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Palace of Fine Arts
Vacation Travel Guide

Palace of Fine Arts showing a pond and heritage architecture

This Roman-inspired palace built in 1915 remains a modern-day renaissance center of fine arts and science.

The Romanesque Palace of Fine Arts was created as a star attraction at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The expo celebrated the completion of the Panama Canal and San Francisco’s recovery from the 1906 earthquake and subsequent fires. Designer Bernard Maybeck themed the construction around Roman ruins, drawing inspiration from both Roman and Greek architecture. His intention was to show “the mortality of grandeur and the vanity of human wishes.”

This is one of the few surviving structures from the expo. It has housed tennis courts and served as a store of military trucks and jeeps. A major restoration program in the ’60s restored the palace to its former glory, stripping it back to its basics and then rebuilding with new concrete, paving and landscaping.

Today it's the home to the Exploratorium, an exciting journey into the wonders and mysteries of science, with interactive displays and hands-on activities aimed at children.

The palace is in a peaceful space to walk, or enjoy a picnic. Surrounded by gardens and a swan-filled lagoon, sits the palace, a grand rotunda and 1,100-foot (335-meter) pergola. It’s a popular destination because of the serenity of its environment and the majesty of its architecture.

The Palace of Fine Arts is to the west of Fisherman's Wharf in the Marina District. On foot, it’s less than two miles (three kilometers) from Fisherman's Wharf past Ghirardelli Square. It is also easily accessible by public transport. Several Muni buses will take you there. There is a parking lot on the west side accessible from Lyon Street.

Top Hotels Close to Palace of Fine Arts

Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
4 out of 5
2500 Mason St, San Francisco, CA
The price is $132 per night from May 24 to May 24
Located in North Beach, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Aquarium of the Bay, Pier 39, and Ghirardelli Square. Lombard Street and Alcatraz Island are ...
4.1/5Very Good! (2,423 reviews)
"Hotel was great except for the thin walls. We can hear footsteps and conversation from the other room."

Reviewed on May 18, 2021

Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
4 out of 5
780 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
The price is $155 per night from May 21 to May 21
Located in Downtown San Francisco, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Moscone Convention Center, Ferry Building, and Oracle Park. Chase Center and Pier 39 are ...
4.3/5Excellent! (2,246 reviews)
"Wonderful place very nice people ! Will definitely be staying here every time we come on vacation to San Francisco"

Reviewed on May 18, 2021

San Francisco Marriott Marquis
Cow Hollow Inn & Suites
Cow Hollow Inn & Suites
2 out of 5
2190 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $93 per night from May 19 to May 19
Located in Marina District, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Union Street, Presidio of San Francisco, and Van Ness Avenue. Palace of Fine Arts and Lombard ...
4.2/5Excellent! (1,141 reviews)
"Helpful staff. Excellent accommodations for the price. Would def stay here again."

Reviewed on May 16, 2021

Cow Hollow Inn & Suites
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top Palace of Fine Arts Flight + Hotel Deals

Caravelle Inn & Suites
Arena Hotel
Aloft Santa Clara
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Best Lodging Options Near Palace of Fine Arts

Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
4 out of 5
2500 Mason St, San Francisco, CA
The price is $132 per night from May 24 to May 24
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
4 out of 5
780 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
The price is $155 per night from May 21 to May 21
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
Cow Hollow Inn & Suites
Cow Hollow Inn & Suites
2 out of 5
2190 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA
The price is $93 per night from May 19 to May 19
Cow Hollow Inn & Suites
Travelodge by Wyndham Presidio San Francisco
Travelodge by Wyndham Presidio San Francisco
2 out of 5
2755 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA
The price is $131 per night from May 19 to May 19
Travelodge by Wyndham Presidio San Francisco
Inn at Golden Gate
Inn at Golden Gate
2 out of 5
2707 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA
The price is $84 per night from May 19 to May 19
Inn at Golden Gate
Marina Motel
Marina Motel
2 out of 5
2576 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA
The price is $109 per night from May 19 to May 19
Marina Motel
Hilton San Francisco Financial District
Hilton San Francisco Financial District
4 out of 5
750 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA
The price is $119 per night from May 19 to May 19
Hilton San Francisco Financial District
Infinity Hotel SF, Ascend Hotel Collection
Infinity Hotel SF, Ascend Hotel Collection
2.5 out of 5
2322 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA
The price is $109 per night from May 23 to May 23
Infinity Hotel SF, Ascend Hotel Collection
Alpha Inn & Suites
Alpha Inn & Suites
2 out of 5
2505 Lombard Steet, San Francisco, CA
The price is $61 per night from May 19 to May 19
Alpha Inn & Suites
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.