San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

Overview
San Francisco (ˌ), officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco Bay Area
The San Francisco Bay Area, commonly known as the Bay Area, is a populated region that surrounds the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California. The region encompasses metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, along with smaller urban and rural areas...

, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose
San Jose, California
San Jose is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the U.S., and the county seat of Santa Clara County which is located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay...

 and Oakland. The only consolidated city-county in California, it encompasses a land area of about 46.9 square miles (121.5 km²) on the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula
San Francisco Peninsula
The San Francisco Peninsula is a peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area that separates the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. On its northern tip is the City and County of San Francisco. Its southern base is in Santa Clara County, including the cities of Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Mountain...

, giving it a density of about 17,179 people per square mile (6,632 people per km2).
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Timeline

1776   Father Francisco Palou founds Mission San Francisco de Asis in what is now San Francisco, California.

1847   Yerba Buena, California is renamed San Francisco.

1848   California Gold Rush: The first ship with Chinese immigrants arrives in San Francisco, California.

1852   Congress establishes the United States' 2nd mint in San Francisco, California.

1873   The University of California opens its first medical school in San Francisco, California.

1876   An express train called the ''Transcontinental Express'' arrives in San Francisco, California, via the First Transcontinental Railroad only 83 hours and 39 minutes after leaving New York City.

1892   In San Francisco, California, John Muir organizes the Sierra Club.

1906   San Francisco public school board sparks United States diplomatic crisis with Japan by ordering Japanese students to be taught in racially segregated schools.

1907   Bubonic plague breaks out in San Francisco, California.

1916   In San Francisco, California, a bomb explodes on Market Street during a Preparedness Day parade killing 10 and injuring 40.

 
Encyclopedia
San Francisco (ˌ), officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco Bay Area
The San Francisco Bay Area, commonly known as the Bay Area, is a populated region that surrounds the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California. The region encompasses metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, along with smaller urban and rural areas...

, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose
San Jose, California
San Jose is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the U.S., and the county seat of Santa Clara County which is located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay...

 and Oakland. The only consolidated city-county in California, it encompasses a land area of about 46.9 square miles (121.5 km²) on the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula
San Francisco Peninsula
The San Francisco Peninsula is a peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area that separates the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. On its northern tip is the City and County of San Francisco. Its southern base is in Santa Clara County, including the cities of Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Mountain...

, giving it a density of about 17,179 people per square mile (6,632 people per km2). It is the most densely settled large city (population greater than 200,000) in the state of California and the second-most densely populated large city in the United States after New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. San Francisco is the fourth most populous city in California and the 13th most populous city in the United States, with a population of 805,235 as of the 2010 Census.

In 1776, colonists from Spain
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

 established a fort
Presidio of San Francisco
The Presidio of San Francisco is a park on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula in San Francisco, California, within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area...

 at the Golden Gate
Golden Gate
The Golden Gate is the North American strait connecting San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. Since 1937 it has been spanned by the Golden Gate Bridge...

 and a mission
Mission San Francisco de Asís
Mission San Francisco de Asís, or Mission Dolores, is the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco and the sixth religious settlement established as part of the California chain of missions...

 named for Francis of Assisi
Francis of Assisi
Saint Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's Franciscan Order, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the lay Third Order of Saint Francis. St...

 on the site. The California Gold Rush
California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The first to hear confirmed information of the gold rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands , and Latin America, who were the first to start flocking to...

 of 1849 propelled the city into a period of rapid growth, increasing the population in one year from 1,000 to 25,000, and thus transforming it into the largest city on the West Coast
West Coast of the United States
West Coast or Pacific Coast are terms for the westernmost coastal states of the United States. The term most often refers to the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Although not part of the contiguous United States, Alaska and Hawaii do border the Pacific Ocean but can't be included in...

 at the time. After three-quarters of the city was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire
1906 San Francisco earthquake
The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 was a major earthquake that struck San Francisco, California, and the coast of Northern California at 5:12 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18, 1906. The most widely accepted estimate for the magnitude of the earthquake is a moment magnitude of 7.9; however, other...

, San Francisco was quickly rebuilt, hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition
Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915)
The Panama-Pacific International Exposition was a world's fair held in San Francisco, California between February 20 and December 4 in 1915. Its ostensible purpose was to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, but it was widely seen in the city as an opportunity to showcase its recovery...

 nine years later. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, San Francisco was the port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater
Pacific Ocean theater of World War II
The Pacific Ocean theatre was one of four major naval theatres of war of World War II, which pitted the forces of Japan against those of the United States, the British Commonwealth, the Netherlands and France....

. After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, massive immigration, liberalizing attitudes, and other factors led to the Summer of Love
Summer of Love
The Summer of Love was a social phenomenon that occurred during the summer of 1967, when as many as 100,000 people converged on the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, creating a cultural and political rebellion...

 and the gay rights movement, cementing San Francisco as a center of liberal activism in the United States.

Today, San Francisco is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, ranking 33rd out of the 100 most visited cities worldwide, and is renowned for its chilly summer fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture
San Francisco architecture
San Francisco architecture does not refer to a particular architectural style but to San Francisco's unique status as a major architectural landmark and epicenter...

, and its famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening of the San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean. As part of both U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1, the structure links the city of San Francisco, on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, to...

, cable cars
San Francisco cable car system
The San Francisco cable car system is the world's last permanently operational manually operated cable car system, in the US sense of a tramway whose cars are pulled along by cables embedded in the street. It is an icon of San Francisco, California...

, and Chinatown. The city is also a principal banking and finance center, and the home to more than 30 international financial institutions, helping to make San Francisco rank eighteenth in the world's top producing cities, ninth in the United States, and thirteenth place
Global Financial Centres Index
The Global Financial Centres Index is a ranking of the competitiveness of financial centres based on 26,629 financial centre assessments from an online questionnaire together with over 60 indices...

 in the top twenty global financial centers.

History



The earliest archaeological evidence of human habitation of the territory of the city of San Francisco dates to 3000 BC. The Yelamu
Yelamu
The Yelamu were a Native American tribe of Ohlone people from the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California.-History:The Yelamu lived on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula in the region comprising the City and County of San Francisco before the arrival of Spanish missionaries in 1769...

 group of the Ohlone
Ohlone
The Ohlone people, also known as the Costanoan, are a Native American people of the central California coast. When Spanish explorers and missionaries arrived in the late 18th century, the Ohlone inhabited the area along the coast from San Francisco Bay through Monterey Bay to the lower Salinas Valley...

 people resided in several small villages when a Spanish exploration party
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

, led by Don Gaspar de Portolà
Gaspar de Portolà
Gaspar de Portolà i Rovira was a soldier, governor of Baja and Alta California , explorer and founder of San Diego and Monterey. He was born in Os de Balaguer, province of Lleida, in Catalonia, Spain, of Catalan nobility. Don Gaspar served as a soldier in the Spanish army in Italy and Portugal...

 arrived on November 2, 1769, the first documented European visit to San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay is a shallow, productive estuary through which water draining from approximately forty percent of California, flowing in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers from the Sierra Nevada mountains, enters the Pacific Ocean...

. Seven years later, on March 28, 1776, the Spanish established the Presidio of San Francisco
Presidio of San Francisco
The Presidio of San Francisco is a park on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula in San Francisco, California, within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area...

, followed by a mission, Mission San Francisco de Asís
Mission San Francisco de Asís
Mission San Francisco de Asís, or Mission Dolores, is the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco and the sixth religious settlement established as part of the California chain of missions...

 (Mission Dolores).

Upon independence
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

 from Spain in 1821, the area became part of Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

. Under Mexican rule, the mission system gradually ended and its lands began to be privatized
Ranchos of California
The Spanish, and later the Méxican government encouraged settlement of territory now known as California by the establishment of large land grants called ranchos, from which the English ranch is derived. Devoted to raising cattle and sheep, the owners of the ranchos attempted to pattern themselves...

. In 1835, Englishman William Richardson erected the first independent homestead, near a boat anchorage around what is today Portsmouth Square
Portsmouth Square
Portsmouth Square is a one-block park in Chinatown, San Francisco, California, that is bounded by Kearny Street on the east, Washington Street on the north, Clay Street on the south, and Walter Lum Place on the west....

. Together with Alcalde
Alcalde
Alcalde , or Alcalde ordinario, is the traditional Spanish municipal magistrate, who had both judicial and administrative functions. An alcalde was, in the absence of a corregidor, the presiding officer of the Castilian cabildo and judge of first instance of a town...

 Francisco de Haro
Francisco de Haro
Francisco de Haro was the first Alcalde of Yerba Buena in 1834.-Life:De Haro was born in Compostela, Nayarit, Mexico and came to San Francisco in 1819. He was the first Alcalde of Yerba Buena in 1834. He was instrumental in planning the street grid of the town along with Englishman William A....

, he laid out a street plan for the expanded settlement, and the town, named Yerba Buena
Yerba Buena (town)
Yerba Buena was the original name of San Francisco when in the Spanish Las Californias Province of New Spain, and then after 1822 in the Mexican territory of Alta California, until the Mexican American War ended with the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, when California became a territory of the...

, began to attract American settlers. Commodore John D. Sloat
John D. Sloat
John Drake Sloat was a commodore in the United States Navy who, in 1846, claimed California for the United States.-Life:...

 claimed California for the United States on July 7, 1846, during the Mexican-American War, and Captain John B. Montgomery
John B. Montgomery
John Berrien Montgomery was an officer in the United States Navy who served during the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War.-Biography:...

 arrived to claim Yerba Buena two days later. Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco on January 30 of the next year, and Mexico officially ceded the territory
Mexican Cession
The Mexican Cession of 1848 is a historical name in the United States for the region of the present day southwestern United States that Mexico ceded to the U.S...

 to the United States at the end of the war. Despite its attractive location as a port and naval base, San Francisco was still a small settlement with inhospitable geography.

The California Gold Rush
California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The first to hear confirmed information of the gold rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands , and Latin America, who were the first to start flocking to...

 brought a flood of treasure seekers. With their sourdough bread
Sourdough
Sourdough is a dough containing a Lactobacillus culture, usually in symbiotic combination with yeasts. It is one of two principal means of biological leavening in bread baking, along with the use of cultivated forms of yeast . It is of particular importance in baking rye-based breads, where yeast...

 in tow, prospectors accumulated in San Francisco over rival Benicia
Benicia, California
Benicia is a waterside city in Solano County, California, United States. It was the first city in California to be founded by Anglo-Americans, and served as the state capital for nearly thirteen months from 1853 to 1854. The population was 26,997 at the 2010 census. The city is located in the San...

, raising the population from 1,000 in 1848 to 25,000 by December 1849. The promise of fabulous riches was so strong that crews on arriving vessels deserted and rushed off to the gold fields, leaving behind a forest of masts in San Francisco harbor. California was quickly granted statehood
Compromise of 1850
The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five bills, passed in September 1850, which defused a four-year confrontation between the slave states of the South and the free states of the North regarding the status of territories acquired during the Mexican-American War...

, and the U.S. military built Fort Point at the Golden Gate
Golden Gate
The Golden Gate is the North American strait connecting San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. Since 1937 it has been spanned by the Golden Gate Bridge...

 and a fort on Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island is an island located in the San Francisco Bay, offshore from San Francisco, California, United States. Often referred to as "The Rock" or simply "Traz", the small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison, and a Federal...

 to secure the San Francisco Bay. Silver discoveries, including the Comstock Lode
Comstock Lode
The Comstock Lode was the first major U.S. discovery of silver ore, located under what is now Virginia City, Nevada, on the eastern slope of Mount Davidson, a peak in the Virginia Range. After the discovery was made public in 1859, prospectors rushed to the area and scrambled to stake their claims...

 in 1859, further drove rapid population growth. With hordes of fortune seekers streaming through the city, lawlessness was common, and the Barbary Coast section of town gained notoriety as a haven for criminals, prostitution, and gambling.

Entrepreneurs sought to capitalize on the wealth generated by the Gold Rush. Early winners were the banking industry which saw the founding of Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company is an American multinational diversified financial services company with operations around the world. Wells Fargo is the fourth largest bank in the U.S. by assets and the largest bank by market capitalization. Wells Fargo is the second largest bank in deposits, home...

 in 1852 and the Bank of California
Bank of California
The Bank of California was opened in San Francisco, California, on July 4, 1864, by William Chapman Ralston. It was the first commercial bank in the Western United States, the second-richest bank in the nation, and considered instrumental in developing the American Old West.-History:The ancestor of...

 in 1864. Development of the Port of San Francisco
Port of San Francisco
The Port of San Francisco lies on the western edge of the San Francisco Bay near the Golden Gate. It has been called one of the three great natural harbors in the world, but it took two long centuries for navigators from Spain and England to find the anchorage originally called Yerba Buena...

 and the establishment in 1869 of overland access to the Eastern U.S. rail system via the newly completed Pacific Railroad
First Transcontinental Railroad
The First Transcontinental Railroad was a railroad line built in the United States of America between 1863 and 1869 by the Central Pacific Railroad of California and the Union Pacific Railroad that connected its statutory Eastern terminus at Council Bluffs, Iowa/Omaha, Nebraska The First...

