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The facade of the Hallidie Building which is made up primarily of glass. Patricia Chang

San Francisco's most iconic buildings

These are the legends in a skyline in constant flux

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The San Francisco cityscape you see now is but a fleeting image. The city's explosive building boom has our skyline morphing as fast as the Apple product roster. But in this age of change, some things really do stay the same. Listed in order from west to east, here are 30 buildings that shout San Francisco the loudest.

Is there a building you would like to see here? Let us know.

For a peek inside some of these buildings, check out our map of the most beautiful interiors in San Francisco. And for a list of San Francisco buildings that don’t get the attention they deserve, check out Curbed SF’s map of the city’s most underrated buildings.

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1. De Young Museum

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50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr
San Francisco, CA
(415) 750-3600
Visit Website

The de Young is located in Golden Gate Park. It exhibits American art from the 17th century to the present, international modern art, textiles, and tribal art. The modernist copper-clad building, created by Herzog and de Meuron and Fong and Chan, is expected to oxidize over time and take on a greenish tone and a texture to mimic the park’s eucalyptus trees. It opened in 2005.

In the foreground is a still water pool with lily pads floating on the surface. In the distance are palm trees and the De Young Museum. Photo by Checubus/Shutterstock

2. Conservatory of Flowers

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100 John F Kennedy Dr
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 831-2090
Visit Website

Completed in 1879, the Conservatory of Flowers is the oldest glass and wood Victorian structure of its kind in Northern America. This theater of nature was designed to bring the urbanite closer to masterpieces of the natural world otherwise unavailable in the city. It boasts roughly 16,800 windows to keep it humid and hot year round.

Most recently, the building’s facade was illuminated psychedelic colors for the Summer of Love anniversary.

In the foreground is a flower garden. In the distance is a large white domed conservatory building. There are pam trees in front of the building. Photo by Charls Fosterwhite/Shutterstock

3. Palace of Fine Arts

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3301 Lyon St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 563-6504
Visit Website

The Palace of Fine Arts is in a state of flux, waiting for another tenant after the Exploratorium moved to a new building. It was created in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific Exhibition, and it is the only structure that was left standing after the event. For now, it hosts a myriad of concerts and shows.

4. 2500 Steiner

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2500 Steiner St
San Francisco, CA 94115

In a 2014 Curbed SF article, this apartment building was described as "one of the most prominent buildings in the city.” It's located in Pacific Heights off Alta Plaza Park, and is home to many notable San Franciscans. The Steiner Street structure, a co-op, has also been known locally as the Alta Plaza Apartments.

5. Castro Theatre

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429 Castro St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 621-6120
Visit Website

Another Timothy Pflueger work, the Castro Theatre’s design is Spanish Colonial, a throwback to early California and meant to evoke a Mexican cathedral. But it’s what’s inside that really counts: The stunning ceiling, cast in plaster, is made to look like a leather tent complete with swags, ropes, and tassels.

The cinema house was listed as a San Francisco landmark in 1976.

6. Painted Ladies

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Steiner St
San Francisco, CA

The row of Victorian houses on Steiner Street along Alamo Square Park are known simply as the Painted Ladies. This scenic stretch of street has been the backdrop for many postcards, commercials, movies, and television shows, notably Full House.

The sobriquet used for the row of homes was first coined in 1978 by writers Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen in their book Painted Ladies: San Francisco’s Resplendent Victorians. It has stuck ever since.

7. Mission Dolores

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19th & Dolores St
San Francisco, CA

Mission Dolores (Mission San Francisco de Asís), is the oldest structure in San Francisco. It was founded in 1776 by Lieutenant José Joaquin Moraga and Father Francisco Palóu for the purpose of bringing Spanish settlers to the area and ministering to the Native Americas who were already there (a ministry that's since been called into question).

