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Architecture in San Francisco

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Golden Gate Bridge
Once called "the bridge that couldn't be built," today it is one the seven wonders of the modern world. This magnificent span, perhaps San Francisco's most famous landmark, opened in 1937 after a four-year struggle against relentless winds, fog, rock and treacherous tides. Crossing the strait of the Golden Gate from San Francisco's Presidio to the Marin headlands for 1.7 miles is the world-renowned Golden Gate Bridge, easily identified by its International Orange color. Opened in 1937, the bridge was built at a cost of $35 million in principal and $39 million in interest and 11 workers’ lives. The single-suspension span is anchored by twin towers that reach skyward 746 feet, and was once taller than any building in San Francisco. To support the suspended roadway, two cables, each more than 7,000 feet in length and both containing 80,000 miles of wire stretch over the top of the towers and are rooted in concrete anchorages on shore. More than 10 years in planning due to formidable opposition, but only four years in actual construction, the Golden Gate Bridge brought the communities of San Francisco and Marin counties closer together.
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San Francisco City Hall
The City Hall you see today took two years to build. Steel, granite, and four floors of white marble interiors make up San Francisco's symbol of resilience, built after the previous City Hall was destroyed in the Great Earthquake and Fire of April 18, 1906. Civic leaders were determined to demonstrate the city's rebirth in time for the start of the World's Fair of 1915. Designed by architect Arthur Brown, Jr. and begun in 1913, natives and the world were suitably awed by the gilt exterior detailing, the sweeping grand staircase, and the massive dome. At 307 feet in height, the dome is a full 42 feet taller than the dome of the nation's capital. During the past century, the building has seen major political upheavals and demographic shifts in the makeup of its legislators. City Hall is often a focus of drama: the tragic assassinations of 1979; and jubilation when same-sex marriages were first performed in 2004. Once the repository of records and a site for smaller courts, current debates and decisions about labor, land use, and public policy issues take place inside on a regular basis. City Hall has been a location for movies from Dirty Harry and Indiana Jones to Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
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Chinatown
San Francisco's Chinatown is the oldest one in North America and covers 24 city blocks. This neighborhood is one of the most popular attractions in San Francisco, and for good reason. It's easy to spend a day here, exploring the streets and alleys, browsing the shops and enjoying the authentic Chinese food. More people visit Chinatown than the Golden Gate Bridge!
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Winchester Mystery House
Featured by Good Morning America in 2010, this is the house that Sarah, the troubled Winchester rifle heiress, built. Seeking a way to rid herself of the spirits of those killed by the “Gun that Won the West” Sarah sought the advice of a medium. That consultation resulted in Sarah spending decades, as well as her $20 million inheritance, obsessively building onto the house. But what a house it is and don't miss the gardens and grounds either. Spooky? Yes, but beautiful from the wood work to the stained glass. Flashlight tours on Friday the 13th and during October are a trick and a treat, while the Victorian spirit is alive in special light during the December holiday season.
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San Jose City Hall
City Hall is located at 200 East Santa Clara Street between Fourth and Sixth Streets in downtown San José. The building layout includes an 18-story tower on the east side of the site; a three-story wing on the west side of the site; a centrally-located domed rotunda that reaches a height equivalent of 10 stories; a large plaza opening onto Santa Clara Street framed by a curved wall; and one level of 300 underground parking spaces.
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Sikh Temple
Sikh temple in San Jose area and one of the largest temple in California. It was founded in the Early Eighties by former President late Jit Singh Bainiwal, Teja Singh, and late Baba Pyara Singh Obhi.
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Lick Observatory
On the forefront of astronomical research since 1888 (before there was even a road up Mount Hamilton) the Lick Observatory is nothing short of an icon, with its foundation set firmly in Silicon Valley innovation and technological prowess. Beyond the stunning views from 4,209 feet above the valley, the brilliant history of how these giant telescopes were even dreamed up (let along how they came to be) and the mind blowing discoveries that have taken place with them, just being able to see light years away through the lens is enough to send one into orbit. Add in tours, music series, lectures by leading researchers doing cutting edge work, and other special events and you have one of the most unique and powerful experiences of the city.