 (the construction of which the city had only reluctantly helped support) helped make the Bay Area a center for trade. Catering to the needs and tastes of the growing population, Levi Strauss
Levi Strauss
Levi Strauss was a German-Jewish immigrant to the United States who founded the first company to manufacture blue jeans. His firm, Levi Strauss & Co., began in 1853 in San Francisco, California.-Origins:...

 opened a dry goods business and Domingo Ghirardelli
Domingo Ghirardelli
Domenico "Domingo" Ghirardelli, Sr. was born in Rapallo, Italy, the son and apprentice of a chocolatier. In 1837, Ghirardelli moved to Uruguay, then in 1838 to Lima, Peru, and established a confectionery, and began using the Spanish equivalent of his Italian name, Domingo.In 1849 he moved to...

 began manufacturing chocolate. Immigrant laborers made the city a polyglot culture, with Chinese
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

 railroad workers creating the city's Chinatown quarter. The first cable cars
San Francisco cable car system
The San Francisco cable car system is the world's last permanently operational manually operated cable car system, in the US sense of a tramway whose cars are pulled along by cables embedded in the street. It is an icon of San Francisco, California...

 carried San Franciscans up Clay Street
Clay Street Hill Railroad
The Clay Street Hill Railroad was the first successful cable hauled street railway. It was located on Clay Street, a notably steep street in San Francisco in California, and first operated in August 1873....

 in 1873. The city's sea of Victorian house
Victorian house
In the United Kingdom, and former British colonies, a Victorian house generally means any house built during the reign of Queen Victoria...

s began to take shape, and civic leaders campaigned for a spacious public park, resulting in plans for Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park, located in San Francisco, California, is a large urban park consisting of of public grounds. Configured as a rectangle, it is similar in shape but 20% larger than Central Park in New York, to which it is often compared. It is over three miles long east to west, and about half a...

. San Franciscans built schools, churches, theaters, and all the hallmarks of civic life. The Presidio
Presidio of San Francisco
The Presidio of San Francisco is a park on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula in San Francisco, California, within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area...

 developed into the most important American military installation on the Pacific coast. By the turn of the century, San Francisco was a major city known for its flamboyant style, stately hotels, ostentatious mansions on Nob Hill, and a thriving arts scene.
At 5:12 am on April 18, 1906, a major earthquake struck San Francisco
1906 San Francisco earthquake
The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 was a major earthquake that struck San Francisco, California, and the coast of Northern California at 5:12 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18, 1906. The most widely accepted estimate for the magnitude of the earthquake is a moment magnitude of 7.9; however, other...

 and northern California. As buildings collapsed from the shaking, ruptured gas lines ignited fires that would spread across the city and burn out of control for several days. With water mains out of service, the Presidio
Presidio of San Francisco
The Presidio of San Francisco is a park on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula in San Francisco, California, within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area...

 Artillery Corps attempted to contain the inferno by dynamiting blocks of buildings to create firebreaks. More than three-quarters of the city lay in ruins, including almost all of the downtown core. Contemporary accounts reported that 498 people lost their lives, though modern estimates put the number in the several thousands. More than half the city's population of 400,000 were left homeless. Refugees settled temporarily in makeshift tent villages in Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, on the beaches, and elsewhere. Many fled permanently to the East Bay
East Bay (San Francisco Bay Area)
The East Bay is a commonly used, informal term for the lands on the eastern side of the San Francisco Bay, in the San Francisco Bay Area, in California, United States...

.

Rebuilding was rapid and performed on a grand scale. Rejecting calls to completely remake the street grid, San Franciscans opted for speed. Amadeo Giannini
Amadeo Giannini
Amadeo Pietro Giannini, also known as Amadeo Peter Giannini or A.P. Giannini , born in San Jose, California, was the American founder of Bank of America.-Biography:...

's Bank of Italy
Bank of Italy (USA)
The Bank of Italy was founded in San Francisco, California, USA, in 1904 by Amadeo Giannini. It grew by a branch banking strategy to become the Bank of America, the world's largest commercial bank with 493 branches in California and assets of $5 billion in 1945....

, later to become Bank of America
Bank of America
Bank of America Corporation, an American multinational banking and financial services corporation, is the second largest bank holding company in the United States by assets, and the fourth largest bank in the U.S. by market capitalization. The bank is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina...

, provided loans for many of those whose livelihoods had been devastated. The destroyed mansions of Nob Hill became grand hotels. City Hall
San Francisco City Hall
San Francisco City Hall, re-opened in 1915, in its open space area in the city's Civic Center, is a Beaux-Arts monument to the City Beautiful movement that epitomized the high-minded American Renaissance of the 1880s to 1917. The structure's dome is the fifth largest in the world...

 rose again in splendorous Beaux Arts style, and the city celebrated its rebirth at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition
Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915)
The Panama-Pacific International Exposition was a world's fair held in San Francisco, California between February 20 and December 4 in 1915. Its ostensible purpose was to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, but it was widely seen in the city as an opportunity to showcase its recovery...

 in 1915.

In ensuing years, the city solidified its standing as a financial capital; in the wake of the 1929 stock market crash
Wall Street Crash of 1929
The Wall Street Crash of 1929 , also known as the Great Crash, and the Stock Market Crash of 1929, was the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States, taking into consideration the full extent and duration of its fallout...

, not a single San Francisco-based bank failed. Indeed, it was at the height of the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 that San Francisco undertook two great civil engineering projects, simultaneously constructing the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening of the San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean. As part of both U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1, the structure links the city of San Francisco, on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, to...

, completing them in 1936 and 1937 respectively. It was in this period that the island of Alcatraz
Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island is an island located in the San Francisco Bay, offshore from San Francisco, California, United States. Often referred to as "The Rock" or simply "Traz", the small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison, and a Federal...

, a former military stockade, began its service as a federal maximum security prison, housing notorious inmates such as Al Capone
Al Capone
Alphonse Gabriel "Al" Capone was an American gangster who led a Prohibition-era crime syndicate. The Chicago Outfit, which subsequently became known as the "Capones", was dedicated to smuggling and bootlegging liquor, and other illegal activities such as prostitution, in Chicago from the early...

, and Robert Franklin Stroud, The Birdman of Alcatraz. San Francisco later celebrated its regained grandeur with a World's Fair, the Golden Gate International Exposition
Golden Gate International Exposition
The Golden Gate International Exposition , held at San Francisco, California's Treasure Island, was a World's Fair that celebrated, among other things, the city's two newly-built bridges. The San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge was dedicated in 1936 and the Golden Gate Bridge was dedicated in 1937...

 in 1939–40, creating Treasure Island in the middle of the bay to house it.

During World War II, the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard
San Francisco Naval Shipyard
The San Francisco Naval Shipyard was a United States Navy shipyard in San Francisco, California, located on of waterfront at Hunters Point in the southeast corner of the city...

 became a hub of activity, and Fort Mason
Fort Mason
Fort Mason, once known as San Francisco Port of Embarkation, US Army, in San Francisco, California, is a former United States Army post located in the northern Marina District, alongside San Francisco Bay. Fort Mason served as an Army post for more than 100 years, initially as a coastal defense...

 became the primary port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater of Operations
Pacific Theater of Operations
The Pacific Theater of Operations was the World War II area of military activity in the Pacific Ocean and the countries bordering it, a geographic scope that reflected the operational and administrative command structures of the American forces during that period...

. The explosion of jobs drew many people, especially African Americans from the South
Second Great Migration (African American)
The Second Great Migration was the migration of more than 5 million African Americans from the South to the North, Midwest and West. It took place from 1941, through World War II, and lasted until 1970. It was much larger and of a different character than the first Great Migration...

, to the area. After the end of the war, many military personnel returning from service abroad and civilians who had originally come to work decided to stay. The UN Charter
United Nations Charter
The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the international organization called the United Nations. It was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries...

 creating the UN was drafted and signed in San Francisco in 1945 and, in 1951, the Treaty of San Francisco
Treaty of San Francisco
The Treaty of Peace with Japan , between Japan and part of the Allied Powers, was officially signed by 48 nations on September 8, 1951, at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, California...

 officially ended the war with Japan
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

.

Urban planning projects in the 1950s and 1960s involved widespread destruction and redevelopment of west-side neighborhoods and the construction of new freeways, of which only a series of short segments were built before being halted by citizen-led opposition. The Transamerica Pyramid
Transamerica Pyramid
The Transamerica Pyramid is the tallest skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline and one of its most iconic. Although the building no longer houses the headquarters of the Transamerica Corporation, it is still strongly associated with the company and is depicted in the company's logo...

 was completed in 1972, and in the 1980s the Manhattanization
Manhattanization
Manhattanization is a neologism coined to describe the construction of many tall or densely situated buildings which transforms the appearance and character of a city. It was a pejorative word used by critics of the highrise buildings built in San Francisco during the 1960s and 1970s, who claimed...

 of San Francisco saw extensive high-rise development downtown. Port activity moved to Oakland
Port of Oakland
The Port of Oakland was the first major port on the Pacific Coast of the United States to build terminals for container ships. It is now the fifth busiest container port in the United States, behind Long Beach, Los Angeles, Newark, and Savannah...

, the city began to lose industrial jobs, and San Francisco began to turn to tourism as the most important segment of its economy. The suburbs experienced rapid growth, and San Francisco underwent significant demographic change, as large segments of the white population left the city, supplanted by an increasing wave of immigration
Immigration to the United States
Immigration to the United States has been a major source of population growth and cultural change throughout much of the history of the United States. The economic, social, and political aspects of immigration have caused controversy regarding ethnicity, economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants,...

 from Asia and Latin America. Over this period, San Francisco became a magnet for America's counterculture. Beat Generation
Beat generation
The Beat Generation refers to a group of American post-WWII writers who came to prominence in the 1950s, as well as the cultural phenomena that they both documented and inspired...

 writers fueled the San Francisco Renaissance
San Francisco Renaissance
The term San Francisco Renaissance is used as a global designation for a range of poetic activity centered on San Francisco and which brought it to prominence as a hub of the American poetic avant-garde. However, others The term San Francisco Renaissance is used as a global designation for a range...

 and centered on the North Beach neighborhood in the 1950s. Hippie
Hippie
The hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The etymology of the term 'hippie' is from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into San Francisco's...

s flocked to Haight-Ashbury in the 1960s, reaching a peak with the 1967 Summer of Love
Summer of Love
The Summer of Love was a social phenomenon that occurred during the summer of 1967, when as many as 100,000 people converged on the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, creating a cultural and political rebellion...

. In the 1970s, the city became a center of the gay rights movement
LGBT social movements
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender social movements share inter-related goals of social acceptance of sexual and gender minorities. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their allies have a long history of campaigning for what is generally called LGBT rights, also called gay...

, with the emergence of The Castro as an urban gay village
Gay village
A gay village is an urban geographic location with generally recognized boundaries where a large number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people live or frequent...

, the election of Harvey Milk
Harvey Milk
Harvey Bernard Milk was an American politician who became the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors...

 to the Board of Supervisors
San Francisco Board of Supervisors
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is the legislative body within the government of the City and County of San Francisco, California, United States.-Government and politics:...

, and his assassination
Moscone-Milk assassinations
The Moscone–Milk assassinations were the killings of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, who were shot and killed in San Francisco City Hall by former Supervisor Dan White on November 27, 1978...

, along with that of Mayor George Moscone
George Moscone
George Richard Moscone was an American attorney and Democratic politician. He was the 37th mayor of San Francisco, California, US from January 1976 until his assassination in November 1978. Moscone served in the California State Senate from 1967 until becoming Mayor. In the Senate, he served as...

, in 1978.

The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake
Loma Prieta earthquake
The Loma Prieta earthquake, also known as the Quake of '89 and the World Series Earthquake, was a major earthquake that struck the San Francisco Bay Area of California on October 17, 1989, at 5:04 p.m. local time...

 caused destruction and loss of life throughout the Bay Area. In San Francisco, the quake severely damaged structures in the Marina and South of Market districts and precipitated the demolition of the damaged Embarcadero Freeway
California State Route 480
State Route 480 was a state highway in San Francisco, California, United States, consisting of the elevated double-decker Embarcadero Freeway , the partly elevated Doyle Drive approach to the Golden Gate Bridge and the proposed and unbuilt section in between. The unbuilt section from Doyle Drive to...

 and much of the damaged Central Freeway
Central Freeway
The Central Freeway is a roughly one-mile elevated freeway in San Francisco, California, United States, connecting the Bayshore/James Lick Freeway with the Hayes Valley neighborhood. Most of the freeway is part of US 101, which exits at Mission Street on the way to the Golden Gate Bridge...

, allowing the city to reclaim its historic downtown waterfront.

During the dot-com boom
Dot-com bubble
The dot-com bubble was a speculative bubble covering roughly 1995–2000 during which stock markets in industrialized nations saw their equity value rise rapidly from growth in the more...

 of the late 1990s, startup companies
Startup company
A startup company or startup is a company with a limited operating history. These companies, generally newly created, are in a phase of development and research for markets...

 invigorated the economy. Large numbers of entrepreneurs and computer application developers moved into the city, followed by marketing and sales professionals, changing the social landscape as once-poorer neighborhoods became gentrified. When the bubble burst in 2001, many of these companies folded, and their employees left, although high technology and entrepreneurship continue to be mainstays of the San Francisco economy.

