One of San Francisco’s most attractive neighbourhoods, Marina boasts an enviable position on the site of the 1915 Panama–Pacific International Exposition, overlooking San Francisco Bay. Leafy streets lined with boutiques and tranquil green spaces combine with some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge to create Marina’s alluring character.
Chestnut Street runs through the heart of the neighbourhood and is renowned for its eclectic shops, combining some of the area’s best restaurants with one-of-a-kind boutiques. Food trucks are the newest kids on the Marina block, serving up a delicious choice of gourmet food across the waterfront, coupled with live music entertainment. In the east of the district lies historic Fort Mason, a cluster of buildings originally planned to reinforce the city against naval attack during the Gold Rush era and today housing the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture. Marina’s most impressive building is undoubtedly the Palace of Fine Arts which stands in the centre of the district as the only surviving building from the 1915 Exposition fairgrounds and whose stately columns and lagoon are a favourite photographic location in the city. For Golden Gate Bridge views and spectacular sunsets, head west to Crissy Field which boasts a picturesque beach and plenty of picnic facilities on the edge of the Presidio. Marina is situated within walking distance to all the attractions at San Francisco’s famous Fisherman’s Wharf and the chocolate factory at Ghiradelli Square, together with the iconic switchbacks of Lombard Street.
The Marina District is well connected by bus to the rest of San Francisco and just a short walk from the ferry terminal at Pier 41. The neighbourhood itself is compact and best explored on foot, with fantastic views across the bay from its waterfront parks and leafy streets.
Following the devastating earthquake which destroyed much of San Francisco in 1906, Marina was selected as the site of an international exposition that would celebrate the city’s reemergence. When the exposition ended in 1915, all of the structures were torn down to make way for the current residential neighbourhood, except for the magnificent Palace of Fine Arts which still stands today.