328 Lomita Drive
Stanford, CA 94305
Located on the Stanford University campus, the Cantor Arts Center is home to some of the Bay’s best public art. Take a stroll through the all-hours Rodin sculpture garden, or head indoors to check out a vast variety of art in a broad range of styles. The museum houses permanent collections of contemporary, Native American, European, Asian and African art. The museum is open six days a week, Wednesday through Monday, is wheelchair and stroller accessible and admission is always free.
1275 Walnut St.
Berkeley, CA 94709
Nestled in Berkeley’s Live Oak Park, the Berkeley Art Center is open Wed. through Sunday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. There is no admission fee. The gallery features art created by local and regional artists in a wide range of media. In addition to regularly rotating indoor exhibits, there is an open-air sculpture patio. The art center also hosts a wide variety of programs ranging from member portfolio reviews to free art in the park events that include live music and hands-on workshops.
2809 MacArthur Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94602
Brainchild of installation artist Jocelyn Meggait, Free Oakland Up offers a most unique experience for art lovers of all types. The studio/storefront is home to a varying array of socially interactive free gallery exhibits, a studio space filled with free supplies and a gift shop where everything is, you guessed it, free. Meggait built upon the ideas behind “freecycling” and bartering for art and services to create a spot where creating, viewing and bringing home art is accessible to everyone. Free Oakland Up is open Thursday through Sundays from noon – 4 p.m.
Related: Best Art Museums In San Francisco
560 South 1st St.
San Jose, CA 95113
Situated in the heart of downtown San Jose, the Institute of Contemporary Art offers free admission to a wide variety of rotating exhibits. Recent exhibitions include everything from Sophia Allison and Leanne Lee’s re-purposed organic coffee filter sculptures to large-scale paintings by abstract artist Naomie Kremer. The institute is open six days a week from Tuesday through Sunday, with extended hours during San Jose’s South First Fridays. It also conducts a number of nominal fee programs including professional development and artist talks.
1777 California Drive
Burlingame, CA 94010
The Peninsula Museum of Art is located in Burlingame and is dedicated to celebrating diversity through fostering creativity. Rotating exhibits feature artists hailing from all areas of the greater Bay Area, and include everything from mixed media and ceramics to extreme photography and ink paintings. The museum is open from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays, and admission is free. The museum’s Peninsula Art Institute also fosters a strong creative community and hosts studio space for select area artists.