Fringed by Australian eucalyptus (gum) trees, the lake (replete with elegant swans) reflects the classical domed Roman rotunda with its curved colonnades (called the Palace of Fine Arts) and represents one of the most idyllic and relaxing locations in San Francisco. Initially built as a highlight of San Francisco’s 1915 Exposition to celebrate the city’s recovery from the devastating 1906 earthquake, the palace has been used as a war depot and a setting for Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Left in disrepair, the rotunda was virtually rebuilt more recently.
A relaxing highlight of any San Francisco visit is to walk from the Rotunda through the Presidio (a huge park) along the harbour foreshore towards the iconic Golden Gate Bridge (especially if it isn’t shrouded in fog!) – a return trail of around six kilometres.