Geography


San Francisco is located on the West Coast of the United States
West Coast of the United States
West Coast or Pacific Coast are terms for the westernmost coastal states of the United States. The term most often refers to the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Although not part of the contiguous United States, Alaska and Hawaii do border the Pacific Ocean but can't be included in...

 at the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula
San Francisco Peninsula
The San Francisco Peninsula is a peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area that separates the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. On its northern tip is the City and County of San Francisco. Its southern base is in Santa Clara County, including the cities of Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Mountain...

 and includes significant stretches of the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay is a shallow, productive estuary through which water draining from approximately forty percent of California, flowing in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers from the Sierra Nevada mountains, enters the Pacific Ocean...

 within its boundaries. Several islands—Alcatraz
Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island is an island located in the San Francisco Bay, offshore from San Francisco, California, United States. Often referred to as "The Rock" or simply "Traz", the small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison, and a Federal...

, Treasure Island
Treasure Island, California
Treasure Island is an artificial island in the San Francisco Bay between San Francisco and Oakland, and an emerging neighborhood of San Francisco....

, and the adjacent Yerba Buena Island
Yerba Buena Island
Yerba Buena Island sits in the San Francisco Bay between San Francisco and Oakland, California. The Yerba Buena Tunnel runs through its center and connects the western and eastern spans of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. It has had several other names over the decades: Sea Bird Island, Wood...

, and a small portion of Alameda Island
Alameda, California
Alameda is a city in Alameda County, California, United States. It is located on Alameda Island and Bay Farm Island, and is adjacent to Oakland in the San Francisco Bay. The Bay Farm Island portion of the city is adjacent to the Oakland International Airport. At the 2010 census, the city had a...

, Red Rock Island
Red Rock Island
Red Rock Island is an uninhabited, island in the San Francisco Bay located just south of the Richmond – San Rafael Bridge. The property is the only privately owned island in San Francisco Bay. The boundaries of three counties – San Francisco, Marin and Contra Costa – converge on this high rock...

, and Angel Island
Angel Island, California
Angel Island is an island in San Francisco Bay that offers expansive views of the San Francisco skyline, the Marin County Headlands and Mount Tamalpais. The entire island is included within Angel Island State Park, and is administered by California State Parks. It has been used for a variety of...

 are part of the city. Also included are the uninhabited Farallon Islands
Farallon Islands
The Farallon Islands, or Farallones , are a group of islands and sea stacks in the Gulf of the Farallones, off the coast of San Francisco, California, USA. They lie outside the Golden Gate and south of Point Reyes, and are visible from the mainland on clear days...

, 27 miles (43.5 km) offshore in the Pacific Ocean. The mainland within the city limits roughly forms a "seven-by-seven-mile square," a common local colloquialism referring to the city's shape, though its total area, including water, is nearly 232 square miles (600.9 km²).


San Francisco is famous for its hills.
There are more than 50 hills within city limits. Some neighborhoods are named after the hill on which they are situated, including Nob Hill, Pacific Heights, and Russian Hill.
Near the geographic center of the city, southwest of the downtown area, are a series of less densely populated hills. Twin Peaks, a pair of hills resting at one of the city's highest points, forms a popular overlook spot. San Francisco's tallest hill, Mount Davidson, is 925 feet (282 m) high and is capped with a 103 feet (31 m) tall cross built in 1934. Dominating this area is Sutro Tower
Sutro Tower
Sutro Tower is a three-pronged antenna tower near Clarendon Heights in San Francisco, California. Rising from a hill between Twin Peaks and Mount Sutro, it is a prominent part of the city skyline and a landmark for city residents and visitors...

, a large red and white radio and television transmission tower.

The nearby San Andreas
San Andreas Fault
The San Andreas Fault is a continental strike-slip fault that runs a length of roughly through California in the United States. The fault's motion is right-lateral strike-slip...

 and Hayward Faults are responsible for much earthquake activity, although neither physically passes through the city itself. The San Andreas Fault caused the earthquakes in 1906 and 1989. Minor earthquakes occur on a regular basis. The threat of major earthquakes plays a large role in the city's infrastructure development. The city has repeatedly upgraded its building codes, requiring retrofits for older buildings and higher engineering standards for new construction. However, there are still thousands of smaller buildings that remain vulnerable to quake damage.

San Francisco's shoreline has grown beyond its natural limits. Entire neighborhoods such as the Marina and Hunters Point, as well as large sections of the Embarcadero
The Embarcadero (San Francisco)
The Embarcadero is the eastern waterfront and roadway of the Port of San Francisco, San Francisco, California, along San Francisco Bay, constructed atop an engineered seawall on reclaimed land, and derives its name from the Spanish verb embarcar, meaning "to embark"...

, sit on areas of landfill. Treasure Island
Treasure Island, California
Treasure Island is an artificial island in the San Francisco Bay between San Francisco and Oakland, and an emerging neighborhood of San Francisco....

 was constructed from material dredged from the bay as well as material resulting from tunneling through Yerba Buena Island during the construction of the Bay Bridge. Such land tends to be unstable during earthquakes; the resultant liquefaction causes extensive damage to property built upon it, as was evidenced in the Marina district during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

Climate



A popular quote incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

 is "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." San Francisco's climate is characteristic of the cool-summer Mediterranean climate
Mediterranean climate
A Mediterranean climate is the climate typical of most of the lands in the Mediterranean Basin, and is a particular variety of subtropical climate...

 of California’s coast, "generally characterized by moist mild winters and dry summers." Since it is surrounded on three sides by water, San Francisco's weather is strongly influenced by the cool currents
California Current
The California Current is a Pacific Ocean current that moves south along the western coast of North America, beginning off southern British Columbia, and ending off southern Baja California. There are five major coastal currents affiliated with upwelling zones...

 of the Pacific Ocean, which moderates temperature swings and produces a remarkably mild year-round climate with little seasonal temperature variation.

Among major U.S. cities, San Francisco has the coldest daily mean, maximum, and minimum temperatures for June, July and August.
During the summer, rising hot air in California's interior valleys creates a low pressure area that draws winds from the North Pacific High
North Pacific High
The North Pacific High is a semi-permanent, subtropical anticyclone located in the north east of the Pacific Ocean north east of Hawaii. It is strongest during the northern hemisphere summer, and shifts towards the equator during the winter when the Aleutian Low becomes more active....

 through the Golden Gate, which creates the city's characteristic cool winds and fog
San Francisco fog generation
The fog of San Francisco Bay is a specific type of fog. It is a sea fog identified as advection fog, which is characterized by the lateral transfer of temperature by wind blowing over cooler water. In circumstances such as these, often, the water is cool enough to lower the temperature of the air...

. The fog is less pronounced in eastern neighborhoods and during the late summer and early fall, which is the warmest time of the year.

Because of its sharp topography and maritime influences, San Francisco exhibits a multitude of distinct microclimate
Microclimate
A microclimate is a local atmospheric zone where the climate differs from the surrounding area. The term may refer to areas as small as a few square feet or as large as many square miles...

s. The high hills in the geographic center of the city are responsible for a 20% variance in annual rainfall between different parts of the city. They also protect neighborhoods directly to their east from the foggy and sometimes very cold and windy conditions experienced in the Sunset District; for those who live on the eastern side of the city, San Francisco is sunnier, with an average of 260 clear days, and only 105 cloudy days per year.

Temperatures exceed 75 °F (23.9 °C) on average only 28 days a year. The dry period of May to October is mild to warm, with average high temperatures of 64 – and lows of 51 –. The rainy period of November to April is slightly cooler with high temperatures of 58 – and lows of 46 –. On average, there are 67 rainy days a year, and annual precipitation averages 20.4 inches (518.16 mm). Snow is extraordinarily rare, with only 10 instances recorded since 1852, most recently in 1976.

The highest recorded temperature at the official National Weather Service
National Weather Service
The National Weather Service , once known as the Weather Bureau, is one of the six scientific agencies that make up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States government...

 office was 103 °F (39.4 °C) on July 17, 1988, and June 14, 2000. The lowest recorded temperature was 27 °F (-2.8 °C) on December 11, 1932. The U.S. National Weather Service
National Weather Service
The National Weather Service , once known as the Weather Bureau, is one of the six scientific agencies that make up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States government...

 provides a helpful visual aid graphing the information in the table below to display visually by month the annual typical temperatures, the past year's temperatures, and record temperatures.

Cityscape



Neighborhoods



The historic center of San Francisco is the northeast quadrant of the city bordered by Market Street
Market Street (San Francisco)
Market Street is an important thoroughfare in San Francisco, California. It begins at The Embarcadero in front of the Ferry Building at the northeastern edge of the city and runs southwest through downtown, passing the Civic Center and the Castro District, to the intersection with Corbett Avenue in...

 to the south. It is here that the Financial District is centered, with Union Square, the principal shopping and hotel district, nearby. Cable cars
Cable car (railway)
A cable car or cable railway is a mass transit system using rail cars that are hauled by a continuously moving cable running at a constant speed. Individual cars stop and start by releasing and gripping this cable as required...

 carry riders up steep inclines to the summit of Nob Hill, once the home of the city's business tycoons, and down to Fisherman's Wharf, a tourist area featuring Dungeness crab
Dungeness crab
The Dungeness crab, Metacarcinus magister , is a species of crab that inhabits eelgrass beds and water bottoms on the west coast of North America. It typically grows to across the carapace and is a popular seafood...

 from a still-active fishing industry. Also in this quadrant are Russian Hill, a residential neighborhood with the famously crooked Lombard Street
Lombard Street (San Francisco)
Lombard Street is an east–west street in San Francisco, California. It is famous for having a steep, one-block section that consists of eight tight hairpin turns.-Route description:...

, North Beach, the city's Little Italy, and Telegraph Hill
Telegraph Hill, San Francisco
Telegraph Hill refers to a neighborhood in San Francisco, California. It is one of San Francisco's 44 hills, and one of its original "Seven Hills."-Location:...

, which features Coit Tower
Coit Tower
Coit Tower is a tower in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, California. The tower, in the city's Pioneer Park, was built in 1933 at the request of Lillie Hitchcock Coit to beautify the city of San Francisco; Coit bequeathed one-third of her estate to the city "to be expended in an...

. Nearby is San Francisco's Chinatown, established in the 1840s.

The Mission District was populated in the 19th century by Californio
Californio
Californio is a term used to identify a Spanish-speaking Catholic people, regardless of race, born in California before 1848...

s and working-class immigrants from Germany, Ireland, Italy and Scandinavia. In the 1910s, a wave of Central American immigrants settled in the Mission and, in the 1950s, immigrants from Mexico
Mexican American
Mexican Americans are Americans of Mexican descent. As of July 2009, Mexican Americans make up 10.3% of the United States' population with over 31,689,000 Americans listed as of Mexican ancestry. Mexican Americans comprise 66% of all Hispanics and Latinos in the United States...

 began to predominate. In recent years rapid gentrification has spread, primarily along the Valencia Street corridor, which is strongly associated with modern hipster
Hipster (contemporary subculture)
Hipsters are a subculture of young, recently settled urban middle class adults and older teenagers with musical interests mainly in alternative rock that appeared in the 1990s...

 sub-culture. Haight-Ashbury, famously associated with 1960s hippie
Hippie
The hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The etymology of the term 'hippie' is from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into San Francisco's...

 culture, later became home to expensive boutiques and a few controversial chain stores, although it still retains some bohemian
Bohemianism
Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic or literary pursuits...

 character. Historically known as Eureka Valley, the area now popularly called the Castro is the center of gay
Homosexuality
Homosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction or behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions" primarily or exclusively to people of the same...

 life in the city.

The city's Japantown district suffered when its Japanese American
Japanese American
are American people of Japanese heritage. Japanese Americans have historically been among the three largest Asian American communities, but in recent decades have become the sixth largest group at roughly 1,204,205, including those of mixed-race or mixed-ethnicity...

 residents were forcibly removed and interned
Japanese American internment
Japanese-American internment was the relocation and internment by the United States government in 1942 of approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese who lived along the Pacific coast of the United States to camps called "War Relocation Camps," in the wake of Imperial Japan's attack on...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The nearby Western Addition became established with a large African American population at the same time. The "Painted Ladies
Painted ladies
"Painted ladies" is a term used for Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings painted in three or more colors that embellish or enhance their architectural details. The term was first used for San Francisco Victorian houses by writers Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen in their 1978 book...

", a row of well-restored Victorian homes
Victorian house
In the United Kingdom, and former British colonies, a Victorian house generally means any house built during the reign of Queen Victoria...

, stand alongside Alamo Square
Alamo Square
Alamo Square is a residential neighborhood and park in San Francisco, California, in the Western Addition, a district of the city's fifth Supervisorial district, and are served by several Muni bus lines including the 5, 21, 22, and 24...

, and the mansions built by the San Francisco business elite in the wake of the 1906 earthquake
1906 San Francisco earthquake
The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 was a major earthquake that struck San Francisco, California, and the coast of Northern California at 5:12 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18, 1906. The most widely accepted estimate for the magnitude of the earthquake is a moment magnitude of 7.9; however, other...

 can be found in Pacific Heights. The Marina to the north is a lively area with many young urban professionals.

