The palace of fine Arts is a complimentary attraction that features a beautiful dome and also curved columns. It"s collection in a vivid park top top the northern side of san Francisco in the Marina District. It"s one of my favorite locations to sit back, relax, and also enjoy the beauty, beauty of the city.

You are watching: Palace of fine arts at night

It is among just a handful of staying structures native the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. It"s the largest remaining structure and also draws in hundreds of visitors a day. 

It was developed as a temporary structure for the expo and also was claimed to be torn down. However, both visitors and also locals fell in love v it, so the city the SF chose to store it standing.


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A view of the dome and also the small lake on the eastern side the the building

In the 1960s, the city that SF totally rebuilt the temporary structure to do it permanent. It was then damaged in the 1989 earthquake. The city repaired it and also did part retrofitting to ensure the survival throughout larger earthquakes. They also did much more repairs come it in 2009. It celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2015 v several events all year long.

Before I speak a tiny about what you will see when you visit, let"s take it a step back and look in ~ the background of this structure. Friend can also click the links listed below to run ahead come a particular top for her stay.

Panama Pacific Exposition History

The 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition to be a solemn event of the opened of the Panama Canal in 1914. This expo additionally turned into one of the most essential events in the background of san Francisco.

Before the 1906 earthquake, mountain Francisco verified some attention in hosting this big international event. However, ~ the earthquake hit, city public representative knew the occasion was an important for the city. With countless visitors expected, it was among the ideal ways to showcase how far San Francisco had actually come after the devastating earthquake.

SF to be selected together the city to organize this large event soon after the earthquake hit.


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You will find this in ~ the palace of good Arts where you deserve to read even much more about its background and its prestige to the city of mountain Francisco.

The site only took four years to build. The structures covered 635 acre of land in one area that is now the mountain Francisco Marina. It extended all follow me the waterfront from valve Ness Street to ft Point. In total, the buildings for the occasion housed more than 70,000 exhibits from about the world.

The Panama Pacific Exposition opened up on February 20, 1915. For 288 days, an ext than 19 million human being from around the human being visited san Francisco because that the event. 

At the near of the occasion in December 1915, the buildings were reserved for demolition. However, the city made decision to keep among the most beautiful structures -- the palace of well Arts.

Weeping females at the palace of fine Arts

When you walk around the palace of well Arts, you will seemany beautiful architecture and special art on the walls. The palace wasoriginally constructed in 1915 because that the world’s Fair. They made decision to have actually it right here toshow that san Francisco is alive and also well after the 1906 earthquake.

During the world Fair, over there were loads of shop andother short-term exhibits. The royal residence was initially designed by boy name Maybeckwho want to make a cool building and choose to present off some classicEuropean and also classic style. Therefore why space there 4 weeping women developed into one ofthe colonnades?

Because Mr. Maybeck wanted to display that, even though everythingwas recovering in mountain Francisco, and also there to be a significant World’s fair happeningright here, we must still mental the past and also what has been lost to time. So,these 4 women face inwards and also weep because that the times unable to do by and what has actually beenlost.

Being the this was initially only supposed to be for the world Fair,and climate knocked down, the city worked with the US federal government to be provided theland come become component of the Presidio. So, luckily because that us, the Palace and the twocolonnades. To be saved and are still v us today. 


Fun Fact: they were initially going come be partially coveredin vines and also flowers to make it even more mournful, however it cost too much money,so they’ve continued to stay specifically as lock were over 100 year ago.


More ~ above the palace of fine Arts

This mountain Francisco attraction to be designed by renowned architect boy name Maybeck. The entire structure is a occupational of art with detailed details on its columns and beautiful dome inspired by Roman and Greek architecture.

It"s complimentary to stroll about the outside of the building. That is likewise the perfect ar for a picnic having lunch or a place to hang the end to relax because that a little while.

The beauty of the building attracts both locals and also visitors. The is very common to check out at the very least one wedding party taking pictures below -- in fact, you could even see 2 or three during your visit.

