The Van Ness/Civic Center is San Francisco’s epicenter for culture and the arts. Here you’ll find many of San Francisco’s major governmental buildings and gathering spots, including City Hall, the Supreme Court of California, United Nations Plaza, and Civic Center Plaza. But most people come to the Civic Center to enjoy its many fine-arts and cultural establishments such as the War Memorial Opera House, Davies Symphony Hall, the Asian Art Museum, and the Herbst Theatre, a national historic landmark where the U.N. Charter was signed in 1945.

The Van Ness Corridor (also known as Highway 101) is a veritable smorgasbord of cultural and dining opportunities. Whether you visit the opera, ballet, symphony, or theater, there’s a great meal awaiting you before or after. While the neighborhood is mostly commercial, residential properties can be found in high-rise condos, apartments, and a few single-family homes. Several MUNI lines stop at Market Street and Van Ness, two of the city’s major thoroughfares, while BART lines serve the nearby Civic Center/UN Plaza station at Market and Eighth Streets. © 2016 Maryann LoRusso 

Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall is home to one of the greatest symphonies in the world.

Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall is home to one of the greatest symphonies in the world.

The San Francisco Opera has been performing at the War Memorial Opera House since opening night in 1932.

The San Francisco Opera has been performing at the War Memorial Opera House since opening night in 1932.

The Asian Art Museum is home to more than 18,000 Asian artworks and artifacts in the former main library opposite City Hall.

The Asian Art Museum is home to more than 18,000 Asian artworks and artifacts in the former main library opposite City Hall.

The site of the United Nations Charter signing in 1945, the Herbst Theatre is now the primary venue for many of the Bay Area’s premier cultural organizations, including Chamber Music San Francisco, New Century Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and San Francisco Performances.

The site of the United Nations Charter signing in 1945, the Herbst Theatre is now the primary venue for many of the Bay Area’s premier cultural organizations, including Chamber Music San Francisco, New Century Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and San Francisco Performances.

The Orpheum Theater on Market Street produces Broadway-originated shows throughout the year.

The Orpheum Theater on Market Street produces Broadway-originated shows throughout the year.

 Known for its distinct color, soaring ceiling, and Beaux-Arts architecture, the Green Room hosts more than 200 functions a year.

 Known for its distinct color, soaring ceiling, and Beaux-Arts architecture, the Green Room hosts more than 200 functions a year.

Civic Center Plaza is located in the heart of the city, and contains many of San Francisco’s largest government and cultural organizations.

Civic Center Plaza is located in the heart of the city, and contains many of San Francisco’s largest government and cultural organizations.

The United Nations Plaza is a gathering spot for residents and tourists, and the site of a lively night market on select Friday evenings.

The United Nations Plaza is a gathering spot for residents and tourists, and the site of a lively night market on select Friday evenings.

The United Nations Plaza is a gathering spot for residents and tourists, and the site of a lively night market on select Friday evenings.

The United Nations Plaza is a gathering spot for residents and tourists, and the site of a lively night market on select Friday evenings.

Built in 1915 as part of the Panama–Pacific International Exposition, the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium hosts big-name concerts and holds 7,000 people.

Built in 1915 as part of the Panama–Pacific International Exposition, the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium hosts big-name concerts and holds 7,000 people.