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 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, is now home to the Exploratorium, a state of the art interactive science museum. 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.
When we saw our bus coming, we were very disappointed because it only had an open top deck, and I didn't need to be out in the open air. The driver told us that there would be another bus coming, which was a real doubledecker (like the picture on your website). We had to wait about 20-30 minutes, but when it did come, we were delighted, especially with our guide, Victoria! She was delightful. We stayed on with her and made the complete round with her. The second day, we again had to wait for a real doubledecker--first one open top only. Our guide again was Victoria! She seemed so thrilled to see us and announced it to all onboard that we had come back a second day! We had to leave her, though, because we wanted to do some "hopping off" We did that at two stops--Palace of Fine Arts and then the Japanese Tea Garden which is beautiful! made a couple of stops along the way and were quite satisfied with the guide that time, If there is a way to email Victoria, I would love to do that. Otherwise, I hope someone can tell her how pleased we were with her "guidance".
Review by Anonymous, December 2008
Doing what: Alcatraz and San Francisco City Tour
Was not very happy with some of the details - one of the stops was far away from the route but the description did not mention this detail, we had dificulties to find Palace of Fine Arts and we missed the bus trying to find the bus stop after visiting the palace; people that answered the phone in the tour office could not tell us if there were any more buses going our way.
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.