Palace of Fine Arts
Celebrated Berkeley architect Bernard Maybeck designed one of the best San Francisco sights, the Palace of Fine Arts, for the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition, an event celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal, and the rebirth of San Francisco following the disastrous 1906 earthquake. Not a palace or a museum, as the name implies, it is a Classical-style ruin complete with an enormous rotunda and colonnade. Surrounded by a lagoon, it makes an ideal spot to stroll. It also houses the Exploratorium, an interactive science museum that’s immensely popular with kids, and the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, which hosts a range of concerts, films, and other events.