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The Stockton Ports
The Stockton Ports are truly a rich part of our city's and Professional Minor League Baseball's history. In 1941, the Stockton Ports were one of the founding members of the California Baseball League.
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The State Capitol Museum
Open to visitors in 1869, the State Capitol features changing museum exhibits and historical rooms offering a view into California's political past while the rest of the building acts as a ''living museum''.
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The Getty Villa
A visit to the Getty Villa offers an experience of ancient Greek and Roman art in a setting that recreates a first-century Roman villa. Home to the J. Paul Getty Museum antiquities collection, the two-floor museum displays art that spans the 7,000 years from the end of the Stone Age to the fall of the Roman empire. The presentation of the collection focuses on the development of art among the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean. Visitors are invited to explore how and why the styles, subjects, and ways of making art resemble each other and differ across cultures and times. The Getty Villa has four gardens that blend Roman architecture with open air spaces and Mediterranean plants. In ancient times, gardens served both practical and aesthetic purposes at Roman country homes. They let fresh air and light enter the home, and also acted as gathering places to have conversations or to escape the heat.
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The Sunset Strip
There may be no greater concentration anywhere of the young, hip and beautiful than in the bars and clubs of this infamous stretch of road. The 2.6-kilometre strip of Sunset Boulevard is situated in the lively city of West Hollywood and upholds that lively city's reputation as a nightlife hotspot. From the heights of swanky hotel rooftops like the Mondrian’s SkyBar and the Tower Bar at Sunset Tower Hotel, to the glam-grunge of rock clubs like The Viper Room and Whisky a Go Go, there’s a setting to suit your style and mood. In addition to venues that showcase artists ranging from indie singer/songwriters to major-label headliners, there are iconic comedy clubs such as The Laugh Factory and the Comedy Store. Or head to The Roxy—where Rocky Horror Picture Show premiered in 1974—for live music in an intimate, 500-capacity venue. Sunset Strip isn’t just rock and roll. Spend the afternoon shopping at Sunset Plaza, which contains more than 20 stores, including Armani Exchange and H&M. Book lovers, don’t miss the iconic Book Soup, LA’s largest independent bookshop, with floor-to-ceiling shelves that contain more than 60,000 titles, many of which are limited edition.
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Grauman Chinese Theatre
One of the world's most iconic cinemas, the TCL Chinese Theatre opened as Grauman's Chinese Theatre on May 18, 1927, with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's The King of Kings. Thousands of people lined Hollywood Boulevard for the theatre’s grand opening. The theatre opened to the public the following day, on May 19. The Hollywood landmark has hosted many movie premieres since then, as well as three Academy Award ceremonies and numerous events. The TCL Chinese Theatre boasts the single largest IMAX auditorium in the world, and the third largest commercial movie screen in North America. The theatre welcomes more than four million visitors from around the world every year. Besides its Chinese design, the theatre’s most distinct feature is the famous Forecourt of the Stars, with nearly 200 celebrity handprints, footprints, and autographs immortalized in the concrete. Visitors can literally touch Hollywood history, from Marilyn Monroe to Tom Hanks, Betty Grable’s legs, Jimmy Durante’s nose, and the magic wands of Harry Potter’s heroic trio. While the origin stories vary, the theatre's official account in its books and souvenir programs credits actress Norma Talmadge for inspiring the tradition when she accidentally stepped into wet concrete. Sid Grauman himself claimed in a radio interview that he came up with the idea when he stepped in soft concrete - his autograph and handprint, dated 1927, remain today.
