GO ON THURSDAY NIGHTS FOR A DISCOUNTED $5 TICKET! This museum, right in the heart of San Francisco's Civic Center, has an amazing collection of Asian art. Not only that, but the exhibit I saw there, called Gorgeous, was pretty much the best curated exhibit I've seen in a long time. The range of pieces they brought in was impressive, but more than that, instead of yawning/snorting at the pretentiousness of the placards next to these pieces, I found myself really appreciating the additional context without having this generic art historian telling me what to believe. Strongly recommend.
This museum has a good collection of Chinese, Japanese southeast asian, tibetan, korean and Persian artefacts. Don't miss the 28 Chinese exhibition (summer 2015) showcasing contemporary art from well regarded Chinese artists. The museum has an in-house cafe and a really nice shop with well curated artisitic gifts.
San Francisco has a long history with Asia. On the West Coast, San Francisco has a direct line across the Pacific Ocean to Asia, and about one third of the city's residents have Asian heritage. Which certainly has helped create one of the best Asian art museums in the world. The permanent collection spans 6000 years and explores the continent from Turkey to the Philippines, and traveling exhibits have included everything from Bhutanese monks creating in-person mandalas to the terra cotta warriors of Xi'an.
What was the grand SF main public library years ago is now the grand Asian Art Museum in SF's Civic Center. The AAM's permanent collection include works of art, religious relics, and intricate crafts from many cultures in Asia. Special exhibits are currated from time to time. The musuem building itself is a work of art!
Unbelievable exhibition running until 27th of May 2013. If you get a chance take a look.