Civic Center

See historic San Francisco government buildings, study ancient artifacts and visit renowned performing arts institutions in this cultural district.

San Francisco’s Civic Center contains many of the city’s cultural institutions and historic buildings. Survey the grand City Hall, built in the early 20th century and regarded as the centerpiece of the district. Other attractions include an art museum displaying works from Asia’s diverse cultures and an enchanting theater that stages world-class musical productions.

As its name implies, this neighborhood is home to several notable government institutions, such as San Francisco’s Supreme Court of California, the San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Explore the district’s two main plazas, the Civic Center Plaza and the United Nations Plaza. Civic Center Plaza is a great place to view some of the area’s imposing classical-style architecture, while the United Nations Plaza hosts a popular semiweekly farmers market.

Book tickets for musical performances at the Orpheum Theater on Civic Center’s southern border. Inside, high, white vaulted ceilings give the theater a cathedral-like appearance.

Tour San Francisco City Hall, one of the most recognizable landmarks in Civic Center. This impressive structure was completed in 1915 after an earthquake destroyed the original building in 1906. The magnificent dome is said to have been inspired by Mansart’s Baroque dome of the Val-de-Grâce church in Paris. Find other landmarks, including the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, just a short walk from here.

Bordering the Civic Center Plaza to the east is the acclaimed Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, which features more than 18,000 artworks in its permanent collection. Some pieces are more than 6,000 years old while more than 1,000 works date from the last 55 years, making this one of the most comprehensive Asian art collections in the western world. Examine ancient religious sculptures, military artifacts, paintings and other objects.

Civic Center is located about 14 miles (23 kilometers) from San Francisco International Airport. Find several large parking lots in the area. Stay in nearby luxury hotels and less expensive self-catered apartments.

Enjoy culture and grandiose architecture in San Francisco’s Civic Center.

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