Museum Hours
Thurs: 1 PM–8 PM
Fri–Mon: 10 AM–5 PM
Tue–Wed: Closed
Cafe Hours
The cafe is temporarily closed.
200 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

Tour Options

To support our community’s physical distancing efforts, group tours are temporarily suspended.

Collection Tours

Along the Silk and Spice Routes

For more than 2,000 years, a network of overland and maritime trade routes connected East and West, linking the powerful and culturally diverse regions of China, India, Persia, Egypt and Rome. Delve into the artistic legacy of the silk and spice routes discovering how trade, travel and cultural exchange transformed and remade the ancient world.

Asian Ceramics

In this tour, explore diverse works from the museum’s comprehensive ceramics collection. Learn about the evolution of technologies and decorative motifs from Neolithic times to the present and discover exquisite wares that are prized throughout the world for their beauty.

Goddesses: Images of Power

Depictions of the feminine divine encompass a wealth of art from fertility goddesses to Earth Mother to wrathful figures that help devotees achieve nirvana. Take a fascinating look at worship in Asia from a “different point of view” and learn engrossing ancient stories of devotion, lust, compassion, wisdom and power.

Great Works: A New Look

Take a trip through the newly reopened third-floor galleries to discover the Asian’s rich collection in a new display. The Asian’s collection showcases diverse and intriguing cultures as well as sacred and secular art. This is both the perfect introduction to the Asian Art Museum’s collection for the first-time visitor and a superb way to experience the collection over and over again.

India’s Spiritual Legacy

Home to many religious traditions which spread to other parts of Asia, art from India and South Asia is a visual feast.  The Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh religions all originated here, and for many centuries South Asia was also the seat of several powerful Islamic dynasties. Discover images and artifacts related to these religions and traditions.

Jade, Stone of Heaven

Over time, jade has come to be associated in popular belief with everything that is powerful, beautiful and precious. Learn about the dedication, patience and years of training jade craftsmen harnessed to produce objects of such beauty, as well as the fascination that jade held for the powerful Chinese and Mughal aristocracies. With more than 1,200 jade pieces covering a span of 5,000 years, the Asian Art Museum’s collection ranks among the finest ever assembled under one roof.

Snakes — Sinister or Sacred? 

Long before the advent of the primary religions of India, the worship of animal deities was widespread. Snakes, associated with power, life-giving water and reincarnation, were an integral part of the belief system. Snakes — Sinister or Sacred? takes you on a journey through the museum’s South and Southeast Asian galleries, where you will learn how artists blended this ancient practice of animal worship with both Hindu and Buddhist artistic traditions. 

The Art of War
Throughout history, cultures have valued their weapons both for utilitarian purposes and as objects of beauty. Artisans decorated and embellished them to emphasize the wealth and importance of their owners. Both weapons and warfare are also the subjects of paintings, sculpture, and other forms of artistic expression.Examine the Art of War across Asia through the exceptional pieces in the Asian Art Museum’s collection.

The Buddha: Art and Culture
Follow the ancient faith of Buddhism across Asia from its beginnings in northern India more than 2,500 years ago to discover the roles geography and social and cultural needs played in artistic representations of the Buddha. The political and economic factors that affected the art and the evolution of the Buddhist image are also explored.

The Himalayan Connection: China to India
Discover the confluence of ideas, rituals and practices that connect diverse artworks, from India, across the Himalayas and Southeast Asia and into China. By encountering a range of objects, you will find unifying threads that bind together these vast, diverse regions. Your group will explore how the Gandharan Buddha from South Asia emerged as a universal image, and how a two-armed Avalokiteshvara in India manifests into a multiheaded, multiarmed Avalokiteshvara in the Himalayas and a multiarmed Guanyin in China.

The Japanese Aesthetic
Delve into extraordinary paintings, ceramics and more in this tour of the Tateuchi Japanese Galleries. A special focus on the museum’s unparalleled collection of bamboo baskets reveals principles of Japanese aesthetics.
The Spirit of Korean Art
Become enchanted by the museum’s collection of Korean art, from Goryeo-dynasty celadons to rare unglazed stoneware from the Three Kingdoms and Unified Silla periods. Also explore a selection of contemporary ceramics and court, Buddhist and folk painting.
Treasures of China
Discover the long history and wide reach and aesthetic impact of Chinese art and culture in this tour of the Starr Chinese Galleries. Spanning more than 5,000 years, the museum’s collection comprises rare and beautiful jade and bronze objects, as well as ceramics, textiles, sculptures, and paintings.
Architecture Tours

The Asian Art Museum opened in its Civic Center location in March 2003, in San Francisco’s former Main Library building. The original building was designed by George Kelham in the Beaux-Arts style and opened as the library in 1917. Explore the preserved architectural features of the original building and learn how Italian architect Gae Aulenti applied adaptive reuse techniques to transform it into a museum.

Discover how the museum is looking to the future as we transform the museum with a new exhibition pavilion and rooftop art terrace designed by architect Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY.

Custom Tours

Planning a trip to Asia soon? Learn more about your destination before getting on the plane! Let us know your itinerary and one of our expert docents will create a customized tour through our collection galleries that focuses on the regions you will be visiting. You’ll gain insight based on the artwork we have on view as well as your docent’s own personal experiences.

For more information on this one-of-a-kind tour, please contact group visits at 415.581.3620 or

Monday and After Hours

Want the museum all to yourself? Book a private tour when the museum is normally closed to the public! Choose from any of the special exhibition or collection tour options above. Tours are one to one-and-a-half hours in length, and you have the option to enhance your visit with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres arranged through our rentals department (additional fees apply). This experience is perfect for a get-together with friends or a company retreat!

Package price for up to 10 people: $450
Package price for up to 20 people: $650

Community Speakers Program

Can’t make it to the museum? Let us bring the museum to you! A docent from the Asian Art Museum’s Community Speakers Program can deliver an educational and entertaining multimedia talk at your location. Visit the Community Speakers Program page for more information or to request a talk.

Download the free mobile guide app to your device.