Like a fossilized party favor, this romantic, Greco-Roman ruin is the memento San Francisco decided to keep from the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Indeed, the Palace is a favorite wedding photo location for many couples in the San Francisco Bay area. But many come just to simply gaze up at the rotunda relief and glimpse "Art Under Attack by Materialists, with Idealists Leaping to her Rescue".
The exhibition hall, which originally housed Impressionist paintings during the exposition, was once home to the Exploratorium, a state of the art interactive science museum that moved in Spring 2013 to Pier 15 on the Embarcadero. Now the venue hosts occasional concerts and events but is not generally open to the public. The inside is not the main attraction after all.
The nearby lagoon, fringed with Australian eucalyptus trees, was intended to echo those found in classical settings in Europe, where water serves as a mirror to reflect the grand buildings. The tranquil lagoon is also home to ducks, swans, sea gulls, and geese, who put on graceful displays for passersby.
In the Marina District, The Palace of Fine Arts stands alongside Palace Drive. It’s easily accessible by car and public transportation, and close to the Presido and the Golden Gate Bridge. With views of San Francisco Bay, the park is a perfect spot for an afternoon picnic.