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The Palace of the Legion of Honor

A Parisian Palace Full of Art High on the Cliffs over the Crashing Pacific


The Palace of the Legion of Honor
Image Courtesy of Frank Kovalchek through Creative Commons
Sitting high on the headlands and sporting majestic sweeping views of the city from it's grand entrance, the Palace of the Legion of Honor is a striking tribute to the Old World. Inside the French Neo-Classical building, which is actually a three-quarter scale model of the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur on the left bank of the Seine in Paris, the collection of art and artifacts spans 4,000 years of history. The museum's extensive permanent collection focuses on European and ancient art, but temporary exhibitions often feature in-depth showcases of modern masters.

Visiting the Legion of Honor

Located in the Richmond District, the Palace of the Legion of Honor is inside of Lincoln Park, which is a clifftop expanse of greenery in the city's extreme northwest corner.

Take either the 38 Geary from Union Square or the 1 California from Chinatown to get there by public transit. Get off either bus at 33rd Avenue and walk north to get to the park, then walk up 34th Avenue past the golf course to get to the museum.

  • Address: 100 34th Avenue, San Francisco CA
  • Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 9:30am till 5:30pm
  • Admission: Adults $10, Seniors $7, Students and Youth aged 13-17 $6, Children Free.
  • Contact (415) 750-3600 www.legionofhonor.org
Admission tickets to the Legion of Honor are also good for same-day entry to the De Young Museum, located in nearby Golden Gate Park.

Admission to the Legion of Honor is also included in the San Francisco CityPass, which bundles a seven day transit pass and entrance to several museums and attractions into one low price.

The Collections and Exhibits of the Legion of Honor

The Palace of the Legion on Honor is home to both permanent collections and special temporary exhibits, the latter of which tend to be top-notch exhibitions that are making their way around the world.
  • Ancient Art: Ancient art and artifacts are a specialty of the Legion and the Egypt collection is extensive and impressive. Sculptures and freezes from Greece and Rome as well as a room of artifacts from ancient Mesopotamia round out the collection.

  • European Painting: Spanning the 14th to 20th centuries, The Legion's European painting collection is another cornerstone of the museum. Over 800 paintings representing the full cast of Europe's fine art tradition are found here including works by Picasso, Rembrandt and Rubens.

  • European Sculpture: The collection of sculptures by Rodin, including the famous Thinker, is the Legion's crest jewel and is worth the price of admission in and of itself. But stay a bit longer and check out the three French period rooms, the collection of English porcelain and the bust of Cosimo de’ Medici done by Cellini.

  • Photography: The Legion of Honor also houses a substantial photography collection, much of it historical in nature. Here you will find some of the best preserved photographs of San Francisco from before the earthquake and fires of 1906 and a collection of photographs of early California.

  • The Skinner Organ: With 4500 pipes that are seamlessly interwoven into the structure of the museum, this musical masterpiece by the Ernest M. Skinner Organ Company is a major work of art in it's own right. There are performances at 4pm every Saturday and Sunday with the music traveling through the walls to every room in the museum.

The Legion of Honor Cafe

The onsite cafe, which looks out onto a sculpture garden, serves European and American specialties, including espresso drinks and coffee in the morning, a full lunch menu after mid-day and a special Entre Repas in the afternoon.
  • Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 9:30am to 4pm
  • Contact: (415)750-3547

The Legion of Honor Museum Store

Up on the terrace level, this in-house store offers visitors a wide selection of memorabilia as well as high quality art and coffee table books, jewelry, home furnishing and other gift items. On the museum's lower level, a special exhibition store sell products related to the temporary exhibit of the moment.
  • Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 9:30am to 5:15pm
  • Contact: (415)750-3677

The San Francisco Holocaust Memorial

Just outside the museum stands the San Francisco Holocaust Memorial, an open-air bronze sculpture installation that artistically recreates a scene from inside a concentration camp. Some of the figures are symbolic and the overall feel is harrowing. You do not need to pay admission to see the Holocaust Memorial.
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