The Palace of Fine Arts
San Francisco Sightseeing Attraction
The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco is a gorgeous Classically inspired building located in San Francisco’s Marina District. Home to the Exploratorium, and a staple of the San Francisco landscape, the Palace of Fine Arts is one of the hand-full of buildings that embody San Francisco.
The Palace of Fine Arts was originally built in 1915 to house the Pan-Pacific Exposition. Once a compound of eight domed structures and a series of colonnaded walkways, the dome and arches left today are one of two buildings that weren’t demolished after the Exposition. The lagoon that the Palace sits beside was designed to echo classical European settings, providing an expansive vista to view the buildings, and a surface to reflect them in. However, the edges have begun to subside into the water, which creates unsafe areas for visitors, but also provides a place for wildlife like frogs and turtles. During the Exposition, the Palace housed Impressionist paintings. Now, the Palace of Fine Arts houses the Exploratorium, a popular hands-on museum for children and adults alike. The Palace of Fine Arts compound is also a great place for picnics, walks, and just enjoying the outdoors, and is also a favorite location for wedding videos. In recent years, the Palace had begun to fall apart, leading to extensive efforts to raise money for reconstruction and preservation.
The Palace of Fine Arts has stood the test of time within San Francisco, remaining proudly since 1915. The Palace has stood through war, the Depression, and times of immense societal change. From the Summer of Love to today’s continued gentrification and the improvements being made throughout San Francisco, no one would think of changing or destroying the beauty of the Palace of Fine Arts. It’s classical form and graceful presence makes it a piece of architecture that defies trends and stands apart from typical contemporary structures.
The Palace of Fine Arts, in the Marina, is located near other important areas of San Francisco, and is in proximity to transportation. The Golden Gate Bridge and the Presidio are a good walk or a short ride from the Palace of Fine Arts. The San Francisco Yacht Club, Crissy Field, and Fort Mason are all also located fairly close to the Palace of Fine Arts. The Marina District is mostly residential but is known for its restaurants and boutiques. The Marina District, Cow Hollow, and Pacific Heights can all be reached by walking or by bus. The MUNI lines running near the Marina and the Palace of Fine Arts include the 22 and the 43. The Palace of Fine Arts doesn’t just provide beautiful scenery, but houses the Exploratorium, one of the few museums of modern phenomena that require interaction with the exhibits. An amazing experience for all ages, the Exploratorium allows interaction with electricity, physics, and other modern scientific marvels.
The Palace of Fine Arts has stood in San Francisco for so long and has supplied amusement and culture to so many people, that it has become one of the major sights in San Francisco. Featured in movies and TV shows, on postcards and calendars, the Palace of Fine Arts is as recognizable as the Golden Gate Bridge. The Palace is a beautiful sight, no matter the weather or the day. Gleaming in the sunlight, or brooding through the rain, The Palace of Fine Arts is a gorgeous building that inspires many emotions in thousands of people. The few remaining colonnades and the integration of the compound with a natural setting contribute heavily to the Palace of Fine Arts’ charm. It is as enjoyable to wander the compound, appreciating the architecture and the swans on the lake as it is to walk through Crissy Field or play in the Exploratorium. When planning a trip to San Francisco, it would be a great idea to dedicate an afternoon to taking a trip to the Exploratorium and The Palace of Fine Arts. Parking tends to be a little difficult, so taking the bus and walking are a good idea. And after the Palace of Fine Arts, a nice walk along the Marina and lunch or dinner on Chestnut Street at one of the many restaurants will be a great way to see a piece of San Francisco.