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Once a desolate parking lot, the area has been transformed into San Francisco’s cultural oasis, the Yerba Buena Gardens. Picnicking families sit in the grass, children play by the waterfall and art lovers visit the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) or the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA). Hectic city life seems very far away here.
The green esplanade is situated right at the heart of the Yerba Buena Gardens. The large grassy lawn is surrounded by museums, a shopping centre and an old church. In 1980, a plan was created to transform the empty lot between 3rd and 4th Street in the SoMa (South of Market) district into a park and cultural centre. And with great success; this is now one of the most popular destinations in San Francisco. Year-round the area hosts many events, such as the Farmer’s Markets and the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival.
Undoubtedly, the most eye-catching building is the SFMOMA. A large collection of modern art hides behind this brick façade with its black-and-white striped tower. Here you will find photographs by famous photographer Ansel Adams and paintings by Picasso and Matisse. The museum opened its doors in 1935 but was moved in 1995 to the location next to the Yerba Buena Gardens. Please note: due to renovation and expansion, the SFMOMA will be closed until 2016. However, several exhibits are on display elsewhere in the city and in the Bay Area — check out the locations atwww.sfmoma.org
The great strength of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is its enormous variety of exhibits and the continuous change of displays. The YBCA has no permanent collection and its displays focus on the most recent contemporary art. Video art, photography or an exhibit about the Bay Bridge: there is always a surprise in store. Next to the art centre is also a theatre that regularly hosts music and dance performances.
Popular with families, the Children’s Creativity Museum is an interactive art and technology museum geared especially towards children. The museum’s mission is to teach children the 3 C’s of contemporary skills: communication, collaboration and creativity. In a multimedia environment, young visitors are encouraged to use their creativity and imagination. Another very popular attraction is the ‘creativity carousel’, a merry-go-round dating back from 1906; even the youngest visitors may enjoy a ride on the beautiful wooden horses.