The YBCA, which opened in 1993, is part of the large outdoor complex that takes up a few city blocks across the street from SFMOMA, and sits atop the underground Moscone Convention Center. It’s the city’s cultural facility, similar to New York’s Lincoln Center but far more fun on the outside. The Center’s two buildings offer music, theater, dance, and visual arts programs and shows. James Stewart Polshek designed the 755-seat theater, and Fumihiko Maki designed the Galleries and Arts Forum, which features three galleries and a space designed especially for dance. As for the shows at the galleries, they’re often slightly more risky—or even risqué (local cartoonist R. Crumb mounted an R-rated show here in 2007). As a testament to its quality, the museum also mounts traveling versions of shows for other museums. Bonus: For the cost of viewing their curated monthly series of video or film screenings that specializes in experimental film and documentaries, you can get into YBCA’s galleries for free.
- Erika Lennert