A Mecca for Creativity 

No creative outlet goes unexplored in the East Bay's vast cultural landscape.

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Alviso Adobe (3465 Old Foothill Rd., Pleasanton, 925-462-2766, MuseumOnMain.org/alviso_adobe_community_park.html), part of Pleasanton's Museum on Main, is one of the oldest structures in the city of Pleasanton, offering interpretative programs, lectures, and tours elucidating the region's ecology, culture and history. The Adobe includes a small amphitheater and gathering space, gardens, and displays that occasionally show art exhibits.

Berkeley Art Museum (2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, 510-642-0808, BAMPFA.Berkeley.edu) is a striking modernist structure with a collection of 14,000 objects; it's a preeminent university museum.

Blackhawk Museum (3700 Blackhawk Plaza Cir., Danville, 925-736-2280, BlackhawkMuseum.org) features the automotive exhibition International Automotive Treasures — historically significant and artistically inspired automobiles.

Chabot Space & Science Center (10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland, 510-336-7373, ChabotSpace.org) is a space and science museum featuring indoor stargazing in the planetarium, outdoor viewing through telescopes, daily screenings in the theater, after-school classes, and interactive exhibits.

HABITOT Children's Museum (2065 Kittredge St., Berkeley, 510-647-1111) features prizewinning exhibits, art programs, multicultural performances, and even a toy-lending library for young children.

Hayward Area Historical Society Museum (22701 Main St., Hayward, 510-581-0223, HaywardAreaHistory.org) features permanent and temporary exhibits on the history of Hayward.

Lacis Museum of Textiles (2982 Adeline St., Berkeley, 510-843-7290, LacisMuseum.org), both a retail store and a textile arts museum, is a fascinating place to visit even if you're not a needlework or sewing aficionado.

Lindsay Wildlife Museum (1931 First Ave., Walnut Creek, 925-935-1978, Wildlife-Museum.org) affords visitors close encounters with eagles, owls, bobcats, opossums, snakes, turtles, and other animals once treated at its wildlife hospital but deemed unreleasable.

Lucky Ju Ju Pinball & Pacific Pinball Museum (1510 Webster St., Alameda, 510-769-1349, Ujuju.com) is an old-school pinball palace that also features rotating art exhibits.

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life (The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, 510-642-3781, Magnes.org) preserves tradition for the Bay Area's large Jewish population, with 8,000-plus ceremonial and decorative items and an extensive library. Temporarily housed in the Bancroft Library, its new location will be at 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley.

Mills College Art Museum (5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, 510-430-2164, MCAM.Mills.edu) focuses on women artists and curators with well-installed, thoughtful, eclectic shows, and free admission.

MOCHA — Museum of Children's Art (538 9th St., Oakland, 510-465-8770, MOCHA.org) features ongoing activities for children, including storytelling and various drop-in workshops.

Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum (37417 Niles Blvd., Fremont, 510-494-1411, NilesFilmMuseum.org) includes photographs, posters, books, and artifacts on the silent film industry in Niles, as well as a resource on silent-filmmaking.

Oakland Aviation Museum (Oakland International Airport, Oakland, 510-638-7100, OaklandAviationMuseum.org) is a nonprofit organization on Oakland International Airport's historic North Field, displaying old planes and historic aviation memorabilia.

The Oakland Museum of California (1000 Oak St., Oakland, 510-238-2200, MuseumCA.org), an East Bay cultural institution since 1969, specializes in art, history, and the natural sciences of California.

Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology (103 Kroeber Hall, Bancroft Way at College Ave., Berkeley, 510-642-3682) has almost 4 million objects, and is the West's oldest, largest anthropological museum.

Playland-Not-at-the-Beach (10979 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito, Playland-Not-at-the-Beach.org) features twenty-plus interactive exhibits that celebrate the magic and history of America's amusement parks.

Richmond Art Center 2540 Barrett Ave., Richmond, 510-620-6772, TheRichmondArtCenter.org. Ongoing activities include art classes and workshops for adults and youths. Ongoing exhibitions include "From Our Studios," with arts and crafts by adult students in the center's education program.

Richmond Museum of History (400 Nevin Ave., Richmond, 510-235-7387, RichmondMuseumofHistory.org) features exhibits on the history of Richmond.

San Leandro Museum of History (320 West Estudillo Ave., San Leandro) features ongoing exhibits such as artifacts from the Ohlones, California ranchos, the 49ers, and early Portuguese immigrants.

Shadelands Ranch Historical Museum (2660 Ygnacio Valley Rd., Walnut Creek, 925-935-7871) features ongoing exhibits such as historical artifacts, photographs, and government records from Contra Costa County.

The USS Hornet Museum (707 W. Hornet Ave., Alameda, 510-521-8448, USS-Hornet.org) played a crucial part in WWII, recovered the Apollo 11 and 12 astronauts in 1969, and has been docked here since 1998.

Museums — San Francisco

The Asian Art Museum (200 Larkin St., San Francisco, 415-581-3500, AsianArt.org) houses 17,000 artworks from all over Asia in an accessible location near City Hall.

The de Young Museum (Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr., San Francisco, 415-750-3600, DeYoung.FAMSF.org) showcases an extensive collection of American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts; Mesoamerican, Central, and South American artifacts; African art; and Oceanic art.

The Exploratorium (Palace of Fine Arts, 3601 Lyon St., San Francisco, 415-561-0399, Exploratorium.edu) is a science museum with hands-on, family-friendly exhibits housed inside the ornate Palace of Fine Arts. Free admission every first Wednesday of the month.

The Museum of the African Diaspora (685 Mission St., San Francisco, 415-358-7200, MOADSF.org) traces the breakup and scattering of African blacks across space and time with exhibits, programs, and events.

The Palace of the Legion of Honor (Lincoln Park, 34th Ave. & Clement St., San Francisco, 415-750-3600, LegionofHonor.FAMSF.org) is the last of San Francisco's old-style museums, boasting an unbeatable view of the Golden Gate, along with collections of ancient art, illustrated books, European painting and decorative art, fine prints, and Rodin bronzes.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (151 Third St., San Francisco, 415-357-4000, SFMOMA.org), established in 1935, features high-profile exhibitions that have fixed it at the center of the city's art scene.

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