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Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption.
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The most beautiful SF interiors

It’s what’s on the inside that counts

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Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption.
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We asked Curbed SF readers to nominate buildings with the most beautiful interiors, posing the question, “What interior spaces make you say, ‘whoa’?”

The readers’ picks that rolled in didn’t disappoint, from hotels to churches to bathrooms. And one thing we learned is that a trip to the dentist office is made a little less painful by the awe-inspiring decor of one Art Deco structure.

And now, the most beautiful interiors in San Francisco, as chosen by Curbed SF readers, listed in order from west to east, as well as a few places selected by our editorial staff.

This is by no means a complete list, so please keep the conversation going by sharing your favorite interiors in the comments section. We will continue to update with more spacious beauty as you give it to us.

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The Salon Doré at the Legion of Honor

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The best example of French Neoclassical interior architecture in the United States, the Salon Doré (which moved from the Hôtel de La Trémoille in France) at the Legion of Honor is possibly the most gorgeous room in all of San Francisco.

The interior of the Salon Dore at the Legion of Honor. There are multiple chairs, a chandelier, mirrors, and walls with inlaid design. Photo by Brock Keeling

Holy Virgin Cathedral

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Also known as the Joy of All Who Sorrow, this Russian Orthodox Church is one of the largest of its kind outside of Russia. The interior features vibrant mosaics, detailed religious paintings, and a crystal chandelier.

The interior of the Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco. The walls are decorated with colorful inlaid design. The altar has multiple planters with flowers. Photo by David Yu

Conservatory of Flowers

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Ever since 1879, the conservatory of flora has dazzled many with hundreds of species of flowers and plants. This Victorian-era beauty has been promoting flower power well before the hippies and their patchouli-laced summer of love.

The interior of the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco. There is a pond with lily pads. The ceiling is domed and glass. Photo by Katie Loehr

Rossi Pool

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Built in 1956 by H.C. Baumann, this space was designed in the modernist style with Art Deco details. Most noteworthy is the ceiling with exposed beams and detailing.

San Francisco Columbarium and Funeral Home

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Inspired by the Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, architect Bernard J.S. Cahill designed this gorgeous ode to the deceased resulting in a structure that’s beautiful inside and out. The eight rooms on the ground floor bear the names of the mythological winds. Six of the ground floor rooms boast stunning stained glass windows.er in design. A home for the dearly departed has never looked so alive.

Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption

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Loving rechristened Our Lady of Maytag by locals, due to its washing machine agitator-like exterior, the interiors merit just as much fanfare. Built well before the advent of social media, this midcentury-modern church is blessed with many Instagrammable moments.

A post shared by Alice (@pixyscope) on

Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall

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According to Curbed SF reader Loop Seven, “It’s not ornate and likely considered unremarkable but I think it really captures late 1970s design.” Indeed. Opening at the start of 1980, the Hayes Valley behemoth, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Pietro Belluschi exemplifies modernist ’70s style. The addition of the Fratelli Ruffatti electro-pneumatic pipe organ, boasting 147 ranks, was added in 1984. It later underwent a major acoustic overhaul in 1992, resulting in the look we see today.

#Symphony #SanFrancisco

A post shared by Fernando (@fcaroa) on

San Francisco City Hall

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The backdrop for many weddings, the Beaux-Arts building, designed by Arthur Brown and John Bakewell (War Memorial Opera House, Temple Emanu-El), has existed since 1915 (an earlier version was leveled by the 1906 earthquake). Its regal dome is the fifth largest in the world—and the grand staircase puts others to shame. (Psst: The 45 steps making up the staircase are named for Charlotte Shultz, the city’s chief of protocol.)

A post shared by Amanda Aish (@amandaaish) on

Grace Cathedral

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Taking almost 40 years to finish, this circa-1964 gem atop Nob Hill is a celebration of French Gothic revival. Soaring ceilings, sweeping arches, tall stained glass windows, and more give this church a holier than thou look that brings tears to the eye. According to Grace Cathedral’s website, “The cruciform plan, twin towers, central fleche and polygonal apse are all French in origin, with the cathedrals of Amiens, Paris (Notre Dame), Beauvais and Chartres being principal influences.”

The interior of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. There are pews, stained glass, and arched ceilings with exposed beams. Photo by Justin Kern

The Fairmont San Francisco Penthouse

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There are many stunning rooms inside the grande dame of San Francisco hotels, but the penthouse is the best. Clocking in at 6,000 square feet, it rents for $18,000 a night. Created in the 1920s by American archeologist and art historian Arthur Upham Pope, the penthouse maintains the majority of its original charm—e.g., the vaulted billiards room that's entirely covered in floor-to-ceiling Persian tiles—even though it underwent an extensive remodel by Alexandra Champalimaud, principal of Champalimaud Design, in 2010. 

