Civic Center
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Civic Center

Even if you aren't a San Francisco resident, you may recognize its City Hall thanks to its frequent big-screen appearances. (It has often played the role of the capitol building of various fictional countries.) This grand edifice has a dome taller than that of the U.S. Capitol's and is one of the high points of the City Beautiful movement. Completed in 1915, just in time for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, it is part of a larger complex of structures that are surprisingly grandiose for a city with fewer than 1 million residents. The city's former main library (now the Asian Art Museum), opera house (where the U.N. Charter was signed in 1945) and federal and state buildings complete the Civic Center, which has been recognized as a national landmark.

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