The Richmond, the vast region north of Golden Gate Park that extends to the Pacific Ocean, has a portion called "New Chinatown" but is also home to immigrants from other parts of Asia and Russia. South of Golden Gate Park lies the Sunset with a predominantly Asian population. The Richmond and the Sunset are largely middle class and, together, are known as The Avenues. These two districts are each sometimes further divided into two regions: the Outer Richmond and Outer Sunset can refer to the more Western portions of their respective district and the Inner Richmond and Inner Sunset can refer to the more Eastern portions. Bayview-Hunters Point in the southeast section of the city is one of the poorest neighborhoods and suffers from a high rate of crime, though the area has been the focus of controversial plans for urban renewal
Urban renewal
Urban renewal is a program of land redevelopment in areas of moderate to high density urban land use. Renewal has had both successes and failures. Its modern incarnation began in the late 19th century in developed nations and experienced an intense phase in the late 1940s – under the rubric of...

.

The South of Market, once filled with decaying remnants of San Francisco's industrial past, has seen significant redevelopment. The locus of the dot-com boom
Dot-com bubble
The dot-com bubble was a speculative bubble covering roughly 1995–2000 during which stock markets in industrialized nations saw their equity value rise rapidly from growth in the more...

 during the late 1990s, by 2004 South of Market began to see skyscrapers and condominiums dot the area (see Manhattanization
Manhattanization
Manhattanization is a neologism coined to describe the construction of many tall or densely situated buildings which transforms the appearance and character of a city. It was a pejorative word used by critics of the highrise buildings built in San Francisco during the 1960s and 1970s, who claimed...

). Following the success of nearby South Beach, another neighborhood, Mission Bay, underwent redevelopment, anchored by a second campus of the University of California, San Francisco
University of California, San Francisco
The University of California, San Francisco is one of the world's leading centers of health sciences research, patient care, and education. UCSF's medical, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing, and graduate schools are among the top health science professional schools in the world...

. Just southwest of Mission Bay is the Potrero Hill neighborhood featuring sweeping views of downtown San Francisco.

Beaches and parks




Several of San Francisco's parks and nearly all of its beaches form part of the regional Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is a U.S. National Recreation Area administered by the National Park Service that surrounds the San Francisco Bay area. It is one of the most visited units of the National Park system in the United States, with over 13 million visitors a year...

, one of the most visited units of the National Park system
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

 in the United States with over 13 million visitors a year. Among the GGNRA's attractions within the city are Ocean Beach, which runs along the Pacific Ocean shoreline and is frequented by a vibrant surfing
Surfing
Surfing' is a surface water sport in which the surfer rides a surfboard on the crest and face of a wave which is carrying the surfer towards the shore...

 community, and Baker Beach
Baker Beach
Baker Beach is a public beach on the peninsula of San Francisco, California, U.S.. The beach lies on the shore of the Pacific Ocean to the northwest of the city...

, which is located in a cove west of the Golden Gate and part of the Presidio
Presidio of San Francisco
The Presidio of San Francisco is a park on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula in San Francisco, California, within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area...

, a former military base. Also within the Presidio is Crissy Field
Crissy Field
Crissy Field is a former airfield, now a part of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in San Francisco, California, United States. Historically a part of the Presidio of San Francisco, Crissy Field was closed as an airfield and eventually the National Park Service took control over it...

, a former airfield that was restored to its natural salt marsh
Salt marsh
A salt marsh is an environment in the upper coastal intertidal zone between land and salt water or brackish water, it is dominated by dense stands of halophytic plants such as herbs, grasses, or low shrubs. These plants are terrestrial in origin and are essential to the stability of the salt marsh...

 ecosystem
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

. The GGNRA also administers Fort Funston
Fort Funston
Fort Funston is a protected area within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area at the southwestern corner of San Francisco. It occupies windswept headlands along the Pacific coast, steep cliffs and the beach below...

, Lands End
Lands End, San Francisco
Lands End is a park in San Francisco within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It is a rocky and windswept shoreline at the mouth of the Golden Gate, situated between the Sutro District and Lincoln Park and abutting Fort Miley Military Reservation. A memorial to the USS San Francisco...

, Fort Mason
Fort Mason
Fort Mason, once known as San Francisco Port of Embarkation, US Army, in San Francisco, California, is a former United States Army post located in the northern Marina District, alongside San Francisco Bay. Fort Mason served as an Army post for more than 100 years, initially as a coastal defense...

, and Alcatraz. The National Park Service separately administers the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is located in San Francisco, California, USA. The park includes a fleet of historic vessels, a visitor center, a maritime museum, and a library/research facility...

 – a fleet of historic ships and waterfront property around Aquatic Park
Aquatic Park Historic District
Aquatic Park Historic District is a building complex on the San Francisco Bay waterfront in San Francisco, California, United States. It is located within San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and is itself a National Historic Landmark....

.

There are more than 200 parks maintained by the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. The largest and best-known city park is Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park, located in San Francisco, California, is a large urban park consisting of of public grounds. Configured as a rectangle, it is similar in shape but 20% larger than Central Park in New York, to which it is often compared. It is over three miles long east to west, and about half a...

, which stretches from the center of the city west to the Pacific Ocean. Once covered in native grasses and sand dunes, the park was conceived in the 1860s and was created by the extensive planting of thousands of non-native trees and plants. The large park is rich with cultural and natural attractions such as the Conservatory of Flowers
Conservatory of Flowers
The Conservatory of Flowers is a greenhouse and botanical garden that houses a collection of rare and exotic plants in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California. With construction completed in 1878, it remains the oldest building in the park, and the oldest municipal wooden conservatory remaining...

, Japanese Tea Garden
Japanese tea garden at Golden Gate Park
The Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco, California, is a popular feature of Golden Gate Park, originally built as part of a sprawling World's Fair, the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894...

 and San Francisco Botanical Garden
San Francisco Botanical Garden
The San Francisco Botanical Garden is a large botanical garden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Its 55 acres include over 50,000 individual plants, representing over 8,000 taxa from around the world, with particular focus on Magnolia species, high elevation palms, and cloud forest species...

. Lake Merced
Lake Merced
Lake Merced is a freshwater lake in the southwest corner of San Francisco. It is surrounded by three golf courses , as well as residential areas, Lowell High School, San Francisco State University, Fort Funston and the Pacific Ocean...

 is a fresh-water lake surrounded by parkland and near the San Francisco Zoo
San Francisco Zoo
The San Francisco Zoo, housing more than 260 animal species, is a zoo located in the southwestern corner of San Francisco, California, between Lake Merced and the Pacific Ocean along the Great Highway...

, a city-owned park that houses more than 250 animal species, many of which are designated as endangered. The only park managed by the California State Park
California Department of Parks and Recreation
The California Department of Parks and Recreation, also known as California State Parks, manages the California state parks system. The system administers 278 parks and 1.4 million acres , with over of coastline; of lake and river frontage; nearly 15,000 campsites; and of hiking, biking, and...

 system located principally in San Francisco, Candlestick Point
Candlestick Point State Recreation Area
Candlestick Point State Recreation Area is a state park unit of California, USA, providing an urban protected area on San Francisco Bay. The park is located at the southeastern tip of San Francisco immediately south of Hunters Point and north of Sierra Point in Brisbane...

 was the state's first urban recreation area.

Culture and contemporary life


In recent years, the wealth resulting from the IT
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

 boom from the nearby Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley is a term which refers to the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California in the United States. The region is home to many of the world's largest technology corporations...

, as well as from the recent Dot-Com booms
Dot-com bubble
The dot-com bubble was a speculative bubble covering roughly 1995–2000 during which stock markets in industrialized nations saw their equity value rise rapidly from growth in the more...

 has created a high standard of living in San Francisco, attracting white-collar worker
White-collar worker
The term white-collar worker refers to a person who performs professional, managerial, or administrative work, in contrast with a blue-collar worker, whose job requires manual labor...

s to San Francisco from all over the world. Many neighborhoods that were once blue-collar, middle, and lower class have been gentrifying
Gentrification
Gentrification and urban gentrification refer to the changes that result when wealthier people acquire or rent property in low income and working class communities. Urban gentrification is associated with movement. Consequent to gentrification, the average income increases and average family size...

, as many of the city's traditional business and industrial districts have experienced a renaissance driven by the redevelopment of the Embarcadero
The Embarcadero (San Francisco)
The Embarcadero is the eastern waterfront and roadway of the Port of San Francisco, San Francisco, California, along San Francisco Bay, constructed atop an engineered seawall on reclaimed land, and derives its name from the Spanish verb embarcar, meaning "to embark"...

, including the neighborhoods South Beach and Mission Bay. The city's property values and household income have risen to among the highest in the nation, creating a large, and upscale restaurant, retail, and entertainment scene. According to a 2008 quality of life survey of global cities, San Francisco has the second highest quality of living of any U.S. city. Due to the exceptionally high cost of living, many of the city's middle and lower class families have been leaving the city for the outer suburbs of the Bay Area, or for California's Central Valley.

Although the centralized commerce and shopping districts of the Financial District and the area around Union Square are well-known around the world, San Francisco is also characterized by its culturally rich streetscapes featuring mixed-use
Mixed-use development
Mixed-use development is the use of a building, set of buildings, or neighborhood for more than one purpose. Since the 1920s, zoning in some countries has required uses to be separated. However, when jobs, housing, and commercial activities are located close together, a community's transportation...

 neighborhoods anchored around central commercial corridors to which residents and visitors alike can walk. Because of these characteristics, San Francisco was rated "most walkable" city by the website Walkscore.com. Many neighborhoods feature a mix of businesses, restaurants and venues that cater to both the daily needs of local residents while also serving many visitors and tourists. Some neighborhoods are dotted with boutiques, cafes and nightlife such as Union Street in Cow Hollow, and 24th Street in Noe Valley. Others are less so, such as Irving Street in the Sunset, or Mission Street in the Mission. This approach especially has influenced the continuing South of Market neighborhood redevelopment with businesses and neighborhood services rising alongside high-rise residences.

The international character San Francisco has fostered since its founding is continued today by large numbers of immigrants from Asia and Latin America. With 39% of its residents born overseas, San Francisco has numerous neighborhoods filled with businesses and civic institutions catering to new arrivals. In particular, the arrival of many ethnic Chinese, which accelerated beginning in the 1970s, has complemented the long-established community historically based in Chinatown throughout the city and has transformed the annual Chinese New Year Parade
San Francisco Chinese New Year Festival and Parade
The San Francisco Chinese New Year Festival and Parade is an annual event held in San Francisco. Held approximately two weeks following the first day of the Chinese New Year, it combines elements of the Chinese Lantern Festival with a typical American parade...

 into the largest event of its kind outside China.

Following the arrival of the "beat"
Beat generation
The Beat Generation refers to a group of American post-WWII writers who came to prominence in the 1950s, as well as the cultural phenomena that they both documented and inspired...

 writers and artists of the 1950s, to the societal changes that culminated with the Summer of Love
Summer of Love
The Summer of Love was a social phenomenon that occurred during the summer of 1967, when as many as 100,000 people converged on the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, creating a cultural and political rebellion...

 in the Haight-Ashbury district during the 1960s, San Francisco became an epicenter of liberal activism, with Democrats
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 and Greens
Green Party (United States)
The Green Party of the United States is a nationally recognized political party which officially formed in 1991. It is a voluntary association of state green parties. Prior to national formation, many state affiliates had already formed and were recognized by other state parties...

 dominating city politics. San Francisco has not voted more than 20% for a Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 presidential or senatorial candidate since 1988
United States presidential election, 1988
The United States presidential election of 1988 featured no incumbent president, as President Ronald Reagan was unable to seek re-election after serving the maximum two terms allowed by the Twenty-second Amendment. Reagan's Vice President, George H. W. Bush, won the Republican nomination, while the...

. In 2007, the city expanded its Medicaid
Medicaid
Medicaid is the United States health program for certain people and families with low incomes and resources. It is a means-tested program that is jointly funded by the state and federal governments, and is managed by the states. People served by Medicaid are U.S. citizens or legal permanent...

 and other indigent medical programs into the "Healthy San Francisco
Healthy San Francisco
Healthy San Francisco is a program to subsidize medical care for certain uninsured residents of San Francisco. The program's stated objective is to bring universal health care to the city, but eligibility and services are limited, and the program website states that insurance "is always a better...

" program, which subsidizes
Subsidy
A subsidy is an assistance paid to a business or economic sector. Most subsidies are made by the government to producers or distributors in an industry to prevent the decline of that industry or an increase in the prices of its products or simply to encourage it to hire more labor A subsidy (also...

 certain medical services for eligible residents.

The city's large gay population has created and sustained a politically and culturally active community over many decades, developing a powerful presence in San Francisco's civic life. One of the most popular destinations for gay tourists internationally, the city hosts San Francisco Pride
San Francisco Pride
The San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration, usually known as San Francisco Pride, is a parade and festival held in June each year in San Francisco to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their allies...

, one of the largest and oldest pride parades.

Public nudity is legal so long as the individual is not sexually aroused and places a towel on their seat.

Entertainment and performing arts



San Francisco's War Memorial and Performing Arts Center
San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center
The San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center is located in San Francisco, California, and is one of the largest performing arts centers in the United States. It covers three hectares in San Francisco's Civic Center Historic District with 7,500 seats in its several venues...

 hosts some of the most enduring performing-arts companies in the U.S. The War Memorial Opera House houses the San Francisco Opera
San Francisco Opera
San Francisco Opera is an American opera company, based in San Francisco, California.It was founded in 1923 by Gaetano Merola and is the second largest opera company in North America...

