Museums Without Walls: Public Art to See for Free

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The Bay Area is home to some world-class art, some of it housed in big name institutions. But you don’t necessarily have to fork out any entrance fees to get your culture fix with the kids. Over the years millions of dollars have been spent on public art, executed by both international artists and critically acclaimed home grown talent. Think Richard Serra, Diego Rivera and Leo Villareal to name a few. It’s kid-friendly, free and just waiting to be discovered. Click through for the best of the Bay Area’s public art for pint-sized patrons.

Language of the Birds

Look up in the sky: it's a bird, it's a plane ... it's 23 plastic books flocking over a bustling North Beach corner. Below them, words and phrases embedded in the sidewalk appear to have tumbled from their pages. Have your child seek out the English, Chinese and Italian words chosen from the works of local authors reflecting the neighborhood’s rich literary history. A Better Chinatown Tomorrow often sets up in the plaza and entertains passersby with an orchestra of Chinese wind and string instruments. Come dusk, the translucent books light up via interior LED lights. Check our kid-approved guides for Chinatown and North Beach and make a day of it!

NW Corner of Broadway & Columbus Ave.

Photo Credit: Chris Saulit

What is your favorite piece of public art? Let us know in the comments below.

–Erin Feher, Emily Myers and Garrick Ramirez

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