Civic Center – San Francisco’s Neo-Classical masterpiece

Discover San Francisco’s impressive Civic Center. A masterpiece of civil engineering designed to sit at the heart of the remodeled ‘City Beautiful’. Wander the grand Neo-Classical halls and buildings, imagining how architect Daniel Burnham was able to create such a vision.

Our San Francisco Bus Tour stops right outside. Hop off and see how San Francisco runs at City Hall and the Public Library, or visit cultural hubs like the War Memorial Opera House and Veteran’s Building.

A civics lesson

The original Civic Center and Hall of Records were destroyed in the devastating earthquake of 1906. Burnham designed the rebuild as part of a wider vision for a new city. The new center is the only part of his dream that was realized, but it’s an impressive legacy to have left behind.

Other interesting facts about the Civic Center

  • The gold dome of City Hall is modeled on St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It’s the tallest dome in the United States
  • The 1951 Treaty of San Francisco, that officially ended the Pacific War with Japan, was signed here
  • The Civic Center was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978
  • Gay rights activist Harvey Milk gave speeches here and a candlelight vigil was held outside the Civic Center after his assassination in 1978
  • During World War II, army barracks were constructed in the main plaza in front of City Hall