I have to give serious accolades to my brother. He visited this site last year and told me I needed to go see it and blog about it. I’d say he made a pretty fine recommendation.
The Palace of Fine Arts was built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific Exhibition held is San Francisco. This exhibition was the official celebration for the completion of the Panama Canal (and the SF-ians were also eager to show off their recovery from the 1906 earthquake). The Palace was intended to be a temporary structure to house the art gallery, but people liked it so much, they begged the city to leave it standing even after the party was over. During WWII, it was a military base, and after that it was a firehouse. In 1964, the structure started showing its age, so they tore it down and rebuilt it with sturdier materials. Now it’s part of the SF Parks and Recreation and is a really great site to visit when you’re in town.
This is what it looked like in 1915.
I have to admit, despite researching the site before visiting, I was amazed when I saw it for myself. It’s huge!! Like seriously, the pictures don’t do it justice. It was designed to look like a Greek/Roman temple (that was built by giants). I tried really hard to include people in my photos so you could get an idea of the size (no, that’s a lie. I didn’t have to try hard at all. There were a lot of people there).
There is a
lake lagoon in front of the colonnade with a fountain and giant swans (that lay giant golden eggs, I’m sure). I was there at noon and there were a lot of people eating a picnic lunch around the lagoon. Like a scene from a painting.
So if you’re coming to SF sometime soon, you should definitely check out the Palace of Fine Arts. I hope you’re as blown away as I was.
The Palace of Fine Arts
3301 Lyon Street
Don’t be confused there is a theater on the site, too. I didn’t get to go into the theater today, so I can’t report anything other than what’s on the website. There will be a Big Band/1940’s concert on Valentine’s Day called “In the Mood”.
In this same area, you will also find the Exploratorium Museum. I can’t report on this either, cuz I haven’t been. $15 per person. www.exploratorium.edu