Civic Center City Hall Dome

Downtown / Civic Center

Civic Center

To put things bluntly, the Civic Center is the government section of San Francisco. Located in the heart of downtown, it’s home to large buildings, cultural museums and, unfortunately, quite a few homeless. You can easily access the site by bus, the F-line or BART, where you can walk the Civic Center and see the mostly-government landmarks, but it’s best to avoid the neighborhood at night.

The Civic Center consists of two plazas: the United Nations and the Civic Center Plazas. Inside, you can see San Francisco City Hall, with its giant two-block footprint and dome; the War Memorial Veteran’s Building, where the United Nations charter was signed in 1945; and other landmarks such as the Asian Art Museum; the San Francisco Main Library; and the Billy Graham Civic Auditorium, a 7,000+ seat arena built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition (where large bands such as Kings of Leon, Kygo and The Chainsmokers typically play concerts).

You can also visit the cultural attractions as well as numerous events held in the plazas.

Civic Center Sycamore Trees

You can attend a gay marriage protest, for instance; a World Cup screening; or even participate in San Francisco’s SantaCon or the Bay to Breakers marathon (dressed accordingly).

Unfortunately, though, because of the open space, chronic homelessness is part of the Civic Center too.

As referenced above, the Civic Center can enhance your San Francisco holiday if viewed properly. Although not best visited at night, the Civic Center has its own variety of attractions to add to San Francisco, while also being a gateway to neighborhoods such as Hayes Valley and Alamo Square.

Civic Center

How Do I Find the Civic Center?

  • The Civic Center¬†is located¬†in the middle of San Francisco,¬†where most of the government buildings are located.¬†If you get lost, ask someone where to find¬†City Hall;¬†it’s in the heart of the Civic Center.
  • You can use public transportation routes¬†5, 9, 14, 19, 21, 26, 31, 47, 49, F-Line, BART and the underground K, L, M, T, J and N to reach the¬†Civic Center. Most¬†public transport routes go past the¬†neighborhood.
  • To reach the Civic Center¬†from¬†Union Square¬†you can ride the¬†F-Line¬†(8 min), underground K, L, M, N, J or T (8 min) or BART, although BART is more expensive. You can also walk, however it‚Äôs across¬†The Tenderloin, San Francisco‚Äôs¬†neighborhood with the highest homeless population.

City Hall under Blue Skies


Orange Sky Co. says:

Orange Sky SF Logo

The Civic Center is the home for most of the government buildings of San Francisco. It’s¬†also home to a large homeless population looking to the city for help.


Location of the Civic Center