In a city that boasts more conventions than any other US city, it's no wonder the Moscone Convention Center has undergone several renovations and expansions since it opened in 1981. Located in the SOMA neighborhood — South of Market — Moscone Convention Center has easy access to the best of downtown, as well as BART and Muni Metro public transportation.
Here's the skinny on the biggest convention arena in San Francisco, as well as some little-known facts about its history, future and artistic legacy. If you're one of the lucky ones coming to SF for your convention, this is what you're going to need to know.
At 2.1 million-square-feet (and growing) Moscone Convention Center is the largest exhibition complex in San Francisco, and one of the largest i the country. The massive facility anchors the vast Yerba Buena Gardens complex. It's named after former mayor George Moscone who was shot and killed in his office, along with Harvey Milk.
Although it is largely underground, the center's imaginative use of skylights and other light-maximizing techniques keeps conventioneers from feeling like basement dwellers.
The original complex Moscone South opened in 1981, Moscone North in 1992, and Moscone West in 2003. These expansions and another in 2012 added 300,000 square feet of space. The city's premier meeting and exhibition is now slated for another expansion to be completed in 2018.
In 2004, a solar electricity system was installed on the roof, making it one of the largest solar installations in the country. In addition to solar electricity, the Moscone Center has an active recycling program that diverts nearly two million pounds of products from the landfill. As well, a massive food composting program was launched in 2007.
There's a lot of public art the Moscone Convention Center, courtesy of the San Francisco Arts Commissions program that started in 1969. Moscone South has six works of interior art as well as a large sculpture by Keith Haring outside the Esplanade Ballroom building.
Moscone North exhibits a mixed media acrylic canvas by Gustavo Rivera. Moscone West has two dramatic art pieces. Tree is a 101-foot-tall California Redwood that was created from a redwood that died of natural causes. Facsimile is a 15 x 25 foot LED mobile electronic piece that features video images.
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There is a good selection of hotels within easy walking distance of the Moscone Convention Center. Topping the list are The Four Seasons Hotel, Hotel Nikko, the Palace Hotel, St. Regis Hotel, the Westin St Francis Hotel, and the W San Francisco. If you're heading to a convention in the Gold Rush City, you might want to read our reviews.
It will also come as no surprise that many top restaurants are found close to the Moscone Center, such as B Restaurant & Bar, Luce, Zero Zero, the Grove Yerba Buena, and Freshroll Vietnamese Rolls & Bowls. We can't list them all since there are literally hundreds of cafes, restaurants, and bars within walking distance of the Moscone Center.
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