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Bradbury Building
The Bradbury Building is the oldest commercial building remaining in the central city and one of Los Angeles’ unique treasures and make this one of downtown's most photographed icons. Built in 1893, this building’s light-filled Victorian count rises 50 feet with open-cage elevators, marble stairs and ornate iron railings. In the true spirit of Los Angeles, it has been featured in many movies, from DOA to Blade Runner.
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The Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House and Medical Museum
The House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as a California Historic Point of Interest, and as a landmark building on the City of Santa Ana's Historic Register.
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Grand Central Art Center
Grand Central Art Center is located on a promenade on Broadway and 2nd Street in the heart of downtown Santa Ana. The center is easily accessible through both the Interstate-5 Broadway and Main Street exits.
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Catalina Casino
William Wrigley Jr. commissioned the construction of Catalina Casino in 1929 to mark the 10-year anniversary of his 1919 purchase of Catalina Island. Nearly 90 years later, this 11-story icon stands as a reminder to Catalina’s historic beginnings as a romantic escape for the millions who made the 26-mile trip across the sea to enjoy a movie, dinner and dancing during the Casino’s early days as the hub of Avalon nightlife. Also Catalina Casino offers three narrated walking tours—Discover the Casino, Behind the Scenes Casino and Twilight at the Casino. Each gives you a unique perspective of this Art Deco masterpiece, from the first theatre built specifically for “talkies” on the lower level, to the world’s largest circular ballroom on the top level, where thousands once danced the night away to the sounds of big band music.
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Grand Canyon Village
Find everything you need for a Grand Canyon adventure in Grand Canyon Village. This historic village has excellent shopping for all the hiking and camping gear you need, as well as authentic American Indian crafts and plenty of canyon souvenirs. The village also has stellar lodging options and a top-rated walking tour. Grand Canyon Village, located on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in Northern Arizona, holds some of the best scenic overlooks in the park, including Yavapai Point. Begin your Grand Canyon tour at the visitor center. Here you can pick up a copy of the self-guided walking tour brochure for in-depth information on the canyon and its history. Highlights of the tour include Bright Angel Lodge, El Tovar Hotel Buckey O’Neill Cabin, Hopi House, Lookout Studio, and Kolb Studio. You’ll also learn how Grand Canyon Village grew up around the Santa Fe Railroad starting in 1901. Stop by the rustic Grand Canyon Railway Depot, which welcomes Grand Canyon Railway passengers to the village.
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Desert View
Desert View is a small settlement on the South Rim located 25 miles/ 41 km east of Grand Canyon Village, and near the eastern edge of Grand Canyon. Arizona Highway 64, Also known as Desert View Drive, is a scenic road that connects Desert view with Grand Canyon Village. Also discover The Tusayan Ruin, is the remains of a small Ancestral Puebloan village located 3 miles (5 km) west of Desert View. This was a thriving community that created pottery, arrowheads and other household artifacts.
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Temple Square
Experience the peace and tranquility of beautiful Temple Square with a complimentary tour of Utah’s most visited attraction. Tours of the beautifully landscaped 10-acre property are available in 40 languages. Reflect on the majesty and wonder of God's creations as you stand beneath the star-studded dome in the rotunda of the North Visitors' Center and ponder the invitation of the outstretched arms of Thorvaldsen's Christus, a magnificent 11-foot statue of the Savior.
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The Mesa Arts Center
The Mesa Arts Center, owned and operated by the City of Mesa, is a unique, architecturally stunning, international award winning facility located in the heart of downtown Mesa. Arizona's largest arts center is home to four theaters, five art galleries, and 14 art studios. Guests, patrons, and students come to Mesa Arts Center to enjoy the finest live entertainment and performances, world-class visual art exhibitions, and outstanding arts education classes.