, the second-largest opera company in North America as well as the San Francisco Ballet
San Francisco Ballet
The San Francisco Ballet is a ballet company, founded in 1933 as the San Francisco Opera Ballet. The company is currently based in the War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, under the direction of Helgi Tomasson. SFB is the first professional ballet company in the United States...

, while the San Francisco Symphony
San Francisco Symphony
The San Francisco Symphony is an orchestra based in San Francisco, California. Since 1980, the orchestra has performed at the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall. The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus are part of the organization...

 plays in Davies Symphony Hall
Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall
Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, the concert hall component of the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, was built in 1980 at a cost of US$28 million to give the San Francisco Symphony a permanent home. The hall has a seating capacity of 2743 persons...

. The Herbst Theatre
Herbst Theatre
The Herbst Theatre is an auditorium in the War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in Civic Center in San Francisco, United States. The 928-seat hall hosts programs as diverse as City Arts & Lectures, SF Jazz, and San Francisco Performances....

 stages an eclectic mix of music performances, as well as public radio's City Arts & Lectures
City Arts & Lectures
City Arts & Lectures produces onstage conversation at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. Founded by Sydney Goldstein in 1980, City Arts & Lectures produces more than fifty live events a year and records most events for edited and delayed broadcast on public radio...

.


The Fillmore
The Fillmore
The Fillmore Auditorium is a historic music venue in San Francisco, California, made famous by Bill Graham. Named for its original location at the intersection of Fillmore Street and Geary Boulevard, it lies on the boundary of the Western Addition and the Pacific Heights neighborhoods.In 1968,...

 is a music venue located in the Western Addition. It is the second incarnation of the historic venue that gained fame in the 1960s under concert promoter Bill Graham
Bill Graham (promoter)
Bill Graham was an American impresario and rock concert promoter from the 1960s until his death.-Early life:...

, housing the stage where now-famous musicians such as the Grateful Dead
Grateful Dead
The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The band was known for its unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, country, improvisational jazz, psychedelia, and space rock, and for live performances of long...

, Janis Joplin
Janis Joplin
Janis Lyn Joplin was an American singer, songwriter, painter, dancer and music arranger. She rose to prominence in the late 1960s as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company and later as a solo artist with her backing groups, The Kozmic Blues Band and The Full Tilt Boogie Band...

, Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, active in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Formed in 1968, they consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham...

 and Jefferson Airplane
Jefferson Airplane
Jefferson Airplane was an American rock band formed in San Francisco in 1965. A pioneer of the psychedelic rock movement, Jefferson Airplane was the first band from the San Francisco scene to achieve mainstream commercial and critical success....

 first performed, fostering the San Francisco Sound
San Francisco Sound
The San Francisco Sound refers to rock music performed live and recorded by San Francisco-based rock groups of the mid 1960s to early 1970s. It was associated with the counterculture community in San Francisco during these years.- Stylistic Dimensions :...

. Beach Blanket Babylon
Beach Blanket Babylon
Steve Silver's Beach Blanket Babylon is America's longest-running musical revue. The show began its run in 1974, at Club Savoy Tivoli and has since moved to the larger Club Fugazi in the North Beach district of San Francisco...

is a zany musical revue and a civic institution that has performed to sold-out crowds in North Beach since 1974.

The American Conservatory Theater
American Conservatory Theater
American Conservatory Theater is a large non-profit theater company in San Francisco, California, that offers both classical and contemporary theater productions. A.C.T. was founded in 1965 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Playhouse and Carnegie Tech by theatre and...

 (A.C.T.) has been a force in Bay Area performing arts since its arrival in San Francisco in 1967, regularly staging productions. San Francisco frequently hosts national touring productions of Broadway theatre shows in a number of vintage 1920s-era venues in the Theater District including the Curran, Orpheum, and Golden Gate Theatres.

Museums


The Museum of Modern Art
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a modern art museum located in San Francisco, California. A nonprofit organization, SFMOMA holds an internationally recognized collection of modern and contemporary art and was the first museum on the West Coast devoted solely to 20th century art...

 (SFMOMA) houses 20th century and contemporary works of art. It moved to its current building in the South of Market neighborhood in 1995 and now attracts more than 600,000 visitors annually. The Palace of the Legion of Honor
California Palace of the Legion of Honor
The California Palace of the Legion of Honor is a fine art museum in San Francisco, California...

 holds primarily European antiquities and works of art at its Lincoln Park
Lincoln Park (San Francisco)
Lincoln Park in San Francisco, California, was dedicated to President Abraham Lincoln in 1909 and includes about of the northwestern corner of the San Francisco Peninsula....

 building modeled after its Parisian namesake
Palais de la Légion d'Honneur
The Palais de la Légion d'Honneur is the building on the west bank of the River Seine in Paris that houses the Musée national de la Légion d'Honneur et des Ordres de Chevalerie and is the seat of the Légion d'honneur, the highest order of chivalry of France...

. It is administered by Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, comprising the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in Golden Gate Park and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, is the largest public arts institution in the city of San Francisco and one of the largest art museums in California.-External...

, which also operates the de Young Museum
M. H. de Young Memorial Museum
The M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, commonly called simply the de Young Museum, is a fine arts museum located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. It is named for early San Francisco newspaperman M. H...

 in Golden Gate Park. The de Young's collection features American decorative pieces and anthropological holdings from Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Prior to construction of its current copper-clad structure, completed in 2005, the de Young also housed the Asian Art Museum
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco is a museum in San Francisco, California, United States. It has one of the most comprehensive collections of Asian art in the world....

, which, with artifacts from over 6,000 years of history across Asia, moved into the former public library
San Francisco Public Library
The San Francisco Public Library is a public library system serving the city of San Francisco. Its main library is located in San Francisco's Civic Center, at 100 Larkin Street at Grove. The first public library of San Francisco officially opened in 1879, just 30 years after the California Gold...

 next to Civic Center in 2003.

Opposite the Music Concourse
Music Concourse
The Music Concourse is an open-air plaza within San Francisco's Golden Gate Park originally excavated for the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894. After the fair, it underwent a significant redesign in order to be repurposed as a venue for public gatherings centered around music...

 from the de Young stands the California Academy of Sciences
California Academy of Sciences
The California Academy of Sciences is among the largest museums of natural history in the world. The academy began in 1853 as a learned society and still carries out a large amount of original research, with exhibits and education becoming significant endeavors of the museum during the twentieth...

, a natural history
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

 museum that also hosts the Morrison Planetarium and Steinhart Aquarium. Its current structure, featuring a living roof, is an example of sustainable architecture
Sustainable architecture
Sustainable architecture is a general term that describes environmentally conscious design techniques in the field of architecture. Sustainable architecture is framed by the larger discussion of sustainability and the pressing economic and political issues of our world...

 and opened in 2008. The Palace of Fine Arts
Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of San Francisco, California, is a monumental structure originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in order to exhibit works of art presented there. One of only a few surviving structures from the Exposition, it is the only one still...

, built originally for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition
Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915)
The Panama-Pacific International Exposition was a world's fair held in San Francisco, California between February 20 and December 4 in 1915. Its ostensible purpose was to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, but it was widely seen in the city as an opportunity to showcase its recovery...

, has since 1969 housed the Exploratorium
Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is a museum in San Francisco with over 475 participatory exhibits, all of them made onsite, that mix science and art. It also aims to promote museums as informal education centers....

, an interactive science museum.

Media



The major daily newspaper in San Francisco is the San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
thumb|right|upright|The Chronicle Building following the [[1906 San Francisco earthquake|1906 earthquake]] and fireThe San Francisco Chronicle is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California, but distributed throughout Northern and Central California,...

, which is currently Northern California's most widely circulated newspaper. The Chronicle is most famous for a former columnist, the late Herb Caen
Herb Caen
Herbert Eugene Caen was a Pulitzer Prize-winning San Francisco journalistwhose daily column of local goings-on, social and political happenings,...

, whose daily musings attracted critical acclaim and represented the "voice of San Francisco". The San Francisco Examiner, once the cornerstone of William Randolph Hearst
William Randolph Hearst
William Randolph Hearst was an American business magnate and leading newspaper publisher. Hearst entered the publishing business in 1887, after taking control of The San Francisco Examiner from his father...

's media empire and the home of Ambrose Bierce
Ambrose Bierce
Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist...

, declined in circulation over the years and now takes the form of a free daily tabloid. Sing Tao Daily
Sing Tao Daily
The Sing Tao Daily is Hong Kong's second largest Chinese language newspaper. It is owned by Sing Tao News Corporation Limited, of which Charles Ho Tsu Kwok is the chairman. Its English language sister paper is The Standard...

claims to be the largest of several Chinese language dailies that serve the Bay Area. Alternative weekly
Alternative weekly
An alternative newspaper is a type of newspaper, that eschews comprehensive coverage of general news in favor of stylized reporting, opinionated reviews and columns, investigations into edgy topics and magazine-style feature stories highlighting local people and culture. Their news coverage is more...

 newspapers include the San Francisco Bay Guardian
San Francisco Bay Guardian
The San Francisco Bay Guardian is a free alternative newspaper published weekly in San Francisco, California. The paper is owned mostly by its publisher, Bruce B...

and SF Weekly
SF Weekly
SF Weekly is a free alternative weekly newspaper in San Francisco, California. The newspaper, distributed throughout the San Francisco Bay Area every Wednesday, is published by Village Voice Media, a 16-paper alt weekly newspaper chain that also includes the New York City Village Voice and the Los...

. San Francisco Magazine and 7x7
7x7 Magazine
7x7 is a city-living-focused fashion, lifestyle, food, culture, opinion and entertainment digital, print, mobile and events platform. 7x7 covers San Francisco, Seattle and Portland....

are major glossy magazines about San Francisco. The national newsmagazine Mother Jones
Mother Jones (magazine)
Mother Jones is an American independent news organization, featuring investigative and breaking news reporting on politics, the environment, human rights, and culture. Mother Jones has been nominated for 23 National Magazine Awards and has won six times, including for General Excellence in 2001,...

is also based in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Bay Area is the sixth-largest TV market and the fourth-largest radio market in the U.S. The city's oldest radio station, KCBS (AM)
KCBS (AM)
KCBS is an all-news radio station in San Francisco, California, that is a key West Coast flagship radio station of the CBS Radio Network and Westwood One. Its transmitter is located in Novato, California. KCBS currently has studios on Battery Street, where it shares the location with co-owned KPIX...

, began as an experimental station in San Jose in 1909. KALW
KALW
KALW is a public radio station based in San Francisco, California. Its HD FM radio signal is broadcast over the immediate San Francisco Bay Area at 91.7 MHz, and is webcast with live streaming audio.-Background:...

 was the city's first FM radio station when it signed on the air in 1941. All major U.S. television networks have affiliates serving the region, with most of them based in the city. There also are several unaffiliated stations, and BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

, CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 and ESPN
ESPN
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, commonly known as ESPN, is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and pre-taped event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming....

 have regional news bureaus in San Francisco. The city's first television station was KPIX, which began broadcasting in 1948.

Public broadcasting
Public broadcasting
Public broadcasting includes radio, television and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is public service. Public broadcasters receive funding from diverse sources including license fees, individual contributions, public financing and commercial financing.Public broadcasting may be...

 outlets include both a television station and a radio station
KQED-FM
KQED-FM is an NPR-member radio station owned by Northern California Public Broadcasting in San Francisco, California.KQED-FM was founded by James Day in 1969 as the radio arm of KQED Television. The founding manager was Bernard Mayes who later went on to be Executive Vice-President of KQED TV and...

, both broadcasting under the call letters KQED from a facility near the Potrero Hill neighborhood. KQED-FM is the most-listened-to National Public Radio affiliate in the country. San Francisco–based CNET and Salon.com
Salon.com
Salon.com, part of Salon Media Group , often just called Salon, is an online liberal magazine, with content updated each weekday. Salon was founded by David Talbot and launched on November 20, 1995. It was the internet's first online-only commercial publication. The magazine focuses on U.S...

 pioneered the use of the Internet as a media outlet.

Sports and recreation



The San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers are a professional American football team based in San Francisco, California, playing in the West Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League . The team was founded in 1946 as a charter member of the All-America Football Conference and...

 of the National Football League
National Football League
The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

 (NFL) are the longest-tenured major professional sports franchise in the city. The team began play in 1946 as an All-America Football Conference
All-America Football Conference
The All-America Football Conference was a professional American football league that challenged the established National Football League from 1946 to 1949. One of the NFL's most formidable challengers, the AAFC attracted many of the nation's best players, and introduced many lasting innovations...

 (AAFC) league charter member, moved to the NFL in 1950 and into Candlestick Park in 1971. The 49ers won five Super Bowl
Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is the championship game of the National Football League , the highest level of professional American football in the United States, culminating a season that begins in the late summer of the previous calendar year. The Super Bowl uses Roman numerals to identify each game, rather...

 titles in the 1980s and 1990s behind coaches Bill Walsh and George Seifert
George Seifert
George Seifert is a former NFL head coach of the San Francisco 49ers and the Carolina Panthers. Seifert joined the 49ers' coaching staff under Bill Walsh in 1980 as defensive backs coach and served as the team's defensive coordinator from 1983–1988.As a 49er assistant, his defenses finished...