To give you a sense of occupational that entered the building, below are just a couple of pictures indigenous my last visit.


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A closer look in ~ the columns and inside of the dome
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A watch of the optimal of the big columns the line the sidewalk on the western next of the building
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Peaking through the columns at a statue top top the royal residence of well Arts
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Another look in ~ the detail of the gorgeous dome that is the centerpiece the this splendid building

Palace of well Arts Swans

For those that birds, friend will definitely want come visit thePalace of good Arts to check out them about the lagoon. There space many types ofbirds, consisting of herons, seagulls, owls, and also of course ducks and also mallards.However. The most famous is Blanche, the mute swan. She is named a mute swansince her form rarely are vocal. However, she will certainly quack as soon as in a while. She’sover twenty years old and is a polish mute breed.

Something we love is that swans have lived at the palace ofFine Arts since it opened up originally because that the 1915 Panama-Pacific InternationalExhibition. That means they have actually been below as long as it has which is ratheramazing. Being the the designers of the palace didn’t arrangement for these birds tostay below at night, they never planned a one-of-a-kind hiding spot for them.

Thankfully, swans understand their way around and also are smart. Theyfound a fenced in area and go there to sleep at night. For many years, therewere 2 swans the were constantly together, the abovementioned Blanche and also her partner,Blue Foot. Sadly, Blue Boy died in 2020 in ~ the period of 17. So, as soon as you gothere, make sure to wave at Blanche and also give her a laugh to assist cheer her  up.

Visiting the royal residence of well Arts

The park is open up both day and also night. It"s free to visit and also it commonly takes about 30 minutes. You will discover it at 3301 Lyon Street.

The map listed below offers a look in ~ the layout of this san Francisco attraction. In total, it sits on around 20 acres. The red dotted lines display the walking course in and also around the park. The little white area behind it is wherein you will find some on-site parking and a small lot just to the north. Both are marked with the blue "P."


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I recommend visiting approximately lunch time. You have the right to pick increase a sandwich or salad in the Marina and also spend part time outdoors together you enjoy the royal residence of well Arts together you eat. There are plenty of locations to sit top top the grass (shown in environment-friendly on the map) and also all offer impressive views. Girlfriend will discover a few ideas below on whereby to find some the the finest grab and also go lunches in the Marina.

Tour Options

San Francisco windy Library walking Tour: The san Francisco library has actually a number of cost-free walks throughout san Francisco. This one is a specialized tour that the history surrounding the Panama Pacific Exposition and also the palace of well Arts. Your overview will additionally share with you an ext about the prestige of this occasion to the revitalization of san Francisco. Uncover out an ext here.

Premium City Tour: If you desire to see several height SF attractions, then inspect out this 4-hour guided tour. It will certainly take friend to several places about SF in enhancement to the royal residence of well Arts including the gold Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, Chinatown, and also others. Some you will see from the tourism bus and also others are stops wherein you will acquire out to see them for you yourself for a couple of minutes. Visit GetYourGuide come learn much more about this tour and also to check for availability.

Hop top top Hop turn off Tour: If you favor to check out on your own, then examine out huge Bus Tour"s Hop top top Hop turn off Bus Tour. It contains 20+ stops around SF including one at the royal residence of good Arts. You have the right to stay as long as you want and then hop ~ above the next bus to proceed on her journey. Discover out much more about the big Bus tourism here.

Palace of good Arts Theater

Inside the building, you will also find a theater. They market a range of mirrors throughtout the year from theater performances come comedy. Girlfriend will additionally find some good shows each vacation season. Below are just a few of the height upcoming performances.

Where to Eat Nearby

The palace of good Arts is in the Marina District and just a pair of blocks far from among its key commercial streets, Chestnut. Below are just a couple of places near by that ns recommend.

Grab & walk Options

As I pointed out above, ns love comes to the palace of fine Arts with a sandwich or salad and spending time right here as ns eat having lunch or a snack. Right here are my favorite places to seize something to carry with me.

