Exploratorium Pier 15 The Embarcadero • San Francisco • CA 94111


Pier 15 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94111

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Why You'll Love This Place

A Here Comes The Guide Wedding Venue Review
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For a jaw-dropping event that will wow young and old, you simply must consider the Exploratorium in its unique space on the water at Pier 15 on San Francisco's Embarcadero. Packed with exciting exhibits—and 100,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor event space—the Exploratorium is makes a huge splash on our ever-popular Bayscape.

Situated right on the water between Fisherman's Wharf and the Ferry Building, the museum's nine-acre campus occupies Pier 15. The super-popular interactive museum of science, art and human perception includes the Kanbar Forum (a cabaret-style performance space), numerous indoor galleries, the Outdoor Gallery, the Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery & Terrace, a restaurant, café, and museum shop—all of which can be used individually or in combination for spectacular events of any size, from intimate weddings of 50 guests to a 500-person celebration.

What we love about this venue is that, true to its mission, it was designed with the latest developments in sustainable architecture and has been awarded an LEED Platinum Certification! 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, meeting 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 Fisher Bay 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 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.

Alternately, you might invite your guests inside to chat, stroll, dine and dance their way through three more galleries offering unique entertainment experiences. 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 Bechtel Central Gallery is perfect for larger affairs where the exploration of sight, sound and perception is sure to stimulate interaction. The Osher West Gallery, which integrates exhibits on psychology and art, houses the museum's iconic Tactile Dome. It can be used in tandem with the adjacent Kanbar 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.

All wedding packages include a classroom for getting ready, lighting and sound packages, a 1-year Dual Explorers Membership, waived guest service fees, plenty of time for vendors to load in and load out, and access to the whole museum for a 1-hour photo shoot with your photographer. 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, conducting live demos to dazzle your guests, or carefully orchestrating a festive flow, they'll know how to transform your great ideas into a truly inspiring celebration.

Prices: What's this going to cost?

Rental Fee
  • $9,500/event and up
  • Rental fee varies depending on:
    • Space reserved


Indoors Outdoors
Ceremony Seated 500 100
Cocktails, etc. Standing 3500 125
Reception Seated 1000 100
Meetings Total meeting capacity for this venue is 200.

CEREMONY CAPACITY: Indoor ceremony spaces can accommodate 1–500 seated guests. The outdoor Observatory Terrace holds up to 100 seated guests.

EVENT/RECEPTION CAPACITY: Individual galleries hold up to 400 seated or 1,200 standing. The entire facility can accommodate up to 1,000 seated or 3,500 standing.

MEETING CAPACITY: Meeting spaces hold up to 200 seated theater-style.

Venue Details

Site Uses

  • Ceremony
  • Outdoor Ceremony
  • Wedding Receptions
  • Outdoor Reception
  • Elopement Packages
  • Small Wedding
  • Rehearsal Dinner
  • Special Events / Parties
  • Business Functions / Meetings
  • Late Night

Essential Info


$$ • $$$


Preferred list



To be provided through caterer.

Amplified Music


Wheelchair Access

Wheelchair accessible


Wedding packages are available February–November.

Venue Type

Buildings, other structures, and natural settings available at this venue:

  • Historic / Landmark Building
  • Loft / Warehouse / Industrial
  • Museum
  • Non-Profit
  • Patio / Deck / Terrace
  • Unique
  • Beach / Ocean

Venue Views

Peep the views you’ll enjoy from this venue!

  • Cityscape
  • Ocean / Bay

Services & Amenities

Feel like a VIP with these services and amenities:

Catering: select from preferred list
Kitchen Facilities: through caterer
Tables & Chairs: through caterer
Linens, Silver, etc.: through caterer
Restrooms: wheelchair accessible
Dance Area: provided or through caterer
Dressing Area: CBA
AV/Meeting Equipment: CBA, extra charge
Parking: valet, public lots, or on-street
Accommodations: no guest rooms
Outdoor Night Lighting: access only, BYO
Outdoor Cooking Facilities: through caterer
Cleanup: caterer
View: cityscape of Transamerica Pyramid and Coit Tower; bay views including Bay Bridge and Treasure Island
Other: access to hundreds of hands-on exhibits


But take note of the following limitations!

Alcohol: through caterer, licensed server required
Smoking: outdoors only on the street
Music: amplified OK
Wheelchair Access: yes
Insurance: liability required
Other: decorations require prior approval; no glitter, balloons, confetti, birdseed, or rice


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