, and stars such as Joe Montana
Joe Montana
Joseph Clifford "Joe" Montana, Jr. , nicknamed Joe Cool, Golden Joe, The Golden Great and Comeback Joe, is a retired American football player. Montana started his NFL career in 1979 with the San Francisco 49ers, where he played quarterback for the next 14 seasons...

, Steve Young
Steve Young (athlete)
Jon Steven "Steve" Young is a former American football quarterback, best known for his time with the NFL's San Francisco 49ers. He also played for the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Express of the United States Football League...

, Ronnie Lott
Ronnie Lott
Ronald Mandel "Ronnie" Lott is a former American football player who starred as a cornerback, free safety, and strong safety in college football and the NFL. He is most well known for his crushing hits on opposing players...

, and Jerry Rice
Jerry Rice
Jerry Lee Rice is a retired American football wide receiver. He is generally regarded as the greatest wide receiver of all time and one of the greatest players in National Football League history...

.
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

's San Francisco Giants
San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team based in San Francisco, California, playing in the National League West Division....

 left New York for California prior to the 1958 season. Though boasting such stars as Willie Mays
Willie Mays
Willie Howard Mays, Jr. is a retired American professional baseball player who played the majority of his major league career with the New York and San Francisco Giants before finishing with the New York Mets. Nicknamed The Say Hey Kid, Mays was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, his...

, Willie McCovey
Willie McCovey
Willie Lee McCovey , nicknamed "Mac", "Big Mac", and "Stretch", is a former Major League Baseball first baseman. He played nineteen seasons for the San Francisco Giants, and three more for the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics, between and...

 and Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds
Barry Lamar Bonds is an American former Major League Baseball outfielder. Bonds played from 1986 to 2007, for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. He is the son of former major league All-Star Bobby Bonds...

, the club went 52 years until its first World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

 title in 2010
2010 World Series
The 2010 World Series was the 106th occurrence of Major League Baseball's championship series. The best-of-seven playoff, played between the American League champion Texas Rangers and the National League champion San Francisco Giants, began on Wednesday, , and ended on Monday, , with the Giants...

. The Oakland Athletics
Oakland Athletics
The Oakland Athletics are a Major League Baseball team based in Oakland, California. The Athletics are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League. From to the present, the Athletics have played in the O.co Coliseum....

 had swept the Giants in the 1989 World Series
1989 World Series
†: Game 3 was originally slated for October 17 at 5:35 pm; however, it was postponed when an earthquake occurred at 5:04 pm.-Game 1:Saturday, October 14, 1989 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California...

, after Game 3 in San Francisco was infamously pre-empted by the Loma Prieta earthquake
Loma Prieta earthquake
The Loma Prieta earthquake, also known as the Quake of '89 and the World Series Earthquake, was a major earthquake that struck the San Francisco Bay Area of California on October 17, 1989, at 5:04 p.m. local time...

. The Giants play at AT&T Park
AT&T Park
AT&T Park is a ballpark located in the South Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, California. Located at 24 Willie Mays Plaza, at the corner of Third and King Streets, it has served as the home of the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball since 2000....

, which opened in 2000, a cornerstone project of the South Beach and Mission Bay redevelopment.

At the collegiate level, the Dons of the University of San Francisco
University of San Francisco
The University of San Francisco , is a private, Jesuit/Catholic university located in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1855, USF was established as the first university in San Francisco. It is the second oldest institution for higher learning in California and the tenth-oldest university of...

 compete in NCAA Division I, where Bill Russell
Bill Russell
William Felton "Bill" Russell is a retired American professional basketball player who played center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association...

 guided the program to basketball championships
NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship
The NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship is a single-elimination tournament held each spring in the United States, featuring 68 college basketball teams, to determine the national championship in the top tier of college basketball...

 in 1955 and 1956. The San Francisco State
San Francisco State University
San Francisco State University is a public university located in San Francisco, California. As part of the 23-campus California State University system, the university offers over 100 areas of study from nine academic colleges...

 Gators and the Academy of Art University
Academy of Art University
The Academy of Art University , a for-profit university owned by the Stephens Institute, was founded in San Francisco, California in 1929 by Richard S. Stephens...

 Urban Knights compete in Division II. AT&T Park has since 2002 hosted an annual post-season college football
College football
College football refers to American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities...

 bowl game
Bowl game
In North America, a bowl game is commonly considered to refer to one of a number of post-season college football games. Prior to 2002, bowl game statistics were not included in players' career totals and the games were mostly considered to be exhibition games involving a payout to participating...

, currently named the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. In 2011, San Francisco hosted the California Golden Bears
2011 California Golden Bears football team
The 2011 California Golden Bears football team represents the University of California, Berkeley in the 2011 NCAA Division I FBS football season...

 football team at Candlestick Park and AT&T Park while their home stadium was being renovated in Berkeley.

The Bay to Breakers
Bay to Breakers
The Bay to Breakers is an annual footrace which takes place in San Francisco, California on the third Sunday of May. The name reflects the fact that the race starts at the northeast end of the downtown area a few blocks from The Embarcadero and runs west through the city to finish at the Great...

 footrace, held annually since 1912, is best known for colorful costumes and a celebratory community spirit. The San Francisco Marathon
San Francisco Marathon
The San Francisco Marathon is a series of USATF certified road running events held each July or August in San Francisco, California that include a full marathon, two half marathons, and a 5K. Except for in 1988, the marathon has been held annually since 1977. The current marathon course forms a...

 attracts more than 21,000 participants. The Escape from Alcatraz
Escape from Alcatraz (triathlon)
Escape from Alcatraz is the name for two different triathlons held in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. The Escape from Alcatraz originated in 1981 as a private club event, beginning in San Francisco and ending in Marin County...

 triathlon
Triathlon
A triathlon is a multi-sport event involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance events. While many variations of the sport exist, triathlon, in its most popular form, involves swimming, cycling, and running in immediate succession over various distances...

 has, since 1980, attracted 2,000 top professional and amateur triathletes for its annual race. The Olympic Club
Olympic Club
The Olympic Club is a San Francisco, California, athletic club and private social club with three golf courses located at San Francisco's border with Daly City, California. The club's main "City Clubhouse" is located in downtown San Francisco. The club's "Lakeside Clubhouse" is located just north...

, founded in 1860, is the oldest athletic club
Sports club
A sports club or sport club, sometimes athletics club or sports association is a club for the purpose of playing one or more sports...

 in the United States. Its private golf course, situated on the border with Daly City
Daly City, California
Daly City is the largest city in San Mateo County, California, United States, with a 2010 population of 101,123. Located immediately south of San Francisco, it is named in honor of businessman and landowner John Daly.-History:...

, has hosted the U.S. Open
U.S. Open (golf)
The United States Open Championship, commonly known as the U.S. Open, is the annual open golf tournament of the United States. It is the second of the four major championships in golf, and is on the official schedule of both the PGA Tour and the European Tour...

 on four occasions, and will host it a fifth time in 2012. The public Harding Park Golf Course is an occasional stop on the PGA Tour
PGA Tour
The PGA Tour is the organizer of the main men's professional golf tours in the United States and North America...

. San Francisco will host the 2013 America's Cup yacht racing competition.

With an ideal climate for outdoor activities, San Francisco has ample resources and opportunities for amateur and participatory sports and recreation. There are more than 200 miles (321.9 km) of bicycle paths, lanes
Segregated cycle facilities
Segregated cycle facilities are marked lanes, tracks, shoulders and paths designated for use by cyclists from which motorised traffic is generally excluded...

 and bike routes in the city, and the Embarcadero and Marina Green
Marina Green
The Marina Green in San Francisco, California, is a expanse of grass between Fort Mason and the Presidio. It is adjacent to San Francisco Bay, and this location provides good views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, Alcatraz Island, and parts of Marin County. Houses built mostly in the 1920s...

 are favored sites for skateboarding
Skateboarding
Skateboarding is an action sport which involves riding and performing tricks using a skateboard.Skateboarding can be a recreational activity, an art form, a job, or a method of transportation. Skateboarding has been shaped and influenced by many skateboarders throughout the years. A 2002 report...

. Extensive public tennis facilities are available in Golden Gate Park and Dolores Park
Dolores Park
Mission Dolores Park is a San Francisco, California, city park located in the neighborhood of Mission Dolores, at the western edge of the Mission District, which lies to the east of the park. To the west of the park is a hillside referred to as "Dolores Heights" or considered a part of the Castro...

, as well as at smaller neighborhood courts throughout the city. Boating, sailing, windsurfing
Windsurfing
Windsurfing or sailboarding is a surface water sport that combines elements of surfing and sailing. It consists of a board usually two to four metres long, powered by the orthogonal effect of the wind on a sail. The rig is connected to the board by a free-rotating universal joint and comprises a...

 and kitesurfing
Kitesurfing
Kitesurfing or Kiteboarding is an adventure surface water sport that has been described as combining wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, and gymnastics into one extreme sport. Kitesurfing harnesses the power of the wind to propel a rider across the water on a small surfboard or a...

 are among the popular activities on San Francisco Bay, and the city maintains a yacht harbor in the Marina District. San Francisco residents have often ranked among the fittest in the U.S.
Cycling
Cycling in San Francisco
Cycling in San Francisco has grown in popularity in recent years, aided by improving cycling infrastructure and community support. San Francisco's compact urban form and mild climate enable cyclists to reach work, shopping, and recreational destinations quickly and comfortably...

 is growing in San Francisco. Annual bicycle counts conducted by the Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) in 2010 showed the number of cyclists at 33 locations had increased 58% from the 2006 baseline counts. The MTA estimates that about 128,000 trips are made by bicycle each day in the city, or 6% of total trips. Improvements in cycling infrastructure in recent years, including additional bike lanes and parking racks, has made cycling in San Francisco safer and more convenient. Since 2006, San Francisco has received a Bicycle Friendly Community status of "Gold" from the League of American Bicyclists
League of American Bicyclists
The League of American Bicyclists is a non-profit membership organization which promotes cycling for fun, fitness and transportation through advocacy and education....

.

Economy



Tourism is the backbone of the San Francisco economy. Its frequent portrayal
San Francisco in popular culture
Depictions of San Francisco in popular culture can be found in many different media.-Literature:San Francisco's diversity, eccentric characters, and geographic scenery have provided a backdrop for many works of fiction, including:...

 in music, film, and popular culture has made the city and its landmarks recognizable worldwide. It is the city where Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett is an American singer of popular music, standards, show tunes, and jazz....

 "left his heart
I Left My Heart in San Francisco
"I Left My Heart in San Francisco" is a popular song, written in 1954 by George Cory and Douglass Cross, and best known as the signature song of Tony Bennett...

," where the Birdman of Alcatraz
Birdman of Alcatraz
Robert Franklin Stroud , known as the "Birdman of Alcatraz", was a federal American prisoner who reared and sold birds and became an ornithologist...

spent many of his final years, and where Rice-a-Roni
Rice-A-Roni
Rice-A-Roni is a product of PepsiCo's subsidiary, the Quaker Oats Company. It is a boxed food mix that consists of rice, vermicelli pasta, and seasonings. To prepare, the rice and pasta are browned in butter, then water and seasonings are added and simmered until absorbed.-History:In 1895,...

 was said to be the favorite treat. San Francisco attracts the third-highest number of foreign tourists of any city in the U.S. and claims Pier 39
Pier 39
Pier 39 is a shopping center and popular tourist attraction built on a pier in San Francisco, California. At Pier 39, there are shops, restaurants, a video arcade, street performances, an interpretive center for the Marine Mammal Center, the Aquarium of the Bay, virtual 3D rides, and views of...

 near Fisherman's Wharf as the third-most popular tourist attraction in the nation. More than 16 million visitors arrived in San Francisco in 2007, injecting nearly $8.2 billion into the economy—both all-time high figures for the city. With a large hotel infrastructure and a world-class convention facility in the Moscone Center
Moscone Center
Moscone Center is the largest convention and exhibition complex in San Francisco, California. It comprises three main halls: Two underground halls underneath Yerba Buena Gardens, known as Moscone North and Moscone South, and a three-level Moscone West exhibition hall across 4th Street...

, San Francisco is also among the top-ten North American destinations for conventions and conferences. In a Euromonitor International
Euromonitor International
Euromonitor International Ltd is a privately owned, London-based market intelligence firm, providing market research and business intelligence reports and data to industry. The firm was founded in 1972...

 ranking of top city destinations, San Francisco was ranked the 33rd most visited city in the world out of 100 of the world's most visited cities.

The legacy of the California Gold Rush
California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The first to hear confirmed information of the gold rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands , and Latin America, who were the first to start flocking to...

 turned San Francisco into the principal banking and finance center of the West Coast
West Coast of the United States
West Coast or Pacific Coast are terms for the westernmost coastal states of the United States. The term most often refers to the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Although not part of the contiguous United States, Alaska and Hawaii do border the Pacific Ocean but can't be included in...

 in the early twentieth century. Montgomery Street
Montgomery Street
Montgomery Street is a north-south thoroughfare in San Francisco, California, in the United States.It runs about 16 blocks from the Telegraph Hill neighborhood south through downtown, terminating at Market Street. South of Columbus Avenue, Montgomery Street runs through the heart of San Francisco's...

 in the Financial District became known as the "Wall Street of the West," home to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is the federal bank for the twelfth district in the United States. The twelfth district is made up of nine western states-—Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington--plus the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa,...

