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Palace of Fine Arts & Theatre, San Francisco

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Contact: +1 415 563 6504
Open Hours: Mo to Su from 06:00 AM to 09:00 PM
Constructed as a temporary attraction for the 1915 Pan-Pacific International Exhibition, this Grecian monument continues to enchant and enhance the city. The original plaster, which made up the monument's exterior, has been gradually replaced with funds raised by the Marina's well-heeled residents who were loath to lose such a graceful part of their landscape. Swans in the adjoining lagoon glide by the soaring ochre-tinted colonnades and the imposing dome rigged with panels of centaurs and warriors engaged in battle over nubile maidens. Those column-top statues of sorrowing maidens turned away from prying eyes are using their tears to water the long-gone oaks that originally stood in the planters that they surround. Stroll inside the dome, clap your hands and marvel at the uncanny acoustics, then enjoy a picnic lunch on one of the park benches scattered to provide an unparalleled view of this gem.