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Palace of Fine Arts
Vacation Travel Guide

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

Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
4 out of 5
2500 Mason St, San Francisco, CA
The price is ¥8,828 per night from Jan 18 to Jan 19

Located in North Beach, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Aquarium of the Bay, Pier 39, and Ghirardelli Square. Lombard Street and Alcatraz Island are ...

4.1/5Very Good! (2,255 reviews)

"Nice hotel very relaxed room is very comfortable and clean"…"

Reviewed on Jan 10, 2021

Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
Hilton San Francisco Financial District
Hilton San Francisco Financial District
4 out of 5
750 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA
The price is ¥11,387 per night from Jan 17 to Jan 18

Located in Downtown San Francisco, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Ferry Building, Lombard Street, and Pier 39. Oracle Park and Palace of Fine Arts are also ...

3.8/5Good! (2,404 reviews)

"Very nice staff and excellent service. Clean room. Overall nothing bad to say."…"

Reviewed on Jan 4, 2021

Hilton San Francisco Financial District
Cow Hollow Inn & Suites
Cow Hollow Inn & Suites
2 out of 5
2190 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA
The price is ¥6,578 per night from Jan 17 to Jan 18

Located in Marina District, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Union Street and Van Ness Avenue. Palace of Fine Arts and Lombard Street are also within ...

4.2/5Excellent! (1,135 reviews)

"This place was a good stay. Here for 1 night, and I’d stay again. Location is convenient."…"

Reviewed on Jan 9, 2021

Cow Hollow Inn & Suites
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.

Top Palace of Fine Arts Flight + Hotel Deals

Sweden House Hotel
Calista Organic Hotel
Warfield Hotel
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Palace of Fine Arts

Best Lodging Options Near Palace of Fine Arts

Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
4 out of 5
2500 Mason St, San Francisco, CA
The price is ¥8,828 per night from Jan 18 to Jan 19
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
Hilton San Francisco Financial District
Hilton San Francisco Financial District
4 out of 5
750 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA
The price is ¥11,387 per night from Jan 17 to Jan 18
Hilton San Francisco Financial District
Cow Hollow Inn & Suites
Cow Hollow Inn & Suites
2 out of 5
2190 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA
The price is ¥6,578 per night from Jan 17 to Jan 18
Cow Hollow Inn & Suites
Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
3.5 out of 5
1500 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA
The price is ¥12,670 per night from Jan 18 to Jan 19
Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
Travelodge by Wyndham Presidio San Francisco
Travelodge by Wyndham Presidio San Francisco
2 out of 5
2755 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA
The price is ¥12,566 per night from Jan 17 to Jan 18
Travelodge by Wyndham Presidio San Francisco
Inn at Golden Gate
Inn at Golden Gate
2 out of 5
2707 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA
The price is ¥6,916 per night from Jan 17 to Jan 18
Inn at Golden Gate
Marina Motel
Marina Motel
2 out of 5
2576 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA
The price is ¥8,100 per night from Jan 18 to Jan 19
Marina Motel
Alpha Inn & Suites
Alpha Inn & Suites
2 out of 5
2505 Lombard Steet, San Francisco, CA
The price is ¥5,816 per night from Jan 21 to Jan 22
Alpha Inn & Suites
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square
4 out of 5
335 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA
The price is ¥18,589 per night from Feb 5 to Feb 6
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square
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.