"...THE mortality of grandeur and the vanity of human wishes.... "

There is so much more to this other San Francisco must-stop than just a showcase of man’s creations.

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"Although it was meant to give delight by its exterior beauty, its purpose was also to offer all visitors a stimulating experience within doors," says the man behind this iconic structure,

In the Marina District of San Francisco sits the Palace of Fine Arts, a part of the city's 49 Mile Scenic drive that highlights many of the city's major attractions and historic structures.

The Romanesque and Grecian inspired architecture was originally built when this California city played host to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition five years short of a century ago, in February 1915 when San Francisco was the honoring the discovery of the Pacific Ocean, the completion of the Panama Canal and a celebration of the city's resurrection from the devastating earthquake and fire of 1906.

The magnificent structure was Bernard Maybeck's brainchild, an architect who was known for his ingenious styles. His jump-off point in designing this project was "in the mood of a Piransi engraving." He chose the ruins of Rome as his inspiration.

But this "ruin" he describes as showing "the mortality of grandeur and the vanity of human wishes ...." Although the Palace of Fine arts was meant to give pleasure with the magnificence of the exterior, it is also as stimulating indoors as it is outdoors.

A harmony of poetry and romance, an alluring fusion of Roman architecture and Grecian adornment, enchanting. These are the ideal words to describe this amazing complex- or what is left of it.

There used to be three buildings built for the exposition but only this remains. The other two were the Japanese Tea House, not the tea house in the 1894 Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, and the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

Maybeck's Palace of the Fine Arts was the last structure to be constructed. The perfect location on the lagoon and close by a group of Monterrey cypresses that exuded a very old world European appeal fulfilled the artist's dream -- beautiful against the California sky as it is reflected in the water. The palace was an instant hit to the public, then and now.

A hit, yes. The tranquility and romantic essence of the palace has become the preferential and idyllic wedding location. In fact, we caught a pre-nuptial wedding photo session on our visit that made everything more charming.

Saving the palace was a wise decision indeed and the 1960s renovation and restoration gave San Francisco another tourist spot to share and enjoy. What used to be the exhibition hall housing Impressionist paintings during the exposition is now home to a state of the art interactive science museum called the Exploratorium.

If you find everything so familiar and feel that you have seen the place in your past life, chances are you having a delusion. Seriously, you are not. Either you have been to the place or you must have admired a scene in one of your favorite movies or TV shows perhaps.

Not only is the Palace of Fine Arts a favorite nuptial spot, it has been a popular backdrop for Hollywood films -- Alfred Hitchcock's psychological thriller Vertigo? Perhaps in Jagged Edge? How about a scenic first date walk in So I Married an Axe Murderer, or Chris O'Donnell on a canoe on palace lake in the Bachelor? Aah, maybe you've seen it when Nicolas Cage confronts Sean Connery at the dome in The Rock?

One thing was for sure, the Palace of Fine Arts was certainly a fabulous way to end our hectic day of touring San Francisco. It calmed us down, slowed our pace and our beating hearts.

Dominic C. sure knows how to host his Dabawenyo tourists and tells us to make sure to tell everyone else that there is more than to San Francisco than the Golden Gate Bridge and the Fisherman's wharf.

In fact, there are more than 50 must-visit entries on San Francisco's famous 49 Mile Scenic Drive. Now tell me avid San Francisco regulars, how many have you seen?