Palace of Fine Arts
Iconic architecture constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Expo. Hosting art exhibitions and weddings, the theater has become a major tourist attraction just for the view of the building itself.
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.
While most of the exposition was demolished when the exposition ended, the Palace was so beloved that a Palace Preservation League, founded by Phoebe Apperson Hearst, was founded while the fair was still in progress.
While the Palace had been saved from demolition, its structure was not stable. Originally intended to only stand for the duration of the Exhibition, the colonnade and rotunda were not built of durable materials, and thus framed in wood and then covered with staff, a mixture of plaster and burlap-type fiber. As a result of the construction and vandalism, by the 1950s the simulated ruin was in fact a crumbling ruin.
In 1964, the original Palace was completely demolished, with only the steel structure of the exhibit hall left standing. The buildings were then reconstructed in permanent, light-weight, poured-in-place concrete, and steel I-beams were hoisted into place for the dome of the rotunda. All the decorations and sculpture were constructed anew.
Nearby Points of Interest
Marina Green: A 74-acre grassy field on northern SF Bay coast. Views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, and Alcatraz. Great space for windy picnics and friendly gatherings.
Fort Mason: Once a United States Army post, this 1,200 acre is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Center. The remaining historic buildings are still in use with the military and also rented for civilian uses such as art galleries, dining, music instruction and the Fort Mason Arts and Culture Center.
Off The Grid at Fort Mason: Largest gathering of food trucks in the city. Every Friday night from March through October. Enjoy live music while trying a variety of ethnic cookery.
Golden Gate Bridge: You’ve seen it in movies, television, books, and postcards – now go ahead and take a walk on it! And don’t forget your camera.
Union Street Shopping: Amidst chic shops and restaurants, enjoy the brightly painted Victorians and secret courtyards. As much fun at night as it is in the daytime.
Fisherman’s Wharf: Shops, shops, and a plethora of great seafood restaurants line the Wharf, where you still see vestiges of the old fishing crafts used by the Italian immigrants who brought the Wharf to life after the Gold Rush.
Palace of Fine Arts is featured on:
- Private CharterPrivate Charter San Francisco Tuk Tuk Tour
9AM, 11:30AM, 2PM, 4:30PM or 7:30PMHow long?Approx. 2 hoursWhen?DailyDo we fit?Seats 6 (Child ages 3+)How much?From $275.00
Explore beautiful San Francisco in your own private, electric Tuk Tuk! Perfect for families and groups. A personal guide for your party commandeers this modern-day rickshaw at a pace that’s right for you!
- Private CharterLucky Tuk Tuk at Night Private Charter - San Francisco Lights Tour
7:30 pmHow long?Approx. 2 hoursWhen?NightlyDo we fit?Seats 6 (Ages 5+)How much?From $65.00
Explore San Francisco at night in a cozy, electric Tuk Tuk! Get up close to the glittering lights and go where buses don’t dare in this modern-day rickshaw. Live commentary included!
- Public TourAlcatraz Combo - Ultimate SF City Tour and Alcatraz Ferry
Available Limited Tickets
9AM or 2PM Alcatraz AM or PMHow long?Approx. 3 hoursWhen?Limited TicketsDo we fit?Seats 6 (Ages 5+)How much?From $145.00
With a Lucky Tuk Tuk Ultimate City Tour + Alcatraz Combination Package you get a full day of fun! Explore the City in a cozy Tuk Tuk then learn the history of Alcatraz as you visit "the rock".