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Chandler Museum
The Chandler Museum campus features both locally produced and nationally travelling exhibits exploring culture, history, and art; the East Valley History Center for researchers; educational programming in the new classroom; and more. Reopened in December 2018, the new museum boasts a new 10,000 square foot facility adjacent to the historic McCullough-Price House. The modern building is the centrepiece of the new museum campus and it was designed to complement the historic house, preserving and honouring the past while representing our progress as a community with a bright future. Visitors to the Chandler Museum also can see Infinite Shade. This sculpture, by artist Jeff Zischke, functions as a shade structure for the museum’s outdoor courtyard during the day and at night it is bathed in multicoloured light. Chandler Museum is an interdisciplinary learning environment where the community comes together to share its stories, preserve its cultural heritage and experience Chandler as a people and place. The vision of the Museum is to be the community’s principal resource to explore its people’s history, culture, and their place in the rapidly changing world of today.
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Smith Tower
Seattle’s best view since 1914 now offers a reimagined visitor experience. Travel through fascinating exhibits that take you on a journey through Smith Tower’s storied past including a ride in the tower’s historic Otis elevator. Make your way to the top of the tower for an amazing vantage point from the Observatory, including an open-air deck with 360-degree views of Seattle and beyond.
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Sky View Observatory
The tallest observatory of all is located inside the sleek Columbia Center. Head to the 73rd floor, where you’ll be treated to 360-degree views that include the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, Elliott Bay, and all of Seattle’s skyline.
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Space Needle
The undisputed icon of Seattle, the Space Needle soars 605 feet in the air. Take the 43-second elevator ride to the outdoor observation deck, where you’ll be at the perfect vantage point to plan where to go next.
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British Columbia Parliament Buildings
Overlooking Victoria's majestic Inner Harbour, the Parliament Buildings are open to the public year-round. Visitors are invited to discover the architectural splendour of the Parliament Buildings and learn about British Columbia's Legislative Assembly. The Parliament Buildings are open to the public from Monday to Friday between the hours of 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Visitors are welcome to join one of the regularly-scheduled guided tours or to explore the buildings on their own self-guided tour. During the busy summer season, the Parliament Buildings are open for tours seven days a week, including statutory holidays.
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Victoria Christ Church Cathedral
Victoria’s historic landmark, a Gothic-style Anglican cathedral, three blocks from the Inner Harbour. Enjoy a scheduled tour (3x a week) or a self-guided visit to see the outstanding stained glass collection, 4,000-pipe Hellmuth Wolff organ and historic pieces. Open daily 8.30 am to 5.30 pm.
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Mission San Xavier del Bac
Acclaimed as finest example of mission architecture in U.S., southwest of Tucson on Tohono O'odham Reservation. Active parish. Gift shop. arts, crafts shop. Cafe nearby. For the first time in its more than 230-year history, free guided tours are now available.
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Bloedel Conservatory
Bloedel Conservatory is a domed lush paradise located in Queen Elizabeth Park atop the City of Vancouver’s highest point. More than 120 free-flying exotic birds, 500 exotic plants and flowers thrive within its temperature-controlled environment. Constructed through a very generous donation from Prentice Bloedel, Bloedel was dedicated at its opening in 1969 “to a better appreciation and understanding of the world of plants." Designated as a heritage building, it is jointly operated by Vancouver Park Board and the Vancouver Botanical Garden Association. Together, these partners also operate VanDusen Botanical Garden.
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The Museum of Anthropology
Just 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver and the Vancouver International Airport, the Museum of Anthropology at UBC houses one of the world’s finest displays of Northwest Coast First Nations arts in a spectacular Arthur Erickson designed building overlooking mountains and sea. See magnificent carvings, weavings and contemporary artworks inside the soaring glass and concrete structure of the Museum’s Great Hall. Admire the world’s largest collection of works by acclaimed Haida artist Bill Reid, including his famous cedar sculpture The Raven and the First Men. Explore the Museum’s Multiversity Galleries where more than 9,000 objects from around the world are displayed. Visit the award-winning Koerner Ceramics Gallery, displaying a collection of European ceramics unique to North America. Stroll the Museum’s grounds, where monumental Haida houses, poles and Musqueam house posts capture the dramatic beauty of traditional Northwest Coast architecture and design. Enjoy a wide range of special exhibitions and public programs, including free guided gallery walks, visit the MOA Shop and relax in Café MOA.
