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Jennie in front of City Hall. Still sunny here towards the middle of September. It wasn't until we were back home again that I realized that the closing scene of 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' (1978 version) - the scene with the scary scream! - was filmed here.
Shops and Art
San Francisco' s widest street, Van Ness Avenue, runs down the middle of Civic Center. A short distance from Civic Center lies Hayes Valley boasting galleries, antique shops, restaurants and book nooks. A stretch of Larkin Street starting just beyond the Asian Art Museum's front door at Larkin and McAllister up to O'Farrell has been designated Little Saigon. Some 250 Vietnamese-owned businesses are concentrated in this and the nearby Tenderloin areas.
We spend a morning around the SF’s Civic Center. The main attraction is the building of the City Hall (pic 1) that was built by Arthur Brown Jr who also designed the nearby War Memorial Opera House that faces the City Hall from the back side. The City Hall is a big Beaux Arts building (on Van Ness avenue is 120m long) and has a huge beautiful baroque dome that is 94m above the ground with a diameter of 20meters! What you see today was built in 1915 upon the ruins of the original city hall that was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. The 1989 earthquake causes major damages to the new City Hall but the renovation brought everything back in order.
We walked a bit around the Civic Center Plaza (pic 2), which was nice but simple and then we checked the other buildings around like the Herbst Theater, the Asian Art Museum, the Main Library (a building from 1917), the new Main Library (five floors full of books and magazines), the Louise M Davies Symphony Hall and the War Memorial Opera House. The Opera House (pic 3) was built in 1932 and houses several nice shows, operas and ballets. Although we wanted to see once unfortunately we didn’t make it to see one during our stay in SF. Probably because it’s not the safest area to walk during the late evening as it is right next to the dangerous Tenderloin district, an area full of homeless people, drugs and prostitutes. From the other side we didn’t have any problem with all these people when we attended some rock concerts at the same area :)
- Museum Visits
Civic Center Plaza--Assyrian Statue
On the south side of the old main library building, now restored and showcasing the Asian Art Museum, and right near the greatly admired Pioneer Monument, stands the Assyrian memorial to the ancient empire builder and library founder Ashurbanipal. This is a fine bronze statue dedicated in 1988 when the building was still a library, but since the statue is also a dedication of sorts to Asian art and literacy, the statue still fits well with the newer purpose of the building. The brass plate has a "rosetta stone" dedication of sort, which includes the Assyrian language, as well as a brief history of Ashurbanipal's contributions. The statue is a reminder that California has a sizeable Assyrian immigrant population, mostly found living in the San Joaquin Valley area. A self-reliant Christian people from the Middle East, Assyrians are more broadly known for the short lived military empire of the 7th century BC, but less so for a unique language and writing system that has dedicates itself to a high degree of literacy.
- Museum Visits
- Arts and Culture
The political center of San Francisco is here at the Civic Center. It's also the site of the Davies Symphony Hall, the Veterans Building, the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, the Asian Art Museum, and the old Main Library.
In 1945, the United Nations were founded at the Herbst Auditorium, in the Veterans Buildling. A plaque commemorates this event.
Most days, someone is holding some kind of demonstration. It's part of life in the Bay Area. No reason to get excited.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
The Civic Center is where you find San Francisco's City Hall. With its impressive green copper dome, it seems to say to all that this is the seat of the city's political power. It was featured prominently durind the brief period when the city conducted gay marriages.
Other attractions there include the Asian Art Museum, the Opera House, the Davies Symphony Hall, and the Veterans Building. The Civic Center also has a plaza, which provides the area with a nice breathing space.
The area is nice to visit for its architecture, city planning, and political significance, but it lacks the tourist-friendly atmosphere of Chinatown or Fisherman's Wharf. It is definitely a serious place.
- Arts and Culture
Civic Center is the cultural hotspot in San Francisco. The smallish park is surrounded with museum, library, opera house and symphony hall.
As the city is quite wealthy, the shows are good. Obtaining the tickets may be a challenge, though. There are also a lot of independent theatre groups, so the selection is plentiful. There is a ticket booth on Union Square.
The area itself has some issues as there are homeless people killing time in the UN Plaza, between Civic Center and Market Street.
This is a picture of the Civic Center. In this area of San Francisco, you can see many performances and various events. It is also the area many people go to for rallies or protests.
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San Francisco Travel Guide
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