San Francisco City Hall, San Francisco

#60 of 684 in Things to do in San Francisco
Government Building · Architectural Building
San Francisco City Hall is the seat of government for the City and County of San Francisco, California. Re-opened in 1915 in its open space area in the city's Civic Center, it is a Beaux-Arts monument to the City Beautiful movement that epitomized the high-minded American Renaissance of the 1880s to 1917. The structure's dome is taller than that of the United States Capitol by 42 feet. The present building replaced an earlier City Hall that was destroyed during the 1906 earthquake, which was two blocks from the present one. It was bounded by Larkin Street, McAllister Street, and City Hall Avenue (a street, now built over, which ran from the corner of Grove and Larkin to the corner of McAllister and Leavenworth), largely where the current public library and U.N. Plaza stand today.

The principal architect was Arthur Brown, Jr., of Bakewell & Brown, whose attention to the finishing details extended to the doorknobs and the typeface to be used in signage. Brown's blueprints of the building are preserved at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. Brown also designed the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, Veterans Building, Temple Emanuel, Coit Tower and the Federal office building at 50 United Nations Plaza.

Choose to start, finish, or center your holiday on a trip to San Francisco City Hall by using our San Francisco trip planner.
Create an itinerary including San Francisco City Hall
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors

San Francisco City Hall reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
1,023 reviews
  • We were in the Civic Center area and went to see the City Hall. This is a beautiful building to see. There is a nice park area across from it.  more »
  • It is one of the finest city halls I have ever seen. The original city hall was built in 1899 and was destroyed in the earthquake and fire of 1906. The present city hall was rebuilt between...  more »
  • I really didn't have to much time here and I only saw a few things but did talk to some workers who were there. Be warned there is heavy security to gain full access. I understand why this is but because of a time crunch and not wanting to empty all that I had with me I declined to go through the security check point. It looked and felt like you were going through airport security and that is the ONLY reason I did not give this place a full five out of five. The building is magnificent and reminds me of the capitol in Washington, D.C. from the Baroque accoutrements. Inside once past security there is a very long and steep staircase to the main floor. If you are an older person be prepared. I really liked seeing this place and just wished I had more time. I think it would be a good place to spend about 90 minutes there soaking up all that it has to offer.
  • The building is beautiful! It's such a treat, with so much history! I was really impressed with the structure. The tour, however, was pretty horrendous. I work in a museum, and I have visited many historical sites (many capitol buildings), and this was unfortunately the worst tour experience I've taken. I'm sorry to be harsh, because you can tell that a lot of care went into it, but the program and tour need some serious updating. The older women that greeted us and gave us the tour were very nice, but we spent 40 minutes just looking at exhibition cases, that were clearly not done by a professional. 40 minutes wasted on plastic cases, when you could be exploring this beautiful building you're standing in! After that we were rushed because I had to leave for a flight, so I only got a few minutes upstairs to see the magnificent views and just briefly stepped into the Mayor's Office. I suggest a revamp- show the exciting parts of the building, let the people walk through the exhibit cases on their own before/after the tour. Find a museum studies intern to help refresh the cases, and hire a new young museum educator to redesign the tour. Until those changes are made, I'd skip the tour and just step inside the building to have a quick look around by yourself.

Plan your trip to San Francisco

  • Get a personalized trip
    A complete day by day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.