San Francisco, California 94102
We'd love it if you would mention that you found Asian Art Museum on the Here Comes The Guide website.
Video by Thomas Hughes Films.
Why We Like This Place
The historic and regal building that houses San Francisco's Asian Art Museum is as captivating as the art inside. A massive stone Beaux-Arts structure—which was built in 1917 and functioned as the city's main library for decades—stands four stories high with columns, stairs, and inscriptions completing its stately façade. Gleaming marble surfaces, beautifully carved stone arches, and antique light fixtures greet visitors in the lobby and grace the sophisticated special event spaces beyond.
The stunning transformation from book repository to museum was masterminded by Italian architect Gae Aulenti, who is perhaps best known for taking a defunct train station in Paris and turning it into the award-winning Musée D'Orsay.
Through the central archway leading off the lobby, guests encounter the opulent Grand Staircase and Loggia, which still retain an early 1900s elegance. Two flights of gently ascending travertine marble steps lead up to the Loggia, an airy arcade that overlooks the staircase and has a decorative barrel-vaulted ceiling. The glass cases that line its walls display an array of distinctive Asian ceramics, and remind us that this is indeed a museum. Some couples have married on the stairs, which look amazing when decorated with candles and flowers; with this setup, wedding attendees observe the ceremony from the Loggia above, as if gazing upon royalty. Once the service concludes, cocktails, passed champagne and hors d'oeuvres are served in the Loggia, where tall tables, candles and special linens personalize the space. During this time, your guests can explore the art galleries situated on either side of the Hall, where a world-class collection of works from China, Japan and Korea awaits.
For an elegant sit-down dinner and dancing, the adjacent Samsung Hall is equally classy. Vast and square-shaped, it continues the visual theme of columns and plenty of marble, but also boasts enormous windows crisscrossed with intricate metalwork. A huge bronze chandelier illuminates the festivities from high above. When you add linen-clad tables, mood lighting and the dulcet sounds of a string quartet, the hall feels positively palatial.
If you prefer a contemporary setting, the museum has a pair of almost identical courts on the lower level that are connected by two open hallways. Known as the North and South Courts, they were completely remodeled during the museum construction, and present a striking contrast to the historic sections of the facility. Their thoroughly modern and minimalist design features clean lines, a marble floor, and an angular ceiling of skylights nearly three stories above. Because of their considerable size, the courts lend themselves to a wide range of event options: wedding ceremonies, sit-down dinners, buffets with food stations, and cocktail parties. You can even create a lounge atmosphere by bringing in a bar, conversational groupings of couches, and tables and chairs.
Before the festivities begin, brides who want a secluded spot in which to get ready or relax can utilize the lovely Peterson Room on the first floor. A lavish private room, it has Oriental rugs and Asian-inspired décor that's very Zen.
There are many advantages to planning an event at the Asian Art Museum, but the main one is this: No matter where you hold your celebration, you're surrounded by beauty. The building has so much style and history (not to mention its world-renowned art collection) that you don't have to add much to make your celebration dazzling.
Prices: What's this going to cost?
- Rental fee varies depending on:
- Space reserved
- Max. Seated Indoors: 250
- Max. Seated Outdoors: 500
- Max. Seated Indoors: 400
- Max. Seated Outdoors: 500
- Max. Standing/Cocktails Indoors: 1500
- Max. Standing/Cocktails Outdoors: 1000
- Max. Seated: 250
CEREMONY, EVENT/RECEPTION & MEETING CAPACITY: The Museum accommodates a maximum of 400 seated or 1,500 standing guests, though not all in one room. Samsung Hall and the Loggia hold up to 250 seated guests (225 when including space for a dance area), and up to 350 standing. Each Court holds up to 200 seated or 250 standing guests. The Galleries may be rented in conjunction with the event spaces. Food and beverages are not permitted in the galleries.
Please inquire about outdoor tent options to increase maximum capacity.
Special Events, Parties
Catering: select from list
Kitchen Facilities: prep only
Tables & Chairs: through caterer
Linens, Silver, etc.: through caterer
Restrooms: wheelchair accessible
Dance Floor: built-in or BYO through caterer
Bride's Dressing Area: yes
AV/Meeting Equipment: CBA, extra charge
Parking: valet or public garage
Accommodations: no guest rooms
Outdoor Night Lighting: yes
Outdoor Cooking Facilities: yes
Cleanup: through caterer
Venue TypeBanquet Hall/Events Facility
Alcohol: BYO, licensed server
Smoking: outside only
Music: amplified OK
Wheelchair Access: yes
Insurance: liability required
Other: no glitter, rice or birdseed