, the Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company is an American multinational diversified financial services company with operations around the world. Wells Fargo is the fourth largest bank in the U.S. by assets and the largest bank by market capitalization. Wells Fargo is the second largest bank in deposits, home...

 corporate headquarters, and the site of the now-defunct Pacific Coast Stock Exchange
Pacific Exchange
The Pacific Exchange was, until 2001, a regional stock exchange with a main exchange floor and building in San Francisco, California, USA and a branch in Los Angeles, California, USA. Its history began with the founding of the San Francisco Stock and Bond Exchange in 1882 and the Los Angeles Oil...

. Bank of America
Bank of America
Bank of America Corporation, an American multinational banking and financial services corporation, is the second largest bank holding company in the United States by assets, and the fourth largest bank in the U.S. by market capitalization. The bank is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina...

, a pioneer in making banking services accessible to the middle class, was founded in San Francisco and in the 1960s, built the landmark modern skyscraper at 555 California Street for its corporate headquarters. Many large financial institutions, multinational banks and venture capital firms are based in or have regional headquarters in the city. With over 30 international financial institutions, seven Fortune 500
Fortune 500
The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks the top 500 U.S. closely held and public corporations as ranked by their gross revenue after adjustments made by Fortune to exclude the impact of excise taxes companies collect. The list includes publicly and...

 companies, and a large support infrastructure of professional services—including law, public relations, architecture
San Francisco architecture
San Francisco architecture does not refer to a particular architectural style but to San Francisco's unique status as a major architectural landmark and epicenter...

 and design—also with significant presence in the city, San Francisco is designated as one of the ten Beta World Cities
Global city
A global city is a city that is deemed to be an important node in the global economic system...

. The city ranks eighteenth in the world's list of cities by GDP, ninth in the United States, and is fifteenth place in the top twenty Global Financial Centres Index
Global Financial Centres Index
The Global Financial Centres Index is a ranking of the competitiveness of financial centres based on 26,629 financial centre assessments from an online questionnaire together with over 60 indices...

.
San Francisco's economy has increasingly become tied to that of its Bay Area neighbor San Jose
San Jose, California
San Jose is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the U.S., and the county seat of Santa Clara County which is located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay...

 and Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley is a term which refers to the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California in the United States. The region is home to many of the world's largest technology corporations...

 to its south, sharing the need for highly educated workers with specialized skills. Due to such links with Silicon Valley, San Francisco became an epicenter of the Dot-Com bubble
Dot-com bubble
The dot-com bubble was a speculative bubble covering roughly 1995–2000 during which stock markets in industrialized nations saw their equity value rise rapidly from growth in the more...

 of the 1990s–2000s, and the subsequent Web 2.0
Web 2.0
The term Web 2.0 is associated with web applications that facilitate participatory information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web...

 boom of the late 2000s. Many popular and prominent Dot-Com companies and "start-ups
Startup company
A startup company or startup is a company with a limited operating history. These companies, generally newly created, are in a phase of development and research for markets...

" such as Craigslist.org, Twitter
Twitter
Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, informally known as "tweets".Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched that July...

, Salesforce.com
Salesforce.com
Salesforce.com is an enterprise cloud computing company headquartered in San Francisco that distributes business software on a subscription basis. Salesforce.com hosts the applications off-site...

, and the Wikimedia Foundation
Wikimedia Foundation
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is an American non-profit charitable organization headquartered in San Francisco, California, United States, and organized under the laws of the state of Florida, where it was initially based...

 among others have established their head offices in San Francisco.

San Francisco has been positioning itself as a biotechnology
Biotechnology
Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bioproducts. Biotechnology also utilizes these products for manufacturing purpose...

 and biomedical hub and research center. The Mission Bay neighborhood, site of a second campus of UCSF, fosters a budding industry and serves as headquarters of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine
California Institute for Regenerative Medicine
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine was created by California's Proposition 71 , which authorized it to issue $3 billion in grants, funded by bonds, over ten years for embryonic stem cell and other biomedical research. It is claimed to be the world's largest single backer of...

, the public agency funding stem cell research programs statewide. As of 2009, there were 1,800 full-time biochemists and biophysicists employed in San Francisco, with an annual mean wage of $92,620.

Small businesses with fewer than 10 employees and self-employed firms make up 85% of city establishments as lately, it has been particularly popular with entrepreneurs establishing "start-up" companies. The number of San Franciscans employed by firms of more than 1,000 employees has fallen by half since 1977. The successful penetration of national big box and formula retail chains into the city has been made intentionally difficult by political and civic consensus. In an effort to buoy small privately owned businesses in San Francisco and preserve the unique retail personality of the city, the Small Business Commission supports a publicity campaign to keep a larger share of retail dollars in the local economy, and the Board of Supervisors has used the planning code to limit the neighborhoods in which formula retail establishments can set up shop, an effort affirmed by San Francisco voters.

The top employer in the city is the city government itself, employing 6.25% of the city's population, followed by University of California, San Francisco
University of California, San Francisco
The University of California, San Francisco is one of the world's leading centers of health sciences research, patient care, and education. UCSF's medical, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing, and graduate schools are among the top health science professional schools in the world...

. Third, at 2.04%, is Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company is an American multinational diversified financial services company with operations around the world. Wells Fargo is the fourth largest bank in the U.S. by assets and the largest bank by market capitalization. Wells Fargo is the second largest bank in deposits, home...

, the largest private-sector employer.

Law and government


San Francisco—officially known as the City and County of San Francisco—is a consolidated city-county
Consolidated city-county
In United States local government, a consolidated city–county is a city and county that have been merged into one unified jurisdiction. As such it is simultaneously a city, which is a municipal corporation, and a county, which is an administrative division of a state...

, a status it has held since 1856. It is the only such consolidation in California. The mayor
Mayor of San Francisco
The Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco is the head of the executive branch of San Francisco's city and county government. The mayor has the duty to enforce city laws, and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the legislative branch....

 is also the county executive, and the county Board of Supervisors
San Francisco Board of Supervisors
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is the legislative body within the government of the City and County of San Francisco, California, United States.-Government and politics:...

 acts as the city council
City council
A city council or town council is the legislative body that governs a city, town, municipality or local government area.-Australia & NZ:Because of the differences in legislation between the States, the exact definition of a City Council varies...

. Under the city charter, the government of San Francisco is constituted of two co-equal branches. The executive branch is headed by the mayor and includes other citywide elected and appointed officials as well as the civil service. The 11-member Board of Supervisors, the legislative branch, is headed by a president and is responsible for passing laws and budgets, though San Franciscans also make use of direct ballot initiatives
Initiative
In political science, an initiative is a means by which a petition signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters can force a public vote...

 to pass legislation.

The members of the Board of Supervisors are elected as representatives of specific districts within the city. Upon the death or resignation of mayor, the President of the Board of Supervisors becomes acting mayor until the full Board elects an interim replacement for the remainder of the term. In 1978, Dianne Feinstein
Dianne Feinstein
Dianne Goldman Berman Feinstein is the senior U.S. Senator from California. A member of the Democratic Party, she has served in the Senate since 1992. She also served as 38th Mayor of San Francisco from 1978 to 1988....

 assumed the office following the assassination of George Moscone
George Moscone
George Richard Moscone was an American attorney and Democratic politician. He was the 37th mayor of San Francisco, California, US from January 1976 until his assassination in November 1978. Moscone served in the California State Senate from 1967 until becoming Mayor. In the Senate, he served as...

 and was later selected by the Board to finish the term. In 2011, Edwin M. Lee
Edwin M. Lee
Edwin Mah Lee is the 43rd Mayor of San Francisco, California. He was appointed by the Board of Supervisors on January 11, 2011 to serve out the remainder of former mayor Gavin Newsom's term, after Newsom resigned to take office as Lieutenant Governor of California. At the time of his appointment...

 was selected by the Board to finish the term of Gavin Newsom
Gavin Newsom
Gavin Christopher Newsom is an American politician who is the 49th and current Lieutenant Governor of California. Previously, he was the 42nd Mayor of San Francisco, and was elected in 2003 to succeed Willie Brown, becoming San Francisco's youngest mayor in 100 years. Newsom was re-elected in 2007...

, who resigned to take office as Lieutenant Governor of California
Lieutenant Governor of California
The Lieutenant Governor of California is a statewide constitutional officer elected separately from the Governor who serves as the "vice-executive" of California. The Lieutenant Governor of California is elected to serve a four year term and can serve a maximum of two terms...

.

Because of its unique city-county status, local government exercises jurisdiction over property that would otherwise be located outside of its corporation limit. San Francisco International Airport
San Francisco International Airport
San Francisco International Airport is a major international airport located south of downtown San Francisco, California, United States, near the cities of Millbrae and San Bruno in unincorporated San Mateo County. It is often referred to as SFO...

, though located in San Mateo County, is owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco. San Francisco also has a county jail complex located in San Mateo County, in an unincorporated area
Unincorporated area
In law, an unincorporated area is a region of land that is not a part of any municipality.To "incorporate" in this context means to form a municipal corporation, a city, town, or village with its own government. An unincorporated community is usually not subject to or taxed by a municipal government...

 adjacent to San Bruno
San Bruno, California
San Bruno is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States. The population was 41,114 at the 2010 census.The city is adjacent to San Francisco International Airport and Golden Gate National Cemetery.-Geography:San Bruno is located at...

. San Francisco was also granted a perpetual leasehold over the Hetch Hetchy Valley
Hetch Hetchy Valley
Hetch Hetchy Valley is a glacial valley in Yosemite National Park in California. It is currently completely flooded by O'Shaughnessy Dam, forming the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. The Tuolumne River fills the reservoir. Upstream from the valley lies the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. The reservoir...

 and watershed
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

 in Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is a United States National Park spanning eastern portions of Tuolumne, Mariposa and Madera counties in east central California, United States. The park covers an area of and reaches across the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain chain...

 by the Raker Act
Raker Act
The Raker Act was an act of the United States Congress that permitted building of the O'Shaughnessy Dam and flooding of Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park, California. It is named for John E. Raker, its chief sponsor...

 in 1913.

The municipal budget for fiscal year 2007–2008 was just over $6 billion.

San Francisco serves as the regional hub for many arms of the federal bureaucracy, including the U.S. Court of Appeals, the Federal Reserve Bank
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is the federal bank for the twelfth district in the United States. The twelfth district is made up of nine western states-—Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington--plus the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa,...

, and the U.S. Mint
United States Mint
The United States Mint primarily produces circulating coinage for the United States to conduct its trade and commerce. The Mint was created by Congress with the Coinage Act of 1792, and placed within the Department of State...

. Until decommissioning
Base Realignment and Closure
Base Realignment and Closure is a process of the United States federal government directed at the administration and operation of the Armed Forces, used by the United States Department of Defense and Congress to close excess military installations and realign the total asset inventory to reduce...

 in the early 1990s, the city had major military installations at the Presidio
Presidio of San Francisco
The Presidio of San Francisco is a park on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula in San Francisco, California, within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area...

, Treasure Island
Treasure Island, California
Treasure Island is an artificial island in the San Francisco Bay between San Francisco and Oakland, and an emerging neighborhood of San Francisco....

, and Hunters Point
San Francisco Naval Shipyard
The San Francisco Naval Shipyard was a United States Navy shipyard in San Francisco, California, located on of waterfront at Hunters Point in the southeast corner of the city...

—a legacy still reflected in the annual celebration of Fleet Week
Fleet Week
Fleet Week is a United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, and United States Coast Guard tradition in which active military ships recently deployed in overseas operations dock in a variety of major cities for one week. Once the ships dock, the crews can enter the city and visit its tourist...

. The State of California uses San Francisco as the home of the state supreme court
Supreme Court of California
The Supreme Court of California is the highest state court in California. It is headquartered in San Francisco and regularly holds sessions in Los Angeles and Sacramento. Its decisions are binding on all other California state courts.-Composition:...

 and other state agencies. Foreign governments maintain more than seventy consulates in San Francisco.

Campaign ethics and bylaw enforcement is handled by the San Francisco Ethics Comission.

Demographics


The 2010 United States Census reported that San Francisco had a population of 805,235. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 was 17,160 per square mile (6,632/km²). The racial makeup and population of San Francisco included: 390,387 Whites (48.5%), 267,915 Asians (33.3%), 121,744 Hispanics or Latinos (15.1%), 48,870 African Americans (6.1%), 4,024 Native Americans (0.5%), 3,359 Pacific Islanders (0.4%), 53,021 from other races
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

 (6.6%), and 37,659 from two or more races (4.7%).

The Census reported that 780,971 people (97.0% of the population) lived in households, 18,902 (2.3%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 5,362 (0.7%) were institutionalized.

There were 345,811 households, out of which 63,577 (18.4%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 109,437 (31.6%) were opposite-sex married couples
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 living together, 28,844 (8.3%) had a female householder with no husband present, 12,748 (3.7%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 21,677 (6.3%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships
POSSLQ
POSSLQ is an abbreviation for "Persons of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters," a term coined in the late 1970s by the United States Census Bureau as part of an effort to more accurately gauge the prevalence of cohabitation in American households....

, and 10,384 (3.0%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 133,366 households (38.6%) were made up of individuals and 34,234 (9.9%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26. There were 151,029 families
Family (U.S. Census)
A family or family household is defined by the United States Census Bureau for statistical purposes as "a householder and one or more other people related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption. They do not include same-sex married couples even if the marriage was performed in a state...

