Home to San Francisco’s main governmental offices, Civic Center is a central gathering spot for visitors to major museums and performing arts venues. The tree-lined UN Plaza leads to the impressive gold-leaf dome of City Hall while surrounding Beaux Arts-style buildings invite you to stroll around the square or buy tickets to a show.
A National Historic Landmark District, Civic Center houses landmarks such as City Hall (rebuilt after the infamous 1906 earthquake), the War Memorial Opera House, Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, the San Francisco Public Library, and the Asian Art Museum, creating a unique epicenter that blends municipal affairs with artistic, cultural activities. To learn more about the history and architecture of City Hall, take a tour of the governmental building or book a walking or biking tour of the surrounding area.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bring water and a warm layer as weather can change quickly.
- Pets must be leashed, and owners are required to pick up after them.
- The plaza and its buildings are wheelchair and stroller accessible.
- There is a free public restroom available for use.
How to Get There
Civic Center is accessible by car along Market Street. For parking, take Larkin Street and access the Civic Center Garage at McAllister Street.To arrive via public transportation, get off at the Civic Center station on BART, or hop off any MUNI metro lines and buses servicing the area.
When to Get There
San Francisco is temperate year-round, averaging highs around 67°F and lows around 54°F in the summer. For the best weather, plan your visit during October when the fog is clear and the city is at its warmest. Consider planning your visit to Civic Center Tuesday through Friday for less crowds and access to all the surrounding attractions including the Asian Art Museum and the San Francisco Public Library. And on Sundays, Civic Center hosts the city’s only independent farmers market.
Things to Do Near Civic Center
Since the center is at the intersection of two major city routes it’s easy to visit neighboring districts, such as Hayes Valley, for shopping, dining, and sightseeing. Just up the hill is Alamo Square, an easily walkable neighborhood full of classic Victorian homes, including the famed Painted Ladies, as well as several eateries. Or hop on BART to stroll along the Embarcadero where you can visit Fisherman's Wharf, the Ferry Building, or Oracle Park—home of the San Francisco Giants.