The Sandwich spot SF: This is the finest place come grab a tasty sandwich. They have actually a variety of options and are about a half mile away. Girlfriend will discover them at 3213 Pierce. 

Marina Delicatessen & Liquors: Another great spot to grab a sandwich or a snack and enjoy it on the lawns that the royal residence of well Arts. It"s about 5 blocks away at 2299 Chestnut.

Chestnut Street Coffee Roastery: This is one more spot that is about 5 blocks away. It"s perfect if you require a coffee pick me up for her visit. They likewise have grab and go sandwiches and salads. You will discover it in ~ 2331 Chestnut.

Other alternatives in the Marina

If you favor to sit down for a little to eat either before or after your visit, here are a couple of of my recommendations.

Super Duper Burgers: This casual burger share is perfect if you want to grab a quick bite and also keep exploring. Their food selection is simple, and the food is tasty. 2201 Chestnut

Pluto"s: Sandwiches and salads are on the menu at this casual, yet healthy stop in the Marina. 3258 Scott

Causwells: This bistro provides American cuisine with a european flare. They also offer many dishes ~ above their menu that space light and also perfect because that sharing. 2346 Chestnut

MAC"D: If you love mac and also cheese as much as me, you room going to never ever want to leaving MAC"D. It"s a casual spot whereby you pick your pasta, your sauce and dig in! 3347 Fillmore Street

Tips on wherein to Park

If you plan to drive to the royal residence of well Arts, you will discover several locations to park. Parking ~ above the street is very an overwhelming as this is a ar with hundreds of residents. However, over there are numerous lots within a couple of blocks that the building.

Parking On-Site: friend will find a restricted amount of parking on-site. One many is behind the building and also the various other is ~ above the north side. If girlfriend arrive early on or visit throughout a slow-moving time of the year, you could get lucky and also be able come grab a point out right near the park. 

Marina Green/Yacht road Parking: If friend head just north of the royal residence of good Arts ~ above Yacht Road, you will discover a complimentary parking lot. Girlfriend are cost-free to park here during your visit and/or if you examine out some other neighborhood attractions. 

Crissy field Parking: one more option is come park at Crissy Field. This many is likewise open to the general public and totally free parking throughout the day. It"s around a 5-minute walk native this lot to the park. It"s a grass and also dirt lot and you can enter it native Mason Street.

It"s best to choose a parking area prior to you arrive, add in the direction to her phone and then usage them come navigate to her parking area. They have closed off details streets because that turning, for this reason it can be confusing once you arrive. By using a map on her phone, that will provide you the ideal directions to obtain to the lot as soon as you arrive.

Movies Filmed near the royal residence of well Arts

Do the images of the palace of well Arts watch familiar? If so, you could have checked out this beauty, beauty in several movies over the years. Here are simply a couple of of them.

When the World involved San Francisco (2015) -- This is a documentary around the Panama Pacific Expo and also the royal residence of fine Arts. I highly recommend watching it prior to you arrive.

The absent (1996)

Vertigo (1958)

The Room (2003)

The woman in Red (1984)

Murder in the an initial (1995)

It"s additionally been featured in number of TV reflects over the years including Falcon Crest, Monk, Chance and The roads of san Francisco.

How to get to the royal residence of fine Arts

The royal residence of good Arts sits on the northern side of mountain Francisco. Since SF is just 7 miles by 7 miles, friend will find it"s close to countless of our optimal attractions and also districts.

See more: Crown Ring, King And Queen Crowns Rings, Crown Ring, King And Queen Crowns, Queen Tattoo

In the map below, the palace of well Arts is the red star. Fisherman"s powhatan is the blue star and also Union Square is the environment-friendly star. I"ve additionally highlighted golden Gate Park with the yellow star. Scroll under for added tips on just how to gain here indigenous these and also other optimal locations around SF.