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8. St. Mary's Cathedral

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1111 Gough St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 567-2020
Visit Website

Locals sometimes call this modernist church "Our Lady of Maytag," due to a design that vaguely resembles a washing machine agitator. Its design history is more sophisticated, however. Its shape (when seen from above) is based on a cross. Perhaps less chaste, on certain afternoons, the sun hits Saint Mary's architecture in just the right way so that a shadow appears looking like a part of the female anatomy, much to the delight of nearby school yard children.

In 2007, the American Institute of Architects, San Francisco chose it as one of the city's top 25 buildings. And Architectural Digest christened it one of the prettiest churches in the nation.

The exterior of Saint Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. There is a geometric shaped roof and the facade is metallic. Photo by canyalcin/Shutterstock

9. San Francisco City Hall

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1 Carlton B Goodlett Pl
San Francisco, CA
(415) 554-4000
Visit Website

The Beaux-Arts City Hall building, designed by Arthur Brown and John Bakewell (War Memorial Opera House, Temple Emanu-El), has existed here since 1915 (an earlier version was leveled by the 1906 earthquake). Its regal dome is the fifth largest in the world. The building has appeared in several major Hollywood films, including A View to a Kill wherein a blaze tears through the building in an attempt to kill James Bond.

The Civic Center structure also lights up its facade for memorials, celebrations, sports teams, and holidays.

10. Grace Cathedral

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1100 California St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 749-6300
Visit Website

Grace Cathedral is an Episcopal church atop Nob Hill. It's known for its mosaics by Jan Henryk De Rosen, large stained glass windows, a Keith Haring altarpiece that acts as an AIDS memorial, and a pair of large labyrinths.

Also of note, this church features copies of the Baptistery doors from the Baptistery of San Giovanni in Florence.

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11. InterContinental Mark Hopkins

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999 California Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 392-3434
Visit Website

The InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco, designed by American architectural firm Weeks and Days, is a luxury hotel sited on the top of Nob Hill. It recently celebrated 91 years. A stunning example of Nob Hill's stately luxury, it’s best known for the Top of the Mark bar.

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12. Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association

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843 Stockton St
San Francisco, CA

Also known as the Chinese Six Companies building, this building was once known as the “White House of Chinatown.” It’s known for its lion-supported columns, balconies, and emerald green trim.

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13. 450 Sutter Medical/Dental Building

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450 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 421-7221
Visit Website

Impending root canals and cavity fillings are made a touch easier with a trip to this Timothy Pflueger-designed building just off Union Square. Known for its "neo-Mayan" Art Deco design, it was completed in 1929. Of special note is the lobby interior, which stands as one of the city’s finest.

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14. Flood Building

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870 Market St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 982-3298
Visit Website

Another flatiron gem along Market Street, the Flood Building (named for the Flood family of Comstock Lode fame) is a 12 story high-rise in the heart of the Financial District. The 12-story building cost $1,500,000 and was finished in 1904. At that time, it was the largest building in the city of San Francisco. It's also one of the few structures to survivor the 1906 quake.

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15. V. C. Morris Gift Shop

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140 Maiden Ln
San Francisco, CA 94108

Frank Lloyd Wright’s V.C. Morris Gift Shop at 140 Maiden Lane, whose circular ramp was the prototype design for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, is now an Italian men’s clothing store. “Upon its completion, it electrified the architectural world not only for its architecture, but for its radical interpretation of a retail store,” said the San Francisco’s Historic Preservation Commission who voted unanimously in 2016 to preserve the interior. The store, currently an Italian men’s clothing store called Isaia, has gone through several iterations over the years.

16. Coit Tower

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1 Telegraph Hill Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 249-0995
Visit Website

Coit Tower stands at the top of Telegraph Hill like an exclamation point. The fluted concrete structure was erected in honor of Lillie Hitchcock Coit and built with money she left the city to add beauty to the place she said she always loved. It's known for the stunning, 360-degree views from the top and the murals painted by artists for the Public Works of Art Project (precursor to the WPA).

