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Architectural Jewels in SF. A Joie de Vivre Guide.

Destination(s): San Francisco

Some of San Francisco’s attractions are obvious, and most tour companies explore the well-known tourist traps. There are, however, loads of hidden treasures and a whole lotta folks who make it their business to show you their favorite spots. In this guide we present a sampling of the architecture of our beautiful city, so get out there and have fun! (NOTE: Our suggestion of San Francisco’s “architectural jewels” are excerpted from Don & Betty Martin’s Best of San Francisco book.) read more about Architectural Jewels in SF. A Joie de Vivre Guide.

Haas-Lilienthal House

Haas-Lilienthal House

  • 2007 Franklin St
  • (between Wasthington and Jackson streets)
  • tel:(415) 441-3004
  • Visit website
  • San Francisco, 94109
Chateau Tivoli

Chateau Tivoli

  • 1057 Steiner Street
  • tel:+1 415 776 5462
  • Visit website
  • San Francisco, 94115-4620
Conservatory of Flowers

Conservatory of Flowers

  • JFK Drive, Golden Gate Park
  • Golden Gate Park
  • tel:(415) 666-7001
  • Visit website
  • San Francisco, 94117

Built in the late 1870s, the oldest building in the park is the last remaining wood-frame Victorian conservatory in the country. It's also a copy of the conservatory in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, England, with a spectacular, 14-ton glass dome atop its perch. The gardens in front of the conservatory are planted seasonally, with the flowers often fashioned like billboards depicting the Golden Gate Bridge or other city sights. On the east side of the conservatory (to the right as you face the building), cypress, pine, and redwood trees surround the Dahlia Garden, which blooms in summer and fall. To the west several hundred feet on John F. Kennedy Drive is the Rhododendron Dell. The dell contains the most varieties -- 850 in all -- of any garden in the country. It's especially beautiful in March, when many of the flowers bloom, and is a favorite spot of locals for Mother's Day picnics. read more about Conservatory of Flowers

Palace of Fine Arts

Palace of Fine Arts

  • 3301 Lyon Street
  • tel:(415) 563-6504
  • Visit website
  • San Francisco, 94123
St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral

St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral

  • 660 California Street
  • tel:(415) 288-3800
  • Visit website
  • San Francisco, 94108
Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

  • 1100 California St
  • Between Taylor and Jones Sts
  • tel:(415) 749-6300
  • Visit website
  • San Francisco, 94108
Transamerica Pyramid

Transamerica Pyramid

  • 600 Montgomery St
  • (at Columbus Avenue)
  • tel:(415) 983-4100
  • Visit website
  • San Francisco, 94111
de Young Museum

de Young Museum

  • 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr
  • (Golden Gate Park)
  • tel:(415) 863-3330
  • Visit website
  • San Francisco, 94118

Renovated in 2005, de Young Museum's ultra-modern design stirred up quite the controversy in San Francisco when it was first reopened. However, locals warmed to the sleek, angular exteriors once they experienced the museum's indoor wonders. Perhaps San Francisco's most eclectic art museum, the de Young features permanent collections of American art, indigenous art and artifacts from around the world (including masks from Oceania, basketry from Africa, and pottery from the Americas), crafts and textiles, and graphic arts. And then there are the rotating special exhibits, which have proven to be the not-to-miss art events of the season, featuring the likes of ancient Egyptian relics or 20th century fashion designer retrospectives. read more about de Young Museum

City Hall

City Hall

  • 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
  • (Civic Center)
  • tel:(415) 554-4000
  • Visit website
  • San Francisco, 94102
Yerba Buena Gardens

Yerba Buena Gardens

  • Mission/ 3rd
  • Located on 2 square city blocks bounded by Mission, Folsom, Third, and Fourth Sts
  • tel:Contact Yerba Buena Arts & Events: 415/543-1718
  • Visit website
  • San Francisco, 94104
California Palace of the Legion of Honor

California Palace of the Legion of Honor

  • Lincoln Park
  • 34th Avenue & Clement Street
  • tel:(415) 863-3330
  • Visit website
  • San Francisco, 94121