This impressive structure crowning Nob Hill was built on the site of the Crocker Mansion after the 1906 earthquake and fire. One of the main attractions of the cathedral are the stained glass windows. These windows showcase over 1000 figures, with some of them dating back as far as the 1930s. The gilded bas-reliefs that adorn the doors of the main entrance are cast from Ghiberti's original molds for the Gates of Paradise that adorn the Baptistery in Florence. The cathedral also boasts two labyrinths. The outdoor one is made of Terrazzo stone and the indoor one from limestone.
Named one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Golden Gate Bridge spans the eponymous strait that links the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. Designed by Joseph Strauss, Irving Morrow, and Charles Ellis, the bridge opened in 1937 as the world's longest suspension bridge, its main span measuring at an impressive 4,200 feet (1,280 meters) in length. The bridge is not quite golden, but is instead a bright orange, its Art Deco towers looming through the dense fog that often mires the bay; a sight that has come to be emblematic of the city of San Francisco. The bridge ferries vehicular and pedestrian traffic between San Francisco and Marin City, the vista points on either side boasting awe-inspiring views of the Golden Gate, while the bridge itself promises unmatched views of the bay.
Founded in 1984, the Contemporary Jewish Museum presents scholarly and artistic programs that explore the Jewish spirit and imagination. The museum offers contemporary views and Jewish perspectives on culture, history and art, with programs reflecting global ideas that tie to the past and remain relevant to all people today. World-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind was commissioned for the project. The 63,000 square foot museum provides a welcoming space where people from all backgrounds may encounter, celebrate and debate artistic forms of all varieties.
Constructed as a temporary attraction for the 1915 Pan-Pacific International Exhibition, Palace of Fine Arts continues to enchant the city. The original plaster, which made up the monument's exterior, has been gradually replaced, with funds raised by the Marina's residents who wanted to preserve a graceful part of their landscape. Swans in the adjoining lagoon glide by the soaring ocher-tinted colonnades and the imposing dome rigged with panels of centaurs and warriors. Stroll inside the dome and marvel at the uncanny acoustics, then enjoy a picnic lunch on one of the park benches to provide an unparalleled view of this gem.
Acting as a major cultural destination since 1895, the De Young Museum reopened in October 2005 in a facility designed by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron and Fong & Chan Architects in San Francisco. The building is magnificent and from the observation tower you can get a great view of the park. It is open, airy and massive. It also has a perforated and embossed copper facade which goes very well with the greenery around the museum. The museum houses the world-renowned American Painting and Sculpture collection, dating from the 17th to the 20th Centuries. Primitive Art is highly represented with extraordinary pieces of Native American Art (from the ancient Teotihuacan City), African Art (statues and potteries) and Oceanic Art (shields, dance dress and masks). Admission is free the first Tuesday of each month.
This shallow, 195-acre (7,89,137 meter) lake is considered by many to be the heart of Oakland. Once an arm of the San Francisco Bay, it actually served as a sewer for a time before Samuel Merritt proposed a dam in order to clean up the lake and have it become the focal point for civic pride and recreation that it is today. As the lake was also a common place to see many migratory birds and ducks, the lake was turned into the first wildlife refuge in North America in 1870. In 1925, the lake's "necklace of lights" was installed, and still stands today making the lake beautiful during day or night. The lake provides many recreational opportunities, including boating, playgrounds, picnic areas and the legendary Children's Fairyland storybook park.
College Avenue stretches from deep within Berkeley to Oakland, and along this bustling boulevard numerous restaurants, boutiques, cafes, and much more are waiting for your enjoyment. Near the Rockridge end of the street you will find many eclectic restaurants serving an enormous variety of cuisines, as well as other small boutique shops selling anything from yoga mats to antique brass bedposts. Near the University, College Avenue takes on a funkier spirit, and incense shops allure you with their intriguing scents. Shopping is a major attraction of this East Bay hot spot, yet there are not many chain stores. Rather, locals prefer to support local businesses instead of national chains. However certain stores, such as Urban Outfitters, American Apparel, and Hot Topic, can still be found conveniently nearby. Great for a Sunday walk where you can leisurely stroll down this beautiful avenue - stop and have a coffee at one of many cafes, or buy a unique present for a special someone!
Built in 1909, the Thorsen House is located in the Southside neighborhood in Berkeley. It is also known as The William R. Thorsen House and this mansion was incorporated in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The house is currently owned by the Sigma Phi Society, who conduct tours of the house a regular basis with special focus on the architectural aspect. One of the salient features of the house is that it is the last of houses designed by eminent architecture firm Greene & Greene, and its deeply gorgeous interiors are awe-inspiring. Visitors who wish to gain entry simply need to knock on the door.
If you are an art lover then visiting the NanHai Art Gallery is a must while in the city. The gallery exhibits the works of well-known contemporary Chinese artists. Exhibitions and events are held from time to time. A few of the artists whose works are usually portrayed include Hou Beiren, Shen Chen, Zhong Yueying, Zhou He and many others.
Financial District's Canessa Gallery has been a city landmark for quite a few years. Nestled in the historic brick structure, this contemporary art gallery showcases some of San Francisco's prodigious works by noted as well as upcoming artists. Canessa provides a thriving platform to the region's literary wizards, photography professionals, painters and sculptors to exhibit their talent to a wider audience. In the past, it has hosted works by known artists like Chico MacMurtrie, John Mattos, Mokhtar Paki and Trudy Myrrh Reagan, among several others. The gallery also organizes auctions and temporary art exhibitions to facilitate interactions between artists and art lovers of the region.
The Museum of Vision aims at highlighting the importance of one of our sensory organs, the eye. From humble beginnings, with just one exhibition in 1982, this museum has come a long way to being a prominent establishment as the Museum of Vision. The exhibits at this museum captures the science of ophthalmology, right from its inception and also includes advancements in the field. Ancient surgical instruments, eye amulets, spectacles, eye masks and much more are part of the collection on display. Booking an appointment before your visit is highly recommended.
A principal public-use lake that lies right above the San Andreas Fault, the San Andreas Lake initially started out as a tiny sag pond. It underwent expansion after a dam was built over the pond, and was promptly christened after the earthquake fault it was situated on. Closed off to the public due to its widespread use as a source of water for neighboring cities, the lake lies nestled amid lush verdure, curving gently along undulating landscapes. It covers a surface area of 550 acres (220 hectares), and is flanked by the settlements of San Bruno and Millbrae. A 6-mile (9.65-kilometer) hiking and biking trail slices through the lake's eastern shore, allowing locals to partake in a host of recreational activities around the lake.