17. Phelan Building

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760 Market St
San Francisco, CA

This pie-shaped office building is at the intersection of Market and O'Farrell and Grant Avenue. It’s also one of the city’s best flatirons. The San Francisco landmark was erected in 1908 shortly after the great quake of 1906.

18. The Summit

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999 Green St
San Francisco, CA

One of San Francisco’s very few Eichler developments, this Russian Hill high-rise is a treat for any midcentury-modern fan. Designed by Neal Smith and Associates, the tower was completed in 1965.

A post shared by Brock Keeling (@brockkeeling) on

19. The Sentinel

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916 Kearny St
San Francisco, CA 94133

Construction on this flatiron building started in 1906. Luckily, it survived the earthquake and was finished in 1907. Today, it's known for its distinctive shape and copper cladding (which has turned green over the years). After he was released from San Quentin, San Francisco's famously corrupt political boss Abe Ruef made his office in the top floor. Today it's owned by film director Francis Ford Coppola, and he maintains an office in the building.

20. 555 California

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555 California St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 392-1697
Visit Website

At this moment, the tall, brown building is arguably the most distinctive on the city's skyline. Until recently, it was known as the Bank of America Center. It's also partially owned by President Donald Trump. It has played host to numerous protests since the 2016 election.

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21. Hallidie Building

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130 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94104

The seven-story retail and office building at 130 Sutter, known as the Hallidie Building, completed 100 years ago in 1918, gave birth to the curtain wall. Writing for Curbed SF, Jay Barmann noted, “Many architecture historians consider it groundbreaking, some calling it the most important modern building in San Francisco.”

The facade of the Hallidie Building which is made up primarily of glass. Photo by Patricia Chang

22. Transamerica Pyramid

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600 Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA

In true San Francisco fashion, the Transamerica Pyramid was reviled by many when it was completed in 1972 as the headquarters for the Transamerica Corporation (they no longer occupy it). The purpose of its tapered design is to let light onto the street below.

Back then, San Francisco Chronicle architectural critic Alan Temko called it "the biggest architectural dunce cap in the world." Now, it's one of the most beloved and recognizable buildings in the city.

23. Russ Building

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235 Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 421-7424
Visit Website

They don't build skyscrapers like this anymore. The Russ Building is marked by a distinctive neo-Gothic facade with terra cotta tile and brick. The interior is just as spectacular featuring granite floors and marble wainscoting, elevator lobbies with ornate area rugs, and pendant light fixtures.

When the 32-floor edifice was finished in 1927, it was home to the city's first indoor parking garage. The building is a national historic landmark.

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24. The Palace Hotel

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2 New Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 512-1111
Visit Website

The Palace Hotel is a historic hotel, beautiful inside and out. It's called the "new" Palace, as the current version replaces one destroyed by fire following the 1906 quake. The grand building takes up most of a city block. (Also of note, this is the place where Green Goddess dressing was invented and where U.S. President Warren Harding died.) The hotel’s Garden Court, declared a San Francisco landmark in 1969, is also one of the most gorgeous rooms in the city.

25. Hobart Building

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582 Market St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 395-9057
Visit Website

The neoclassical Hobart Building was finished in 1914 amid accusations of construction recklessness. Famed architect Willis Polk designed the structure. It featured a sculpted terra cotta exterior and handcrafted brass and Italian marble interiors. It's also a designated city landmark.

A post shared by KJ Cartmell (@kjcartmell) on

26. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

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151 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 357-4000
Visit Website

Maligned as giant white meringue when it opened, the Snøhetta-designed SFMOMA expansion is an architectural treat for the Yerba Buena neighborhood. The new 10-story contoured facade, inspired by San Francisco's fog and choppy bay waters, is made up of more than 700 white panels of fiberglass-reinforced polymer, which gives the exterior a wavy effect.