The interior of the Fairmont San Francisco Penthouse. There is a billiard table, chairs, and lamps. The walls have an inlaid design. Photo by Patricia Chang

Alexandra’s at Westin St. Francis

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Atop the famed Westin St. Francis in Union Square, Alexandra’s is located on the 32nd floor of the Tower Building, with floor-to-ceiling windows boasting skyline views of San Francisco, including Coit Tower and both the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges.

A post shared by Alex Barranco (@alexsf) on

450 Sutter Medical/Dental Building

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“Next to the lead garden court in the Palace, 450 Sutter’s Mayan Deco facade and lobby are memorable, singular and spectacular,” says reader AngelusLiving. “Unfortunately, my dentist was in this building when I was a kid, so it was all a bitter-sweet experience when I visited.”

Westfield San Francisco Centre

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The renovation of the Westfield San Francisco Centre was well worth the wait. The top floor of the mall features a restored dome as well as a lounge area to relax after swiping your credit card one too many times.

A post shared by Sam Malythai (@sam_malythai) on

Vesuvio Cafe

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Tiffany-style and antique gas lamps, woodwork, mezzanine seating, and historic photos galore—at this North Beach institution, more is more. Before the antique trend came (and went) inside many newfangled craft cocktail bars, this institution was serving up ye ole style in the form of casual, mish-mash maximalism.

The interior of the Vesuvio Cafe in San Francisco. There is a stained glass window with the words: Yosemite Lager. There are many works of art and photos on the walls. Photo by Kent Kanouse

V. C. Morris Gift Shop/Isaia

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The famed architect used the Maiden Lane space as a prototype for the famous circular ramp he built at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1952. Other highlights include the wooden cabinetry and built-ins and the large roof skylight and white Plexiglass circles, which diffuse light into the store. The San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission landmarked the interior in 2016, one of a few interiors to be bestowed with the honor.

Originally known as the V.C. Morris Gift Shop, it reopened in 2016 as a mens Italian clothing store.

Wells Fargo Bank

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If there’s a coffered ceiling as nice as the one found inside the One Montgomery Wells Fargo branch, we have yet to see it. Lovely.

A post shared by Airbnb_SF (@airbnb_sf) on

Mechanics' Institute

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In addition to housing the oldest continuously operating chess club in the United States, the Mechanics' Institute, a nine-story landmark building in the Financial District, also boasts one of the chicest stairwells in the city. So much so, in fact, that’s it all over the library’s Instagram page.

Merchant Exchange Building

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The lobby of the Merchant Exchange Building—the preface to the Julia Morgan Ballroom, if you will—is a sight unto itself. Morgan designed the hall's marble Ionic columns, coffered ceiling, and vaulted skylights. The famed architect also commissioned maritime artist William Coulter to paint the hall's five murals.

Julia Morgan Ballroom

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The coffered ceiling and patterned carpet—a match made in interior design heaven. Julia Morgan’s titular ballroom is the place to get hitched for those with an eye on decor. Of special note is the 15-foot-tall, hand-carved stone fireplace. Glorious.

Palace Hotel’s Garden Court

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Hosting many swank soirees and international treaties, the Palace Hotel’s Garden Court was declared a San Francisco Landmark in 1969. It was also featured in the final scene of David Fincher’s The Game. But above all else, it’s quite the stunner. The beautiful glass ceiling surrounded by lush plants make it one of the city’s most important and iconic interiors.

City Club of San Francisco

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Punctuating this tony private club in the heart of the Financial District is Diego Rivera’s The Allegory of California, a large mural that flanks the staircase.

140 New Montgomery (PacBell Building)

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Numerous businesses call this place home, including Yelp. And many of you gave this 1925 Art Deco structure five stars when it comes to the interior lobby.

The building was designed by architect Timothy Pflueger, whose work includes some of San Francisco's only Art Deco architecture. When Pflueger designed 140 New Montgomery, he had just completed the Castro Theater. He used influences from Asia, such as the lobby adapted from a Chinese brocade, and from the Sierra Mountains. From ornate ventilation grates to dark marble walls, it would be a shame for passersby not to sneak a peek.

Ferry Building Marketplace

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Mimicking a busy street, the Ferry Building interior dazzles with repeating arches and overhead skylights.

The interior of the Ferry Building Marketplace. The ceiling is high and arched. Thee are many people walking in the main aisle. There is a skylight running along the ceiling. Photo by Worayoot Pechsuwanrungsee/Shutterstock

Grand hall inside the Transbay Transit Center

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The park atop the Transbay Transit Center gets more love, but you shouldn’t sleep on the grand hall of the city’s newest public transportation behemoth. The cavernous hall is illuminated by a massive skylight and a colorful terrazzo floor with butterflies, flowers, and a sundry of shapes designed by local artist Julie Chang. Don’t miss Jenny Holzer’s White Light, the text-centric artist’s 16-foot-tall and 182-foot-long LED piece scrolling above.

