8 San Francisco Meeting Venues with a View: Water and Bridges

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8 San Francisco Meeting Venues with a View: Water and Bridges

When the meeting needs to be in San Francisco, why not offer attendees the full visual experience of the City on the Bay? These eight fascinating venues provide artistic and historic settings in which to meet, while featuring one-of-a-kind views of the city and its iconic waterways.

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When the meeting needs to be in San Francisco, why not offer attendees the full visual experience of the City on the Bay? These eight fascinating venues provide artistic and historic settings in which to meet, while featuring one-of-a-kind views of the city and its iconic waterways.

Exploratorium (Pier 15)
On Pier 15 of the Embarcadero waterfront, this museum is dedicated to wonders of the senses. Weaving together displays of art and science, the Exploratorium offers seven different spaces for meetings. For small groups of up to 200, the Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery and Terrace combine a wide-open glass and steel space with matchless views of bridge and bay. The larger East Gallery has expansive windows onto the Bay, while also providing 7,000 square feet for dancing and enjoying interactive biology-centered exhibits.

Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture (2 Marina Blvd.)
The Golden Gate Bridge is practically right next door to the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture’s historic waterfront campus. Once a military installation, Fort Mason has been reinvented as a nonprofit arts association, hosting performances and exhibits for local artists that draw over one million visitors each year. The dignified cluster of buildings represents a bygone era, providing a selection of flexible venues. The Festival Pavilion is 50,000 square feet extending out on a pier over the water, creating convention and exhibit space with stunning iconic views of the Bridge and Alcatraz. Direct access is available for vehicles, as are a catering area and WiFi. Breakout space for smaller sessions can be simultaneously arranged.

San Francisco Maritime National Park Association — Balclutha (Fisherman's Wharf)
This classic tall sailing ship was first launched in 1886, and after an eminent lifetime on the high seas that included 17 trips around Cape Horn, it is now run by the National Park Service. Park rangers offer interpretive programs and demonstrations, immersing guests in San Francisco’s maritime traditions. A visitor center across the street from the pier provides in-depth activities and exhibits to deepen the experience. The Balclutha’s main deck accommodates 120 people for a reception or up to 80 for dining, and the ship itself is a treasure trove of photos, artifacts and intricate Victorian-era detailing. Out on the deck, meeting attendees can watch the sun setting over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Ferryboat Eureka and Museum (2905 Hyde St.)
Built in 1890, this paddle-wheel steamer carried commuters from San Francisco across the Golden Gate for 68 years. Now a museum and private venue operated by the National Park Service, the Eureka provides an authentic period experience on the water at Hyde Street Pier. Built to accommodate 3,500 passengers in her prime, Eureka was extensively renovated in 1999 to make a graceful transition to a historical exhibit space. Her ample spaces accommodate up to 700 reception guests or 300 for seated dining.

Presidio of San Francisco
The Presidio, situated on a point at the very mouth of San Francisco Bay, was the earliest European settlement from which the city grew. In 1776, it was Spain’s most northerly point in the Americas, and from 1846 to 1994 it was a U.S. Army base. Its expansive park now houses art and recreation facilities as well as science labs, high-tech startups, an inn and national park exhibits. Stunning views abound from nature trails and 17 architecturally important meeting venues. Attendees can stay right on-site at the Inn at the Presidio, play golf at the scenic Presidio Golf Course and enjoy catered meals from Bay Area chef Traci des Jardins or private caterers. Many of the venues offer panoramic views of the Bay.

The Walt Disney Family Museum (104 Montgomery St.)
This museum is situated within the Presidio, providing a full-immersion experience in the art of Walt Disney. Interactive exhibits, video screens and other artifacts fill 40,000 square feet of a historic building. The museum’s lobby, cafe, theater and main museum building are all on hand for private rental. Plenty of movie, music and cartoon viewing opportunities are available in this unique, dedicated venue, as well as all the resources of the Presidio itself. If guests remember to look out the windows, they will enjoy views of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

SS Jeremiah O'Brien (Pier 45)
For a taste of more recent maritime history, meetings and conventions can be held aboard the SS Jeremiah O’Brien. This living museum, moored at Fisherman’s Wharf, was inaugurated in time to participate in the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Restored to mint condition, the Liberty Ship is fully seaworthy and offers occasional day cruises of the Bay. Her engine room, gun mounts, crew quarters and all other areas are available for visitor viewing. Two venue options on board are adaptable for groups of up to 200, with seated dining space for up to 170. Views feature 360-degree panoramas of the city and the Bay Bridge, and the dance floor is available for open exhibit space.

Alcatraz
This storied prison island is now a historic monument and nature preserve. The extraordinary experience of taking a cruise out to this island in the San Francisco Bay makes any event unforgettable. Wander through exhibits and view the lighthouse and the city from this exceptional viewpoint. Often used for movie locations and photographic shoots, Alcatraz is also available for special tours and events. From the scenic boat ride across the bay to setting foot on this once-inescapable island, this convention experience will make an impression on every participant. Reception and banquet facilities for up to 400 guests are available on board one of the four ships.

To learn more about any of these stunning venues and make plans for your next event, contact the San Francisco Travel Convention Team.

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