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San Francisco City Hall

City Hall City Hall Photo by Sanfranman59 via Wikimedia

One of the most beautiful examples of Beau-Arts architecture can be found right in the heart of San Francisco. This beautiful building is absolutely huge and covers the space of two whole city blocks. A little known fact about San Francisco City Hall is that the central dome is far taller than the more famous one which can be found on the United States Capitol Building.

The original building, now known as Old City Hall was opened in 1899. It was the result of almost 27 years of continuous building. However, just a short 7 years later the building was completely decimated by an earthquake. This meant that a new building needed to be constructed, and fast.

The architect behind this building was one Arthur Brown, famous for also designing a number of other famous buildings in San Francisco. His most notable works of art are both the Coit Tower and the Opera House.

The design of this building came from ideas generated by Brown when he attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, a famous school located right in the heart of Paris. The building time of the current San Francisco City Hall was far shorter than its predecessor with the construction process lasting only two years. It was opened up in 1915. In 1989 a significant part of the building was damaged in an earthquake. It wasn't until 1999 that restoration work could be carried out. At the same time as restoring the beauty of San Francisco City Hall the building was also made seismic-proof, and this means that the building will never have to suffer from a traumatising earthquake again.

San Francisco City Hall is without a doubt one of the most stunning buildings in all of San Francisco. Whilst it is difficult to get inside, standing outside and marvelling at the glamorous nature is more than enough. Don't forget to bring your camera!


Public Tours: Monday - Friday 10:00 am, 12:00pm and 2:00 pm
Address/Map:  1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl San Francisco
Phone: (415) 554-6139
Website: San Francisco City Hall
Admission: Free for school groups. A fee is charged for private groups of eight people or more