U.S. Post Office

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The sea-green Art Deco post office near the Embarcadero features 27 murals, all part of Anton Refregier's History of California (1941-48).

A post shared by Dena Kefallinos (@d_kefa) on

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The Salon Doré at the Legion of Honor

The best example of French Neoclassical interior architecture in the United States, the Salon Doré (which moved from the Hôtel de La Trémoille in France) at the Legion of Honor is possibly the most gorgeous room in all of San Francisco.

The interior of the Salon Dore at the Legion of Honor. There are multiple chairs, a chandelier, mirrors, and walls with inlaid design. Photo by Brock Keeling

Holy Virgin Cathedral

Also known as the Joy of All Who Sorrow, this Russian Orthodox Church is one of the largest of its kind outside of Russia. The interior features vibrant mosaics, detailed religious paintings, and a crystal chandelier.

The interior of the Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco. The walls are decorated with colorful inlaid design. The altar has multiple planters with flowers. Photo by David Yu

Conservatory of Flowers

Ever since 1879, the conservatory of flora has dazzled many with hundreds of species of flowers and plants. This Victorian-era beauty has been promoting flower power well before the hippies and their patchouli-laced summer of love.

The interior of the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco. There is a pond with lily pads. The ceiling is domed and glass. Photo by Katie Loehr

Rossi Pool

Built in 1956 by H.C. Baumann, this space was designed in the modernist style with Art Deco details. Most noteworthy is the ceiling with exposed beams and detailing.

San Francisco Columbarium and Funeral Home

Inspired by the Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, architect Bernard J.S. Cahill designed this gorgeous ode to the deceased resulting in a structure that’s beautiful inside and out. The eight rooms on the ground floor bear the names of the mythological winds. Six of the ground floor rooms boast stunning stained glass windows.er in design. A home for the dearly departed has never looked so alive.

Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption

Loving rechristened Our Lady of Maytag by locals, due to its washing machine agitator-like exterior, the interiors merit just as much fanfare. Built well before the advent of social media, this midcentury-modern church is blessed with many Instagrammable moments.

A post shared by Alice (@pixyscope) on

Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall

According to Curbed SF reader Loop Seven, “It’s not ornate and likely considered unremarkable but I think it really captures late 1970s design.” Indeed. Opening at the start of 1980, the Hayes Valley behemoth, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Pietro Belluschi exemplifies modernist ’70s style. The addition of the Fratelli Ruffatti electro-pneumatic pipe organ, boasting 147 ranks, was added in 1984. It later underwent a major acoustic overhaul in 1992, resulting in the look we see today.

#Symphony #SanFrancisco

A post shared by Fernando (@fcaroa) on

San Francisco City Hall

The backdrop for many weddings, the Beaux-Arts building, designed by Arthur Brown and John Bakewell (War Memorial Opera House, Temple Emanu-El), has existed since 1915 (an earlier version was leveled by the 1906 earthquake). Its regal dome is the fifth largest in the world—and the grand staircase puts others to shame. (Psst: The 45 steps making up the staircase are named for Charlotte Shultz, the city’s chief of protocol.)

A post shared by Amanda Aish (@amandaaish) on

Grace Cathedral

Taking almost 40 years to finish, this circa-1964 gem atop Nob Hill is a celebration of French Gothic revival. Soaring ceilings, sweeping arches, tall stained glass windows, and more give this church a holier than thou look that brings tears to the eye. According to Grace Cathedral’s website, “The cruciform plan, twin towers, central fleche and polygonal apse are all French in origin, with the cathedrals of Amiens, Paris (Notre Dame), Beauvais and Chartres being principal influences.”

The interior of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. There are pews, stained glass, and arched ceilings with exposed beams. Photo by Justin Kern

The Fairmont San Francisco Penthouse

There are many stunning rooms inside the grande dame of San Francisco hotels, but the penthouse is the best. Clocking in at 6,000 square feet, it rents for $18,000 a night. Created in the 1920s by American archeologist and art historian Arthur Upham Pope, the penthouse maintains the majority of its original charm—e.g., the vaulted billiards room that's entirely covered in floor-to-ceiling Persian tiles—even though it underwent an extensive remodel by Alexandra Champalimaud, principal of Champalimaud Design, in 2010. 

The interior of the Fairmont San Francisco Penthouse. There is a billiard table, chairs, and lamps. The walls have an inlaid design. Photo by Patricia Chang

Alexandra’s at Westin St. Francis

Atop the famed Westin St. Francis in Union Square, Alexandra’s is located on the 32nd floor of the Tower Building, with floor-to-ceiling windows boasting skyline views of San Francisco, including Coit Tower and both the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges.