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Gastown
Gastown is an historical part of Vancouver's downtown and was rejuvenated in the 1970's. Today it gives visitors a glimpse of what Vancouver would have been like a century ago with its cobbled streets, lined with shops and restaurants. A popular attraction here is the Gastown Steam Clock.
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Vancouver Lookout
Where else can you enjoy a 360º aerial view of Vancouver, “the most beautiful city in the world”? Start your Vancouver adventure here, with a 40-second glass elevator ride, whisking you 553.16 ft (168.60 m) skyward to our panoramic observation deck. Enjoy intimate views of cosmopolitan Vancouver, historic Gastown and bustling Coal Harbour. Look beyond for enchanting views of our stunning natural landscape including world famous Stanley Park, the Pacific Ocean, the majestic North Shore Mountains and the Olympic Peninsula Mountains. Past. Present. Future. Multi-lingual guest service members provide complimentary guided tours with fascinating facts about Vancouver’s history, infrastructure, local community, current trends and future expansion. Or explore at your own pace and read our interpretive displays. Test yourself and try to identify unique Vancouver attractions and landmarks.
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Canada Place
Located in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown harbourfront, Canada Place is an iconic national landmark welcoming local residents, visitors and ships to the West Coast. Canada Place is a multi-use facility that includes FlyOver Canada, Vancouver Convention Centre East, Pan Pacific Hotel, Port Metro Vancouver cruise ship terminal, World Trade Centre office tower and VINCI Park parkade. Canada Place hosts Canada Day at Canada Place, the largest Canada Day celebration outside of Ottawa, and well as a number of other community events including National Aboriginal Day, the Canada Place Summer Series and Christmas at Canada Place.
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Wheeler Opera House
Constructed in the late 1800s by business tycoon Jerome Wheeler, this opera house has been a major source of entertainment in the Roaring Fork Valley for more than a century. Today, this performance venue remains an Aspen gem, featuring Victorian architecture, beautiful decor and a stunning electric chandelier. The theater still hosts regular events ranging from concerts to film screenings to plays, and according to recent travelers, you shouldn't turn down the chance to catch a show here. Visitors love the small, intimate theater and say that it makes for a cozy atmosphere with great acoustics. The Wheeler Opera House doesn't offer tours, but travelers suggest stopping in for a quick peek, even if you don't have time to see a show.
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Aspen Art Museum
The Aspen Art Museum is a non-collecting institution presenting the newest, most important evolutions in international contemporary art. Our innovative and timely exhibitions, education and public programs, immersive activities, and community happenings actively engage audiences in thought-provoking experiences of art, culture, and society. In 1976, a City of Aspen vote led to the acquisition and development of an out-of-use building at 590 North Mill Street that became the Aspen Art Museum’s first home until 2014. Built in 1888, the Hunter Creek Power Plant first served the city’s silver mining operations while also enabling Aspen to be the first city west of the Mississippi to have streetlights powered by hydroelectric energy. Supporting a recommendation that an art space would offer the most creative and adaptive community service, the City assisted efforts to rehabilitate the disused structure. By November 1977, the Aspen Center for the Visual Arts (ACVA) was incorporated within the state of Colorado, and in August 1978, the ACVA board selected its first director, Philip Yenawine.
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KiMo Theatre
A Pueblo Deco picture palace, the KiMo opened Sept. 19, 1927. It was commissioned by the innovative Oreste Bachechi, who had envisioned a Southwestern style theatre for Albuquerque. Every detail of the theatre contains historical significance, making it one of the region's most valued cultural gems. The KiMo offers a variety of entertainment including film, theatre, and musical performances.