Other highlights include solid color bathrooms, Cory Lee’s In Situ eatery, and its original postmodern entrance by Mario Botta.

The exterior of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The facade is white and contoured giving it a wavy appearance. Photo by Henrik Kam, courtesy of SFMOMA

27. 140 New Montgomery (PacBell Building)

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140 New Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA

The Art Deco building at 140 New Montgomery started life as the headquarters for Pacific Telephone when it was built in 1925. It was the first high-rise south of Market Street. Today, it's where Yelp is located. It’s also where you can find one of the city’s most beautiful interiors; do stop by to check out the lobby if you’re in the area. Not to be missed.

A post shared by Ben Vickery (@bvickery) on

28. Salesforce Tower

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Salesforce Tower
San Francisco, CA 94105

Perhaps the most controversial and polarizing entry on this list, the Salesforce Tower (née the Transbay Tower) sets itself apart from every building in the city by being the tallest, coming in at 1,070 feet. The second-tallest building west of the Mississippi River after the Wilshire Grand Center in Los Angeles, the Pelli Clarke Pelli-designed behemoth can be seen from practically any vantage point in the city.

San Francisco-based LED artist Jim Campbell, who has lit up spaces from SFMOMA to Hong Kong, will design the light scheme atop the brawny tower. It opens in 2018.

29. Ferry Building

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1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA
(415) 983-8030
Visit Website

The existing Ferry Building was built in 1898 on the site of the original 1875 wooden Ferry House. Before the bridges were built, the ferries were the only way to reach the city other than coming north from the Peninsula.

The San Francisco Ferry Building remains a terminal for ferries. Today it’s also the site of choice food shops and a bi-weekly farmers market. The building is topped by a distinctive clock tower.

A post shared by Steve Fadden (@sfadden) on

30. Oracle Park

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24 Willie Mays Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 972-2000
Visit Website

Two major events happened inside one of Major League Baseball’s best ballparks: the San Francisco Giants played (and subsequently won) three World Series at the South Beach stadium, and Beyonce performed here. Two such blessings in and of themselves render this space sacred ground. But even without, this ballpark, built in 2000, is a stunning example of how to do a sports stadium right, from the brick facade to the views of the bay.

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1. De Young Museum

50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA
In the foreground is a still water pool with lily pads floating on the surface. In the distance are palm trees and the De Young Museum. Photo by Checubus/Shutterstock

The de Young is located in Golden Gate Park. It exhibits American art from the 17th century to the present, international modern art, textiles, and tribal art. The modernist copper-clad building, created by Herzog and de Meuron and Fong and Chan, is expected to oxidize over time and take on a greenish tone and a texture to mimic the park’s eucalyptus trees. It opened in 2005.

50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr
San Francisco, CA

2. Conservatory of Flowers

100 John F Kennedy Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118
In the foreground is a flower garden. In the distance is a large white domed conservatory building. There are pam trees in front of the building. Photo by Charls Fosterwhite/Shutterstock

Completed in 1879, the Conservatory of Flowers is the oldest glass and wood Victorian structure of its kind in Northern America. This theater of nature was designed to bring the urbanite closer to masterpieces of the natural world otherwise unavailable in the city. It boasts roughly 16,800 windows to keep it humid and hot year round.

Most recently, the building’s facade was illuminated psychedelic colors for the Summer of Love anniversary.

100 John F Kennedy Dr
San Francisco, CA 94118

3. Palace of Fine Arts

3301 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA

The Palace of Fine Arts is in a state of flux, waiting for another tenant after the Exploratorium moved to a new building. It was created in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific Exhibition, and it is the only structure that was left standing after the event. For now, it hosts a myriad of concerts and shows.

3301 Lyon St
San Francisco, CA

4. 2500 Steiner

2500 Steiner St, San Francisco, CA 94115

In a 2014 Curbed SF article, this apartment building was described as "one of the most prominent buildings in the city.” It's located in Pacific Heights off Alta Plaza Park, and is home to many notable San Franciscans. The Steiner Street structure, a co-op, has also been known locally as the Alta Plaza Apartments.