A post shared by Alex Barranco (@alexsf) on

450 Sutter Medical/Dental Building

“Next to the lead garden court in the Palace, 450 Sutter’s Mayan Deco facade and lobby are memorable, singular and spectacular,” says reader AngelusLiving. “Unfortunately, my dentist was in this building when I was a kid, so it was all a bitter-sweet experience when I visited.”

Westfield San Francisco Centre

The renovation of the Westfield San Francisco Centre was well worth the wait. The top floor of the mall features a restored dome as well as a lounge area to relax after swiping your credit card one too many times.

A post shared by Sam Malythai (@sam_malythai) on

Vesuvio Cafe

Tiffany-style and antique gas lamps, woodwork, mezzanine seating, and historic photos galore—at this North Beach institution, more is more. Before the antique trend came (and went) inside many newfangled craft cocktail bars, this institution was serving up ye ole style in the form of casual, mish-mash maximalism.

The interior of the Vesuvio Cafe in San Francisco. There is a stained glass window with the words: Yosemite Lager. There are many works of art and photos on the walls. Photo by Kent Kanouse

V. C. Morris Gift Shop/Isaia

The famed architect used the Maiden Lane space as a prototype for the famous circular ramp he built at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1952. Other highlights include the wooden cabinetry and built-ins and the large roof skylight and white Plexiglass circles, which diffuse light into the store. The San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission landmarked the interior in 2016, one of a few interiors to be bestowed with the honor.

Originally known as the V.C. Morris Gift Shop, it reopened in 2016 as a mens Italian clothing store.

Wells Fargo Bank

If there’s a coffered ceiling as nice as the one found inside the One Montgomery Wells Fargo branch, we have yet to see it. Lovely.

A post shared by Airbnb_SF (@airbnb_sf) on

Mechanics' Institute

In addition to housing the oldest continuously operating chess club in the United States, the Mechanics' Institute, a nine-story landmark building in the Financial District, also boasts one of the chicest stairwells in the city. So much so, in fact, that’s it all over the library’s Instagram page.

Merchant Exchange Building

The lobby of the Merchant Exchange Building—the preface to the Julia Morgan Ballroom, if you will—is a sight unto itself. Morgan designed the hall's marble Ionic columns, coffered ceiling, and vaulted skylights. The famed architect also commissioned maritime artist William Coulter to paint the hall's five murals.

Julia Morgan Ballroom

The coffered ceiling and patterned carpet—a match made in interior design heaven. Julia Morgan’s titular ballroom is the place to get hitched for those with an eye on decor. Of special note is the 15-foot-tall, hand-carved stone fireplace. Glorious.

Palace Hotel’s Garden Court

Hosting many swank soirees and international treaties, the Palace Hotel’s Garden Court was declared a San Francisco Landmark in 1969. It was also featured in the final scene of David Fincher’s The Game. But above all else, it’s quite the stunner. The beautiful glass ceiling surrounded by lush plants make it one of the city’s most important and iconic interiors.

City Club of San Francisco

Punctuating this tony private club in the heart of the Financial District is Diego Rivera’s The Allegory of California, a large mural that flanks the staircase.

140 New Montgomery (PacBell Building)

Numerous businesses call this place home, including Yelp. And many of you gave this 1925 Art Deco structure five stars when it comes to the interior lobby.

The building was designed by architect Timothy Pflueger, whose work includes some of San Francisco's only Art Deco architecture. When Pflueger designed 140 New Montgomery, he had just completed the Castro Theater. He used influences from Asia, such as the lobby adapted from a Chinese brocade, and from the Sierra Mountains. From ornate ventilation grates to dark marble walls, it would be a shame for passersby not to sneak a peek.

Ferry Building Marketplace

Mimicking a busy street, the Ferry Building interior dazzles with repeating arches and overhead skylights.

The interior of the Ferry Building Marketplace. The ceiling is high and arched. Thee are many people walking in the main aisle. There is a skylight running along the ceiling. Photo by Worayoot Pechsuwanrungsee/Shutterstock

Grand hall inside the Transbay Transit Center

The park atop the Transbay Transit Center gets more love, but you shouldn’t sleep on the grand hall of the city’s newest public transportation behemoth. The cavernous hall is illuminated by a massive skylight and a colorful terrazzo floor with butterflies, flowers, and a sundry of shapes designed by local artist Julie Chang. Don’t miss Jenny Holzer’s White Light, the text-centric artist’s 16-foot-tall and 182-foot-long LED piece scrolling above.

U.S. Post Office

The sea-green Art Deco post office near the Embarcadero features 27 murals, all part of Anton Refregier's History of California (1941-48).

A post shared by Dena Kefallinos (@d_kefa) on