HomeSan FranciscoPalace of Fine Arts

Palace of Fine Arts

3301 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94123 3301 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94123 Photo by Steven Pavlov

The Palace of Fine Arts is located in the Marina District of San Francisco, California. The currently preserved building was first constructed for the Panama-Pacific Exposition, principally for the purpose of exhibiting works of art presented within the building. Since then, it's remained as one of the surviving structures of the era that still remains at its original site.

The Palace of Fine Arts is a place filled with rich artistic history, in addition to being a building that's decorated in rich artistic embellishments itself. Not only will you get to see the art and other exhibits inside the building's Exploratorium, but the building itself is a work of art.

The Palace of Fine Arts possess a unique site built around a small artificial lagoon. The establishment itself is comprised of a 1,100 ft wide arbor around a central rotunda near the water. The reasoning behind choosing a unique site such a lagoon harkens back to classical lagoons found in Europe, where the expansive water provides a mirror-like surface, which in turn, reflects the grand buildings framing the San Francisco Bay Area.

As for the building itself, the different ornamentation or decorations include three repeating panels placed around the building's intricate structure, created by Bruno Louis Zimm. These panels represent Greek culture, arranged in a story depicting 'The Struggle for the Beautiful.' Additional decorations include the weeping women that top the colonnade by Ulric Ellerhusen.

The underside of the Palace features more embellishments that are considered works of art in their own right. Nestled right underneath the building's underside is a dome with eight large insets, originally hosting murals created by Robert Reid. Four of these insets depicted the conception and the subsequent birth of art, while the others showed the Golds of California—citrus fruits, metallic gold, wheat and poppies.

Palace of Fine Arts DomeThe innate beauty of the exterior of The Palace of Fine Arts continues to attract both tourists and locals to its scenic environment. It's even a favorite photography location, where people from all over the city and even wedding parties take picturesque photos near the establishment.

Throughout the years, the Palace of Fine Arts has remained a lauded tourist attraction, perfect for families and other parties to visit when stopping by San Francisco for a vacation. It's so popular as a San Francisco landmark that it's even been featured in many popular media like movies, television and even interactive media like video games.


Hours: Varies - depends on the event
Address/Map:    3301 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94123
Phone: (415) 567-6642
Website: Palace of Fine Arts