2500 Steiner St
San Francisco, CA 94115

5. Castro Theatre

429 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

Another Timothy Pflueger work, the Castro Theatre’s design is Spanish Colonial, a throwback to early California and meant to evoke a Mexican cathedral. But it’s what’s inside that really counts: The stunning ceiling, cast in plaster, is made to look like a leather tent complete with swags, ropes, and tassels.

The cinema house was listed as a San Francisco landmark in 1976.

429 Castro St
San Francisco, CA 94114

6. Painted Ladies

Steiner St, San Francisco, CA

The row of Victorian houses on Steiner Street along Alamo Square Park are known simply as the Painted Ladies. This scenic stretch of street has been the backdrop for many postcards, commercials, movies, and television shows, notably Full House.

The sobriquet used for the row of homes was first coined in 1978 by writers Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen in their book Painted Ladies: San Francisco’s Resplendent Victorians. It has stuck ever since.

Steiner St
San Francisco, CA

7. Mission Dolores

19th & Dolores St, San Francisco, CA

Mission Dolores (Mission San Francisco de Asís), is the oldest structure in San Francisco. It was founded in 1776 by Lieutenant José Joaquin Moraga and Father Francisco Palóu for the purpose of bringing Spanish settlers to the area and ministering to the Native Americas who were already there (a ministry that's since been called into question).

19th & Dolores St
San Francisco, CA

8. St. Mary's Cathedral

1111 Gough St, San Francisco, CA
The exterior of Saint Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. There is a geometric shaped roof and the facade is metallic. Photo by canyalcin/Shutterstock

Locals sometimes call this modernist church "Our Lady of Maytag," due to a design that vaguely resembles a washing machine agitator. Its design history is more sophisticated, however. Its shape (when seen from above) is based on a cross. Perhaps less chaste, on certain afternoons, the sun hits Saint Mary's architecture in just the right way so that a shadow appears looking like a part of the female anatomy, much to the delight of nearby school yard children.

In 2007, the American Institute of Architects, San Francisco chose it as one of the city's top 25 buildings. And Architectural Digest christened it one of the prettiest churches in the nation.

1111 Gough St
San Francisco, CA

9. San Francisco City Hall

1 Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco, CA

The Beaux-Arts City Hall building, designed by Arthur Brown and John Bakewell (War Memorial Opera House, Temple Emanu-El), has existed here since 1915 (an earlier version was leveled by the 1906 earthquake). Its regal dome is the fifth largest in the world. The building has appeared in several major Hollywood films, including A View to a Kill wherein a blaze tears through the building in an attempt to kill James Bond.

The Civic Center structure also lights up its facade for memorials, celebrations, sports teams, and holidays.

1 Carlton B Goodlett Pl
San Francisco, CA

10. Grace Cathedral

1100 California St, San Francisco, CA

Grace Cathedral is an Episcopal church atop Nob Hill. It's known for its mosaics by Jan Henryk De Rosen, large stained glass windows, a Keith Haring altarpiece that acts as an AIDS memorial, and a pair of large labyrinths.

Also of note, this church features copies of the Baptistery doors from the Baptistery of San Giovanni in Florence.

1100 California St
San Francisco, CA

11. InterContinental Mark Hopkins

999 California Street, San Francisco, CA

The InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco, designed by American architectural firm Weeks and Days, is a luxury hotel sited on the top of Nob Hill. It recently celebrated 91 years. A stunning example of Nob Hill's stately luxury, it’s best known for the Top of the Mark bar.

999 California Street
San Francisco, CA

12. Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association

843 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA

Also known as the Chinese Six Companies building, this building was once known as the “White House of Chinatown.” It’s known for its lion-supported columns, balconies, and emerald green trim.

