Originally a depot for the shipment of supplies to the Pacific during World War II, the fort was converted into a cultural center in 1977. Here you can find the vegetarian restaurant Greens and shops, galleries, and performance spaces, most of which are closed on Mondays. Below are three free arts venues of note.
You have to be seriously into Italian American culture to appreciate the text- and photograph-heavy exhibits at the Museo Italo-Americano (Bldg.
C 415/673–2200 museoitaloamericano.org Tues.–Sun. noon–4), but some are worth a glance if you're already at Fort Mason.
The temporary exhibits downstairs at the SFMOMA Artists Gallery (Bldg. A 415/441–4777 www.sfmoma.org/visit/artists_gallery Tues.–Sat. 10:30–5) can be great, but head upstairs and check out the paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs for sale or rent. You won't find a Picasso or a Rembrandt, but where else can you get a $50,000 work of art to hang on your wall for $400 (a month)?
The Mexican Museum (Bldg. D 415/202–9700 www.mexicanmuseum.org Wed.–Sun. noon–4) hosts temporary exhibits in its small space.
Friday evening at Fort Mason means Off the Grid (www.offthegridsf.com); the city's food-truck gathering happens at locations around town, and this is one of the oldest and most popular.