San Jose has an ART blow-out every couple of months, called the Art City Tour - on a Wednesday evening, from 5 to 9, museums and art galleries are open to the public (free entry!). In addition, the GAM puts together several routes that folks can follow. They organize tours by bus, by bicycles, or on foot, with helpful people on hand to answer questions and relieve anxiety :-).
We kept missing these tours, until (yay!) this last one - we met some friends downtown, and we all trooped around gawking at art and museum exhibits. We signed up in advance for one of the bus tours - SIX stops in FOUR hours! It turned out that it is much looser than I expected - people were changing routes, bus-hopping, and generally playing everything by ear. The buses leave each venue every 10 minutes, and are easy to find. You can stay on the bus if you want to skip a gallery, and you can walk between different places, change the order, go to a museum that is not on your original route... It's a free-for-all! And a lot of fun! (and exhausting!)
We ended up walking between a couple of places, then skipping a couple. We'll definitely go back for a longer look at the National Museum.
We saw a fun dance exhibit at the Alliance Française - especially interesting was the one man dancing with two women - one woman was blindfolded. It was a very interesting way to tell a story, as well as exciting to watch as a dance.
As we walked between a few other venues, we overlapped the bike route - there were probably two dozen bicyclists, and they just took over Avenida 7. It reminded me a bit of the Critical Mass rides in San Francisco.
When we go again (and we will), here's what I would do:
- still sign up for a bus route, but just not worry about sticking to it. I think signing up in advance helps the organizers, but it's not critical to follow it to the letter.
- bring snacks (and not just candy) and water
- expect to drop out here and there, and take a load off; "museum strolling" is hard on your feet and back!
- don't worry about seeing *everything* in the museum; expect to return another time
- leave behind any anxiety about following a plan, and just go with the flow!