Why We Like This Place
For a jaw-dropping event that will wow young and old, you simply must consider the Exploratorium in its all-new venue at Pier 15 on San Francisco’s Embarcadero. Packed with exciting exhibits and exhilarating event spaces, the new Exploratorium is making a huge splash—creatively—on our ever-popular Bayscape.
The totally re-envisioned 100,000-square-foot facility is situated right on the water between Fisherman’s Wharf and the Ferry Building. Set on a nine-acre campus that encompasses Pier 17, the super-popular interactive museum of science, art and human perception includes a Forum, Restaurant, Café, Museum Shop, numerous indoor Galleries, an Outdoor Gallery, an Observatory Gallery and an Outdoor Terrace—all of which can be used alone or in combination for your spectacular celebration.
What we love about this venue is that, true to its mission, it was designed with the latest developments in sustainable architecture. With a goal of being the largest net-zero energy museum in the U.S., it offsets its energy use with “green” features like solar panels and a bay water heating and cooling system. We also like the way it allows for so much movement and flow. You can thread your event through the exhibits in a manner that entertains and engages. Whether you’re planning a wedding, gala, corporate extravaganza, product launch, film screening, dinner-dance or any other kind of gathering, you’ll find just the right spot in this tremendously flexible and dynamic setting.
Weddings, for example, might begin with a ceremony in the Observatory Gallery, a gorgeous glass-walled jewel box of a room on the second floor of the only entirely new structure on the pier. This exquisite chamber affords nearly 360-degree views that include Treasure Island, the Bay Bridge, the Transamerica Pyramid and Coit Tower, and it contains an oculus—a giant glass eye in the ceiling from which to view the heavens. Sliding glass doors open onto the Outdoor Terrace, where more soothing bay views frame cocktails, passed hors d’oeuvres, dinner or dancing under a tent or a canopy of sky.
Three more galleries offer unique entertainment experiences. Your guests can chat, stroll, dine and dance their way through one or all of them, depending on your vision. The Life Sciences come alive in the East Gallery, a beautiful space for an intimate seated dinner or reception with enormous windows overlooking the bay. The expansive Central Gallery is perfect for larger affairs where the exploration of sight, sound and perception is sure to stimulate interaction. In the exciting West Gallery, you’ll find the museum’s iconic Tactile Dome and a “black box” for immersive installations. It can be used in tandem with the adjacent Forum—which has a stage, a state-of-the-art sound and projection system, theater- or cabaret-style seating and a permanent bar—or with other galleries to engender the sense of wonder, amazement, joy and play that makes an event here unforgettable.
And do remember: The Exploratorium’s expertise in interaction and perception extends to its energetic and imaginative event staff. Whether it’s picking out party favors from the Museum Shop, inventing new ways to utilize the galleries and exhibits, or carefully orchestrating a festive flow, they’ll know how to transform your great ideas into a truly inspiring celebration.
Max. Seated Indoors: 400
Max. Seated Outdoors: 150
Max. Seated Indoors: 1600
Max. Seated Outdoors: 0
Max. Standing Indoors: 4000
Max. Standing Outdoors: 0
|Max. Seated: 220|
CEREMONY CAPACITY: Indoor ceremony spaces can accommodate 50–400 seated guests. The outdoor Observatory Terrace holds up to 150 guests.
EVENT/RECEPTION CAPACITY: Individual galleries hold 150–450 seated or 250–1,200 standing. The entire facility can accommodate up to 1,600 seated or 4,000 standing.
MEETING CAPACITY: Meeting spaces hold up to 220 seated.
Fees & Deposits
50% of the rental fee is required to reserve your date. The balance is due 3 months prior to the event. Rental fees start at $12,000 and vary depending on galleries rented, number of guests and total contracted hours.
Year-round, daily except Wednesday and Thursday, starting at 5:15pm.
CateringChoose From List
Special Events, Parties
Catering: select from approved list
Wheelchair AccessWheelchair Accessible
Venue TypeBanquet Hall/Events Facility
Alcohol: through caterer, licensed server required
- Wondering what CBA or BYO means?
- Why can't I search by price?
- Click here for more info on our editorial process.