita Drive at Museum Way
Stanford, CA 94305
Dates: First Sunday of each month, 2 p.m.
On the Stanford University campus, the Cantor Arts Center has one of the world’s largest collections of Auguste Rodin, including 20 major works in the Rodin Sculpture Garden. Join a docent for a free tour that takes in masterpieces such as “The Thinker” “The Gates of Hell” and “Burghers of Calais.” There’s much more to see in the distinguished outdoor sculpture collection. Meet the first Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. at the Main Quad. Tours are free and museum admission is free.
Related: Best Museum Tours in San Francisco
Precita Eyes Mural Arts
See the Mission in a new light. Founded in 1977, the community-based multi-faceted arts organization has already escorted more than 20,000 residents and visitors on interpretive walking tours of the Mission’s permanent and changing murals. The fascinating tours are: The Classic Mission Mural Walk on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 p.m., Precita Park Tour on Sundays at 11 a.m. and Mission Trail Mural Walk on Saturdays at 11 a.m. Tours are conducted by muralists and each weekend offers something different. San Francisco residents receive a discount.
Coit Tower Murals
San Francisco City Guides
Meet at Coit Tower atop Telegraph Hill
Dates: For a list of upcoming tours, please check the website
The fabulous 1930s murals painted by 25 artists depict California scenes of the Great Depression. Recently restored, your San Francisco City Guides tour will shed light on the circular gallery works. The tour meets up every Wednesday and Saturday at 11 a.m., all year round, no reservations required. The tour is free with donations welcome for the non-profit organization that has relied on volunteers since 1978. Muni Line 39 is one way up, but for those who can manage it, the best way up are the stairs.
Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she’s writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Yahoo, USA Today, eHow, and on Examiner.com.