Architectural Masterpieces: 6 Iconic Sights in San Francisco
San Francisco is the hills, trams and the hippie spirit. This place is not very similar to a typical American city: it’s much more calm, relaxed and artistic. Here, even the hostel is situated in the Art Nouveau mansion with round windows and stucco molding on the ceiling.
San Francisco has everything that an ideal city should have: a block of skyscrapers, a promenade full of life, small coffee shops and large parks, as well as Art Deco villas and Victorian houses. Indeed, the local architectural diversity is striking, and if you are a connoisseur of art, it would be a great idea to explore some striking examples.
Car rental in San Francisco will be the best way to enjoy it. Don’t know where to pick it up? On Rental24h.com you will find many offers from Payless at SFO Airport and compare them by various criteria. In addition, there are many other providers at your disposal, so you can be sure of the best choice.
Well, after you reserved your rental car from Payless at SFO airport, let’s look at the most incredible architectural masterpieces of the city:
The Legion of Honor
The Californian Legion of Honor – this name refers to the Museum of Art and the impressive neoclassical building in which it’s housed. The Legion of Honor in San Francisco was a gift to the city from Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, who was a socialite, patroness and art connoisseur.
Thanks to her love for everything in Paris, the museum building was designed in the image of the Palace of the Legion of Honor in Paris. This art museum contains a magnificent collection of European painting, sculpture and decorative art, as well as the antiquities of the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
Among all the cathedrals of the city, the magnificent Cathedral of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States is the most famous one. Its Gothic architecture reminds one of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Over the history of its existence since the gold rush, Grace Cathedral was rebuilt three times.
The construction of the current reinforced concrete structure in the Nob Hill region took as much as 40 years. Inside, the cathedral is decorated with colorful stained glass windows, which depict more than 1,100 figures – from mythical religious characters to such famous people of its era as Albert Einstein, Robert Lee Frost, John Glenn and many others.
The stunning frescoes depict many famous events in the history of San Francisco, such as the earthquake of 1906 and the signing of the UN Charter in 1945. The attention of visitors is attracted by labyrinths made of stone – one inside the cathedral and another – outside. They serve as a kind of conductor for restless souls who must go through three stages of spiritual development: liberation, acceptance, and return. Entrance to the cathedral is allowed for people of any faith.
Alamo Square is a historic neighborhood in western San Francisco. It’s well known thanks to the famous “Painted Ladies” – an architectural ensemble of six colorful Victorian houses of the XIX century, built according to one project on the eastern side of Steiner Street.
This row of colorful 2-3-storey mansions with numerous balconies and large verandas is also called a “postcard row”, because you can often see postcards or souvenirs with its image.
Alamo Square has a beautiful park surrounded by other attractive Victorian houses. This park, equipped with a playground and a tennis court, is loved by residents of the area, as well as tourists. In clear weather, from the central part of the park you can clearly see the famous city skyscraper – the Transamerica Pyramid, as well as the tops of two bridges – Golden Gate and Bay Bridge.
The 64-meters-high Coit Tower was built in the Telegraph Hill area from 1932 to 1933. It was named after Lilly Hitchcock Coit, a wealthy and eccentric woman who was the patroness of San Francisco volunteer firefighters and a sponsor of the tower.
Coit Tower is not only a unique historical monument from the time of the Great Depression of America, but also a wonderful observation platform from which you can admire stunning panoramic views of the city and the bay. The site is open to visitors all year round.
California Academy of Sciences
Located in the famous Golden Gate City Park, California Academy of Sciences is not only an architectural masterpiece, but also a multi-faceted museum of natural history. One of the main features of an ultra-modern building with an environmentally sound design is the so-called “Living Roof” – a huge terrace with the area of more than 10,000 square meters, covered with native plant species and even hills to blend harmoniously into the natural environment.
Solar panels are installed on an unusual roof to generate the necessary electricity, and the soil layer serves as a natural heat insulator. The walls are mainly made of glass, which allows the maximum amount of natural light to pass through.
In addition to the museum, there are office and scientific premises, a library, an archive, a planetarium, an aquarium, a botanical garden, a bird aviary, a 3D cinema and a lecture hall, two restaurants and shops inside the building.
The Palace of Fine Arts
This is the amazing architectural structure, which is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. The building was erected in 1915 for the temporary art museum during the Panama Pacific Exhibition.
The palace is a complex of buildings located in a picturesque park by a quiet artificial lagoon with wild swans, ducks and geese.
Particular attention is drawn to the Greco-Roman central rotunda and the intricate colonnade. The Palace of Fine Arts is not only a popular tourist attraction in San Francisco, but also one of the city’s favorite vacation spots. It regularly hosts interesting art exhibitions and a variety of cultural events.