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Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, San Francisco

(4.6/5 based on 3,600+ reviews on the web)
Built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, Palace of Fine Arts Theatre was one of the only constructions kept intact after the world fair. Locals were so impressed with the architecture, they campaigned to preserve the structure. Take in the elegant rotunda, the Greek-style colonnades, and the lagoon, where you can see a clear reflection of the building. Here you can relax in the company of swans, ducks, geese, turtles, and frogs. The palace hosts a variety of art exhibits, concerts, films, and theatrical performances throughout the year. Check online to see if any events here line up with your visit. For travelers who use our custom trip planner, San Francisco holidays become easier to arrange, with trips to the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre and other attractions mapped out and timetabled.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • It's mind boggling that its original purpose and why it was built, was for a fair! Where today, a fair is a place you go in shorts and a t-shirt, this was obviously not how people dressed to come see ...  more »
  • This place is just amazing. The architecture is beautiful, as well as is very quiet. Worth the walk from the gardens. The neighborhood has very good homes.
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  • It was not in the original plans for the holidays, but we became a place to go, confiezo that without many hopes. We have a beautiful park and a great construction. It was one of the more beautiful we visited throughout San Francisco.
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Google
  • Wonderful example of Neoclassical architecture! Perfect mix of Greek/Roman design and beautiful garden to relax. The central dome it's clearly inspired on the Temple of Minerva calcidica, which ruins can be appreciated in Rome. That's really all that can be said. Inside it's possible to listen live music (check the program). Beautiful surrounding park and the neighborhood is spectacular. If you've seen the movie "Big Eyes", you'll recognize where some of the scenes were shot
  • This is such a beautiful location. There was a guy right inside that dome area playing music and it sounded really awesome. This is a great place if you want to stop by to take pictures and such. I parked behind the palace. There were plenty of spaces available but that was on a Tuesday.
  • Less than 10 years after the city was practically leveled during the Great Fires & Earthquake of 1906 we were hosting the Panama Pacific International Exhibition — the World's Fair of 1915. The Palace is one of the only remaining buildings from that World Fair — and a popular picnic spot for locals and travelers alike. If you visit on a weekend you'll like find brides competing for the best spot to take their wedding photos. Or some girls in big pink dresses celebrating their quinceanera! Be sure to peep the top of the columns — that's where the sweepings Maidens are. (Don't worry Doctor Who fans, not Weeping Angels — Weeping Maidens, it's okay to blink) These maidens are actually a tribute to the survivors of the 1906 earthquake and fires. Since survivors had to seek refuge in hilltops, they had the perfect vantage to watch the city burn — so instead they covered their faces. Plan your trip on a sunny day and grab lunch before or after on Chestnut Street aka Restaurant Row!
  • Amazing architecture, you won't find many other structures like it. Its free to go and walk around it. Well worth an hour or more of your time.
  • The palace is well groomed and maintained by city and county of San Francisco. Garden is pleasant. Lagoon is pleasant People are friendly