843 Stockton St
San Francisco, CA

13. 450 Sutter Medical/Dental Building

450 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA

Impending root canals and cavity fillings are made a touch easier with a trip to this Timothy Pflueger-designed building just off Union Square. Known for its "neo-Mayan" Art Deco design, it was completed in 1929. Of special note is the lobby interior, which stands as one of the city’s finest.

450 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA

14. Flood Building

870 Market St, San Francisco, CA

Another flatiron gem along Market Street, the Flood Building (named for the Flood family of Comstock Lode fame) is a 12 story high-rise in the heart of the Financial District. The 12-story building cost $1,500,000 and was finished in 1904. At that time, it was the largest building in the city of San Francisco. It's also one of the few structures to survivor the 1906 quake.

870 Market St
San Francisco, CA

15. V. C. Morris Gift Shop

140 Maiden Ln, San Francisco, CA 94108

Frank Lloyd Wright’s V.C. Morris Gift Shop at 140 Maiden Lane, whose circular ramp was the prototype design for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, is now an Italian men’s clothing store. “Upon its completion, it electrified the architectural world not only for its architecture, but for its radical interpretation of a retail store,” said the San Francisco’s Historic Preservation Commission who voted unanimously in 2016 to preserve the interior. The store, currently an Italian men’s clothing store called Isaia, has gone through several iterations over the years.

140 Maiden Ln
San Francisco, CA 94108

16. Coit Tower

1 Telegraph Hill Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94133

Coit Tower stands at the top of Telegraph Hill like an exclamation point. The fluted concrete structure was erected in honor of Lillie Hitchcock Coit and built with money she left the city to add beauty to the place she said she always loved. It's known for the stunning, 360-degree views from the top and the murals painted by artists for the Public Works of Art Project (precursor to the WPA).

1 Telegraph Hill Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94133

17. Phelan Building

760 Market St, San Francisco, CA

This pie-shaped office building is at the intersection of Market and O'Farrell and Grant Avenue. It’s also one of the city’s best flatirons. The San Francisco landmark was erected in 1908 shortly after the great quake of 1906.

760 Market St
San Francisco, CA

18. The Summit

999 Green St, San Francisco, CA

One of San Francisco’s very few Eichler developments, this Russian Hill high-rise is a treat for any midcentury-modern fan. Designed by Neal Smith and Associates, the tower was completed in 1965.

999 Green St
San Francisco, CA

19. The Sentinel

916 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94133

Construction on this flatiron building started in 1906. Luckily, it survived the earthquake and was finished in 1907. Today, it's known for its distinctive shape and copper cladding (which has turned green over the years). After he was released from San Quentin, San Francisco's famously corrupt political boss Abe Ruef made his office in the top floor. Today it's owned by film director Francis Ford Coppola, and he maintains an office in the building.

916 Kearny St
San Francisco, CA 94133

20. 555 California

555 California St, San Francisco, CA

At this moment, the tall, brown building is arguably the most distinctive on the city's skyline. Until recently, it was known as the Bank of America Center. It's also partially owned by President Donald Trump. It has played host to numerous protests since the 2016 election.

555 California St
San Francisco, CA

21. Hallidie Building

130 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94104
The facade of the Hallidie Building which is made up primarily of glass. Photo by Patricia Chang

The seven-story retail and office building at 130 Sutter, known as the Hallidie Building, completed 100 years ago in 1918, gave birth to the curtain wall. Writing for Curbed SF, Jay Barmann noted, “Many architecture historians consider it groundbreaking, some calling it the most important modern building in San Francisco.”

130 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94104

22. Transamerica Pyramid

600 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA

In true San Francisco fashion, the Transamerica Pyramid was reviled by many when it was completed in 1972 as the headquarters for the Transamerica Corporation (they no longer occupy it). The purpose of its tapered design is to let light onto the street below.

