Palace of Fine Arts

Palace of Fine Arts showing a pond and heritage architecture
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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

Cow Hollow Inn & Suites
Cow Hollow Inn & Suites
2 out of 5
2190 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA, 94123
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $175 per night from Jul 3 to Jul 4
Stay at this hotel in San Francisco. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and a 24-hour front desk. Our guests praise the WiFi and the clean rooms in our reviews. ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (1,355 reviews)
"Cow Hollow is a good value for San Francisco. Appreciate the secure parking and security for the building."

Reviewed on Jun 30, 2022

Cow Hollow Inn & Suites
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
4 out of 5
2500 Mason St, San Francisco, CA, 94133
The price is $219 per night from Jul 5 to Jul 6
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly hotel in San Francisco. Enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, and a 24-hour fitness center. Our guests praise the helpful staff ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (3,877 reviews)
"PARKING was overrated very high priced, $57 parking fee. Website indicated $37. The breakfast buffet was awesome, however coffee no good."

Reviewed on Jun 30, 2022

Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel
The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel
4 out of 5
495 Geary St, San Francisco, CA, 94102
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $179 per night from Jul 3 to Jul 4
Stay at this 4-star historic hotel in San Francisco. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and a 24-hour fitness center. Our guests praise the bar and the helpful staff ...
4.4/5 Wonderful! (316 reviews)
"Very nice property"

Reviewed on Jun 27, 2022

The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel
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.

Plan a trip to see Palace of Fine Arts

Grant Hotel
Hotel Zetta San Francisco, a Viceroy Urban Retreat
The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel

Popular places to visit in Palace of Fine Arts


Best Lodging Options Near Palace of Fine Arts

Presidio Parkway Inn
Presidio Parkway Inn
2 out of 5
2361 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA, 94123
The price is $119 per night from Aug 1 to Aug 2
Presidio Parkway Inn
Cow Hollow Inn & Suites
Cow Hollow Inn & Suites
2 out of 5
2190 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA, 94123
The price is $175 per night from Jul 3 to Jul 4
Cow Hollow Inn & Suites
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
4 out of 5
2500 Mason St, San Francisco, CA, 94133
The price is $219 per night from Jul 5 to Jul 6
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel
The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel
4 out of 5
495 Geary St, San Francisco, CA, 94102
The price is $179 per night from Jul 3 to Jul 4
The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel
Holiday Inn Golden Gateway, an IHG Hotel
Holiday Inn Golden Gateway, an IHG Hotel
3.5 out of 5
1500 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA, 94109
The price is $161 per night from Jul 4 to Jul 5
Holiday Inn Golden Gateway, an IHG Hotel
Handlery Union Square Hotel
Handlery Union Square Hotel
3.5 out of 5
351 Geary St, San Francisco, CA, 94102
The price is $189 per night from Jul 3 to Jul 4
Handlery Union Square Hotel
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square
4.5 out of 5
335 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA, 94102
The price is $219 per night from Jul 3 to Jul 4
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square
Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown SOMA
Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown SOMA
4 out of 5
50 3rd St, San Francisco, CA, 94103
The price is $175 per night from Jul 4 to Jul 5
Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown SOMA
Hotel Caza Fisherman’s Wharf
Hotel Caza Fisherman’s Wharf
4 out of 5
1300 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 94133
The price is $189 per night from Jul 5 to Jul 6
Hotel Caza Fisherman’s Wharf
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.