You're more than welcome to laugh, but I was only recently reminded of the Palace of Fine Arts' existence after watching Chelsea Peretti's comedy special, in which she rolls up to the palace on motorcycle and theatrically kneels under the dome. I suddenly remembered that in my only other visit to San Francisco, we'd driven by the palace on our way out of town, and I had made a mental note to visit the palace and Presidio on a future trip to the Bay Area. That future visit finally happened seven years later, but I might have forgotten about the palace if not for Chelsea Peretti (the comedy special is hilarious, by the way).
The Palace is on the edge of the Marina District and the Presidio. The building was originally constructed in 1915, as part of the Panama Pacific Exposition. That original structure is not the one in these pictures, as over the last century, the structures have been rebuilt, added to, and then seismically retro-fitted. In fact, in 1964, the original Palace was demolished and entirely reconstructed.
Since the initial construction, the palace has been consistenly embraced by San Franciscans. It continues to be a gathering spot for tourists, locals, and photographers, as well as home to the Palace of Fine Arst Theater. You can learn all you've ever wanted to know about the Palace by clicking here.
The Palace and our subsequent walk to the beach was an ideal capstone to our week long trip to San Francisco. I always aspire to end a trip on a high note, as those are the memories that linger long after the trip is over. Despite best efforts, this rarely happens, as trip-ends can be sad or stressful. It actually happened on this trip though: we flew out Monday mid-day, so that Sunday afternoon, with the gold-hued light setting over the palace and the Golden Gate Bridge, has remained a powerful image and memory, a week and a half later.