4.5
291 votes

Palace of Fine Arts

3301 Lyon St, San Francisco, California 94123 USA

Free
Free to Visit
Open Now
Mon 6a-9p
  • Wheelchair
    Accessible
  • Outdoor
    Seating
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“A truly monumental structure”

The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of San Francisco, California, is a monumental structure originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in order to exhibit works of art presented there. One of only a few surviving structures from the Exposition, it is still situated on its original site. It was rebuilt in 1965, and renovation of the lagoon, walkways, and a seismic retrofit were completed in early 2009. In addition to hosting art exhibitions, it remains a popular attraction for tourists and locals and is a favorite location for weddings and wedding party photographs for couples throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and such an icon that a miniature replica of it was built in Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim. The Palace of Fine Arts was one of ten palaces at the heart of the Panama-Pacific Exhibition, which also included the exhibit palaces of Education, Liberal Arts, Manufactures, Varied Industries, Agriculture, Food Products, Transportation, Mines and Metallurgy and the Palace of Machinery. The Palace of Fine Arts was designed by Bernard Maybeck, who took his inspiration from Roman and Ancient Greek architecture in designing what was essentially a fictional ruin from another time. Built around a small artificial lagoon, the Palace of Fine Arts is composed of a wide, 1,100 ft (340 m) pergola around a central rotunda situated by the water. The lagoon was intended to echo those found in classical settings in Europe, where the expanse of water provides a mirror surface to reflect the grand buildings and an undisturbed vista to appreciate them from a distance. Ornamentation includes Bruno Louis Zimm's three repeating panels around the entablature of the rotunda, representing "The Struggle for the Beautiful", symbolizing Greek culture, while Ulric Ellerhusen supplied the weeping women atop the colonnade and the sculptured frieze and allegorical figures representing Contemplation, Wonderment and Meditation. The underside of the Palace rotunda's dome features eight large insets, which originally contained murals by Robert Reid. Four depicted the conception and birth of Art, "its commitment to the Earth, its progress and acceptance by the human intellect," and the four "golds" of California (poppies, citrus fruits, metallic gold, and wheat).

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Reviewed by
jmmillhuff

  • 7 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
June 11, 2019
Rated 2.0

Very beautiful but the area is very high for crime!

We had our car windows smashed out and luggage stolen when stopping here before the airport at 10AM on a weekday despite other people in the parking lot.

SFPD informed that at least one car gets broken into per day in this parking lot!

June 2019

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Reviewed by
mystery_machine

  • 6 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
January 04, 2018
Rated 5.0

Really beautiful spot. We went at night & everything was lit up nicely!

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Reviewed by
rhudon

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
January 21, 2015
Rated 4.0

Beautiful park... makes one wonder how incredible the entire 635 acres of the 1915 exhibition must have been.

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Palace of Fine Arts

3301 Lyon St
San Francisco, California
94123 USA

Hours

Open now until 9:00 pm
  • Sun - Sat: 6:00 am - 9:00 pm

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  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Outdoor Seating
  • Street Parking
  • Yes Parking

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