Palace Hotel

Downtown, Civic Center & SoMa

A true SF survivor, the Palace opened in 1875 but was gutted during the 1906 earthquake. Opera star Enrico Caruso was jolted from his Palace bed by the quake and fled San Francisco, never to return. The Palace reopened by 1909 and it was here that Woodrow Wilson gave his League of Nations speech 10 years later. Visit by day to see the Garden Court stained-glass ceiling, then peek into the Pied Piper Bar to see Maxfield Parrish's Pied Piper mural.

Recently Palace management removed the Parrish mural with the intention of auctioning it off – but San Franciscans rallied and insisted on the Piper's return to his rightful place. Toast San Franciscan resilience under the mural and, if you're feeling brave, head to the House of Shields for another at the opulent mahogany back bar. This ornate bar was originally intended to frame Parrish's mural, but maybe the woodworker had one too many – it was too small to fit the Pied Piper.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Downtown, Civic Center & SoMa attractions

1. One Montgomery Terrace

0.03 MILES

For great Market St views of old and new SF, enter through Crocker Galleria, take the elevator to the top and then ascend the stairs, or enter Wells Fargo…

2. Lotta's Fountain

0.08 MILES

Lotta Crabtree made fortunes as San Francisco's diminutive opera diva, and she never forgot the city that paid for her trademark cigars. In 1875 she…

3. SPUR Urban Center Gallery


Cities are what you make of them, and urban-planning nonprofit SPUR invites you to reimagine San Francisco (and your own hometown) with gallery shows that…

4. California Historical Society

0.11 MILES

Enter a Golden State of enlightenment at this Californiana treasure trove, featuring themed exhibitions drawn from the museum's million-plus California…

5. 49 Geary

0.11 MILES

Pity the collectors silently nibbling endive in austere Chelsea galleries – at 49 Geary, First Thursday art openings mean unexpected art, popcorn and…

6. Museum of the African Diaspora

0.14 MILES

MoAD assembles an international cast of characters to tell the epic story of diaspora, including a moving video of slave narratives told by Maya Angelou…

8. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

0.19 MILES

When the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art expanded in 2016, it was a mind-boggling feat that nearly tripled the institution's size to accommodate a…