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Palace of Fine Arts

Built for an Expo and then made permanent, this Roman-inspired palace built early in the 20th Century houses a treasure trove of fine arts and science exhibits.

The San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts started life in 1915, and was created for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Celebrating the city’s recovery from an earthquake in 1906 and the final completion of the Panama Canal, the expo marketed the Palace of Fine Arts as its star attraction. Designed by Bernard Maybeck, the building was inspired by Roman and Greek architectural ruins and attempted to demonstrate the transitory nature of human vanity and grandeur.

Since the expo closed, the Palace of Fine Arts has served a variety of purposes, including the storage of military vehicles and the home to 18 tennis courts. The palace underwent a massive renovation project during the 1960s and has now been restored to its former glory, housing the Exploratorium, an interactive exhibit that aims to educate children about the wonders of science.

Even if you don’t visit the Exploratorium, the Palace of Fine Arts is still a wonderful place to visit, with landscaped gardens and a lagoon that is home to many swans. Bring a picnic to enjoy in the tranquil gardens and gaze at the palace itself, a grand rotunda with a 335 metre pergola.

Located to the west of Fisherman’s Wharf, the Palace of Fine Arts can be reached on foot from the Marina District. Alternatively, you can take public transport (several Muni buses serve the area), or park your car in the car park just off Lyon Street.


Guide to Exploring Palace of Fine Arts


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Top Palace of Fine Arts Hotel Deals

See all 1,658 properties near Palace of Fine Arts
Hotel Zephyr San Francisco SG$215
Hotel Zephyr San Francisco

Hotel Zephyr San Francisco

250 Beach Street, San Francisco, CA
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in North Beach, this boutique hotel is within a 5-minute walk of USS Pampanito and Pier 39. Ghirardelli Square and Lombard Street are also within 15 minutes. Ferry Building Station is 28 minutes by foot.

    Cow Hollow Inn SG$173
    Cow Hollow Inn

    Cow Hollow Inn

    2190 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA
       
      2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Marina District, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Chestnut Street and Van Ness Avenue. Palace of Fine Arts and Lombard Street are also within 1 mile (2 km).

      Hotel Whitcomb SG$92
      Hotel Whitcomb

      Hotel Whitcomb

      1231 Market St, San Francisco, CA
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Downtown San Francisco, this historic hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Orpheum Theater, Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, and Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. San Francisco City Hall and Van Ness Avenue are also within 10 minutes. Civic Center Station is only a 3-minute walk and Powell St. Station is 13 minutes.

        Argonaut Hotel - a Noble House Hotel SG$204
        Argonaut Hotel - a Noble House Hotel

        Argonaut Hotel - a Noble House Hotel

        495 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA
           
          4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          This family-friendly San Francisco hotel is located in the historical district, within a 5-minute walk of Hyde Street Pier and Ghirardelli Square. Lombard Street and Pier 39 are also within 15 minutes.

          RIU Plaza Fisherman's Wharf SG$115
          RIU Plaza Fisherman's Wharf

          RIU Plaza Fisherman's Wharf

          2500 Mason St, San Francisco, CA
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in North Beach, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Aquarium of the Bay, Pier 39 and Fishermans Wharf Cable Car Turnaround. Ghirardelli Square and Lombard Street are also within 15 minutes.

            Hotel Spero SG$180
            Hotel Spero

            Hotel Spero

            405 Taylor St, San Francisco, CA
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Downtown San Francisco, this romantic hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Powell and Market Cable Car Turnaround, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and Cable Car Museum. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and San Francisco City Hall are also within 1 mi (2 km). Powell St. Station is 8 minutes by foot and Civic Center Station is 11 minutes.

              Travelodge by Wyndham Presidio San Francisco SG$159
              Travelodge by Wyndham Presidio San Francisco

              Travelodge by Wyndham Presidio San Francisco

              2755 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA
                 
                2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Marina District, this motel is within a 10-minute walk of Chestnut Street and Palace of Fine Arts. Crissy Field and Walt Disney Family Museum are also within 1 mile (2 km).

                Presidio Parkway Inn SG$103
                Presidio Parkway Inn

                Presidio Parkway Inn

                2361 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA
                   
                  2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Marina District, this motel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Lombard Street, Pier 39 and Golden Gate Park. Alcatraz Island and Golden Gate Bridge are also within 6 mi (10 km).