Back then, San Francisco Chronicle architectural critic Alan Temko called it "the biggest architectural dunce cap in the world." Now, it's one of the most beloved and recognizable buildings in the city.

600 Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA

23. Russ Building

235 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA

They don't build skyscrapers like this anymore. The Russ Building is marked by a distinctive neo-Gothic facade with terra cotta tile and brick. The interior is just as spectacular featuring granite floors and marble wainscoting, elevator lobbies with ornate area rugs, and pendant light fixtures.

When the 32-floor edifice was finished in 1927, it was home to the city's first indoor parking garage. The building is a national historic landmark.

235 Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA

24. The Palace Hotel

2 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA

The Palace Hotel is a historic hotel, beautiful inside and out. It's called the "new" Palace, as the current version replaces one destroyed by fire following the 1906 quake. The grand building takes up most of a city block. (Also of note, this is the place where Green Goddess dressing was invented and where U.S. President Warren Harding died.) The hotel’s Garden Court, declared a San Francisco landmark in 1969, is also one of the most gorgeous rooms in the city.

2 New Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA

25. Hobart Building

582 Market St, San Francisco, CA

The neoclassical Hobart Building was finished in 1914 amid accusations of construction recklessness. Famed architect Willis Polk designed the structure. It featured a sculpted terra cotta exterior and handcrafted brass and Italian marble interiors. It's also a designated city landmark.

582 Market St
San Francisco, CA

26. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

151 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94103
The exterior of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The facade is white and contoured giving it a wavy appearance. Photo by Henrik Kam, courtesy of SFMOMA

Maligned as giant white meringue when it opened, the Snøhetta-designed SFMOMA expansion is an architectural treat for the Yerba Buena neighborhood. The new 10-story contoured facade, inspired by San Francisco's fog and choppy bay waters, is made up of more than 700 white panels of fiberglass-reinforced polymer, which gives the exterior a wavy effect.

Other highlights include solid color bathrooms, Cory Lee’s In Situ eatery, and its original postmodern entrance by Mario Botta.

151 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94103

27. 140 New Montgomery (PacBell Building)

140 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA

The Art Deco building at 140 New Montgomery started life as the headquarters for Pacific Telephone when it was built in 1925. It was the first high-rise south of Market Street. Today, it's where Yelp is located. It’s also where you can find one of the city’s most beautiful interiors; do stop by to check out the lobby if you’re in the area. Not to be missed.

140 New Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA

28. Salesforce Tower

Salesforce Tower, San Francisco, CA 94105

Perhaps the most controversial and polarizing entry on this list, the Salesforce Tower (née the Transbay Tower) sets itself apart from every building in the city by being the tallest, coming in at 1,070 feet. The second-tallest building west of the Mississippi River after the Wilshire Grand Center in Los Angeles, the Pelli Clarke Pelli-designed behemoth can be seen from practically any vantage point in the city.

San Francisco-based LED artist Jim Campbell, who has lit up spaces from SFMOMA to Hong Kong, will design the light scheme atop the brawny tower. It opens in 2018.

Salesforce Tower
San Francisco, CA 94105

29. Ferry Building

1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA

The existing Ferry Building was built in 1898 on the site of the original 1875 wooden Ferry House. Before the bridges were built, the ferries were the only way to reach the city other than coming north from the Peninsula.

The San Francisco Ferry Building remains a terminal for ferries. Today it’s also the site of choice food shops and a bi-weekly farmers market. The building is topped by a distinctive clock tower.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA

30. Oracle Park

24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94107

Two major events happened inside one of Major League Baseball’s best ballparks: the San Francisco Giants played (and subsequently won) three World Series at the South Beach stadium, and Beyonce performed here. Two such blessings in and of themselves render this space sacred ground. But even without, this ballpark, built in 2000, is a stunning example of how to do a sports stadium right, from the brick facade to the views of the bay.

24 Willie Mays Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94107