 (43.7% of all households); the average family size was 3.11.

The population was spread out with 107,524 people (13.4%) under the age of 18, 77,664 people (9.6%) aged 18 to 24, 301,802 people (37.5%) aged 25 to 44, 208,403 people (25.9%) aged 45 to 64, and 109,842 people (13.6%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.5 years. For every 100 females there were 102.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.8 males.

There were 376,942 housing units at an average density of 1,625.5 per square mile (627.6/km²), of which 123,646 (35.8%) were owner-occupied, and 222,165 (64.2%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.4%. 327,985 people (40.7% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 452,986 people (56.3%) lived in rental housing units.

The California Department of Finance
California Department of Finance
The California Department of Finance is a state cabinet-level agency within the government of California. The Department of Finance is responsible for preparing, explaining, and administering the state’s annual financial plan, which the Governor of California is required under the California...

 estimated the population at 856,095, as of January 1, 2010. With over 17,000 people per square mile, San Francisco is the second-most densely populated major American city (among cities greater than 200,000 population). San Francisco is the traditional focal point of the San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco Bay Area
The San Francisco Bay Area, commonly known as the Bay Area, is a populated region that surrounds the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California. The region encompasses metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, along with smaller urban and rural areas...

 and forms part of the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont
Fremont, California
Fremont is a city in Alameda County, California. It was incorporated on January 23, 1956, from the merger of five smaller communities: Centerville, Niles, Irvington, Mission San Jose, and Warm Springs...

 Metropolitan Statistical Area and the greater San Jose
San Jose, California
San Jose is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the U.S., and the county seat of Santa Clara County which is located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay...

-San Francisco-Oakland
Oakland, California
Oakland is a major West Coast port city on San Francisco Bay in the U.S. state of California. It is the eighth-largest city in the state with a 2010 population of 390,724...

 Combined Statistical Area
Combined Statistical Area
The United States Office of Management and Budget defines micropolitan and metropolitan statistical areas. Metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas consist of one or more counties...

 (CSA) whose population is over seven million, making it the fifth largest in the United States as of the 2000 Census.

San Francisco has a minority-majority population, as non-Hispanic whites
White American
White Americans are people of the United States who are considered or consider themselves White. The United States Census Bureau defines White people as those "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa...

 comprise less than half of the population. According to the 2010 Census, Asians of any nationality make up 33.3% of the population with those of Chinese ethnicity
Chinese American
Chinese Americans represent Americans of Chinese descent. Chinese Americans constitute one group of overseas Chinese and also a subgroup of East Asian Americans, which is further a subgroup of Asian Americans...

 constituting the largest single ethnic group in San Francisco at 21.4% of the population; the other Asian groups are Filipinos
Filipino American
Filipino Americans are Americans of Filipino ancestry. Filipino Americans, often shortened to "Fil-Ams", or "Pinoy",Filipinos in what is now the United States were first documented in the 16th century, with small settlements beginning in the 18th century...

 (4.5%), Vietnamese
Vietnamese American
A Vietnamese American is an American of Vietnamese descent. They make up about half of all overseas Vietnamese and are the fourth-largest Asian American group....

 (1.6%), Japanese
Japanese American
are American people of Japanese heritage. Japanese Americans have historically been among the three largest Asian American communities, but in recent decades have become the sixth largest group at roughly 1,204,205, including those of mixed-race or mixed-ethnicity...

 (1.3%), Asian Indians
Indian American
Indian Americans are Americans whose ancestral roots lie in India. The U.S. Census Bureau popularized the term Asian Indian to avoid confusion with Indigenous peoples of the Americas who are commonly referred to as American Indians.-The term: Indian:...

 (1.2%), Koreans
Korean American
Korean Americans are Americans of Korean descent, mostly from South Korea, with a small minority from North Korea...

 (1.2%), Thais
Thai American
A Thai American is an American of whose parents or grandparents came from Thailand. Many of them may in fact be of Thai Chinese or at least part Chinese ancestry, but they are still considered to be Thais.-History in U.S.:...

 (0.3%), Burmese
Burmese American
Burmese Americans are Americans of Burmese descent. The term encompasses people of all ethnic backgrounds with ancestry in the present-day Myanmar . Burmese Americans are a subgroup of Asian Americans...

 (0.2%), Cambodians
Cambodian American
A Cambodian American is an American who is born, raised, or from Cambodia usually of Khmer descent but also including Chinese Cambodians, Vietnamese Cambodians, Cham people and other ethnicities of Cambodia...

 (0.2%), and both Indonesians
Indonesian American
Indonesian Americans comprise immigrants from the multiethnic country of Indonesia to the United States, and their U.S.-born descendants. As of the 2000 United States Census, they were the 15th largest group of Asian Americans...

 and Laotians
Laotian American
A Laotian American is a resident of the United States who was originally from Laos, a person of Laotian descent residing in America, or a citizen born in the United States whose parents were originally from Laos. Laotian Americans are included in the larger category of Asian Americans...

 make up less than 0.1% of the city's population. The Pacific Islander
Pacific Islander American
Pacific Islander Americans, also known as Oceanian Americans, are residents of the United States with original ancestry from Oceania. They represent the smallest racial group counted in the United States census of 2000. They numbered 874,000 people or 0.3 percent of the United States population...

 population is 0.4%, with about half of them being of Samoan descent. Hispanics of any race make up 15.0% of the population, mainly people of Mexican
Mexican American
Mexican Americans are Americans of Mexican descent. As of July 2009, Mexican Americans make up 10.3% of the United States' population with over 31,689,000 Americans listed as of Mexican ancestry. Mexican Americans comprise 66% of all Hispanics and Latinos in the United States...

 (7.4%), Salvadoran
Salvadoran American
Salvadorian Americans are citizens or residents of the United States of Salvadoran descent. As of 2010 there are 1.6 million Salvadoran Americans in the United States, the fourth-largest Hispanic community by nation of ancestry.They are also known as the nicknamed Salvi people in the USA,...

 (2.0%), and other Central American descent (2.2%). San Francisco's African American population has declined in recent decades, from 13.4% in 1970 to 6.1%. The current percentage of African Americans in San Francisco is similar to that of the state of California; conversely, the city's percentage of Hispanic residents is less than half of that of the state. Native Californians form a relatively small percentage of the city's population: only 37.7% of its residents were born in California, while 25.2% were born in a different U.S. state. More than a third of city residents (35.6%) were born outside the United States.

According to the 2005 American Community Survey, San Francisco has the highest percentage of gay and lesbian individuals of any of the 50 largest U.S. cities, at 15.4%. San Francisco also has the highest percentage of same-sex households of any American county, with the Bay Area having a higher concentration than any other metropolitan area
Metropolitan area
The term metropolitan area refers to a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metropolitan area usually encompasses multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships,...

.

Of all major cities, San Francisco ranks second behind Seattle for the percentage of residents with a college degree. Over 44% of adults within the city limits have a bachelor's or higher degree. USA Today
USA Today
USA Today is a national American daily newspaper published by the Gannett Company. It was founded by Al Neuharth. The newspaper vies with The Wall Street Journal for the position of having the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States, something it previously held since 2003...

reported that Rob Pitingolo, a researcher who measured college graduates per square mile, found that San Francisco had the highest rate at 7,031 per square mile, or over 344,000 total graduates in the city's 46.7 square miles (121 km²).

San Francisco ranks third of American cities in median household income with a 2007 value of $65,519. Median family income is $81,136, and San Francisco ranks 8th of major cities worldwide in the number of billionaires known to be living within city limits. Following a national trend, an emigration of middle class families is contributing to widening income disparity and has left the city with a lower proportion of children, 14.5%, than any other large American city.

The city's poverty rate is 11.8% and the number of families in poverty stands at 7.4%, both lower than the national average. The unemployment rate stands at 9.5% as of January 2011. Homelessness has been a chronic and controversial problem for San Francisco since the early 1980s. The city is believed to have the highest number of homeless inhabitants per capita of any major U.S. city. Rates of reported violent and property crimes for 2009 (736 and 4,262 incidents per 100,000 residents, respectively) are slightly lower than for similarly sized U.S. cities.
class="wikitable sortable collapsible" style="margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;text-align: right;font-size: 90%;"> Demographic profile 2010 2000 1990 1980
One race 93.5% 95.7%
White 48.5% 49.7% 53.6% 59.2%
Asian 33.3% 30.8% 28.7% 22.0%
Black or African American 6.1% 7.8% 10.9% 12.7%
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.2% 0.4% 0.5% 0.5%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.4% 0.5% 0.5%
Some other race 6.6% 6.5% 5.8% 5.6%
Two or more races 4.7% 4.0%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 15.0% 14.1% 13.3% 12.4%
White alone 41.9% 43.6% 46.6% 53.1%

Colleges and universities




The University of California, San Francisco
University of California, San Francisco
The University of California, San Francisco is one of the world's leading centers of health sciences research, patient care, and education. UCSF's medical, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing, and graduate schools are among the top health science professional schools in the world...

 is the sole campus of the University of California system
University of California
The University of California is a public university system in the U.S. state of California. Under the California Master Plan for Higher Education, the University of California is a part of the state's three-tier public higher education system, which also includes the California State University...

 entirely dedicated to graduate education in health and biomedical sciences. It is ranked among the top-five medical schools in the United States and operates the UCSF Medical Center
UCSF Medical Center
The University of California, San Francisco Medical Center is a world renowned hospital in research and a teaching hospital in San Francisco, California. It is one of the leading hospitals in the United States and with the UCSF School of Medicine has been the site of various breakthroughs in all...

, which ranks among the top 10 hospitals in the country. UCSF is a major local employer, second in size only to the city and county government. A 43 acres (174,015 m²) Mission Bay campus was opened in 2003, complementing its original facility in Parnassus Heights. It contains research space and facilities to foster biotechnology and life sciences entrepreneurship and will double the size of UCSF's research enterprise. All in all, UCSF operates 20 facilities across San Francisco. The University of California, Hastings College of the Law
University of California, Hastings College of the Law
University of California, Hastings College of the Law is a public law school in San Francisco, California, located in the Civic Center neighborhood....

, founded in Civic Center in 1878, is the oldest law school in California and claims more judges on the state bench than any other institution.

San Francisco State University
San Francisco State University
San Francisco State University is a public university located in San Francisco, California. As part of the 23-campus California State University system, the university offers over 100 areas of study from nine academic colleges...

 is part of the California State University
California State University
The California State University is a public university system in the state of California. It is one of three public higher education systems in the state, the other two being the University of California system and the California Community College system. It is incorporated as The Trustees of the...

 system and is located near Lake Merced
Lake Merced
Lake Merced is a freshwater lake in the southwest corner of San Francisco. It is surrounded by three golf courses , as well as residential areas, Lowell High School, San Francisco State University, Fort Funston and the Pacific Ocean...

. The school has close to 30,000 students and awards undergraduate and master's degrees in more than 100 disciplines. The City College of San Francisco
City College of San Francisco
City College of San Francisco, or CCSF, is a two-year community college in San Francisco, California. The Ocean Avenue campus, in the Ingleside neighborhood, is the college's primary location...

, with its main facility in the Ingleside district, is one of the largest two-year community college
Community college
A community college is a type of educational institution. The term can have different meanings in different countries.-Australia:Community colleges carry on the tradition of adult education, which was established in Australia around mid 19th century when evening classes were held to help adults...

s in the country. It has an enrollment of about 100,000 students and offers an extensive continuing education program.

Founded in 1855, the University of San Francisco
University of San Francisco
The University of San Francisco , is a private, Jesuit/Catholic university located in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1855, USF was established as the first university in San Francisco. It is the second oldest institution for higher learning in California and the tenth-oldest university of...

, a private Jesuit
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

 university located on Lone Mountain, is the oldest institution of higher education in San Francisco and one of the oldest universities established west of the Mississippi River. Golden Gate University
Golden Gate University
Golden Gate University is a private, nonsectarian, coeducational university located in the South of Market district, immediately south of the Financial District of downtown San Francisco, California...

 is a private, nonsectarian, coeducational university formed in 1901 and located in the Financial District. It is primarily a post-graduate institution focused on professional training in law and business, with smaller undergraduate programs linked to its graduate and professional schools.

With an enrollment of 13,000 students, Academy of Art University
Academy of Art University
The Academy of Art University , a for-profit university owned by the Stephens Institute, was founded in San Francisco, California in 1929 by Richard S. Stephens...

 is the largest institute of art and design in the nation. Founded in 1871, the San Francisco Art Institute
San Francisco Art Institute
San Francisco Art Institute is a school of higher education in contemporary art with the main campus in the Russian Hill district of San Francisco, California. Its graduate center is in the Dogpatch neighborhood. The private, non-profit institution is accredited by WASC and is a member of the...

 is the oldest art school
Art school
Art school is a general term for any educational institution with a primary focus on the visual arts, especially illustration, painting, photography, sculpture, and graphic design. The term applies to institutions with elementary, secondary, post-secondary or undergraduate, or graduate or...

 west of the Mississippi. The San Francisco Conservatory of Music
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
San Francisco Conservatory of Music, formerly the California Conservatory of Music, founded in 1917, is a music school, with an enrollment of about 400 students. It was launched by Ada Clement and Lillian Hodgehead in the remodeled home of Lillian's parents on Sacramento Street. It was called the...

, the only independent music school
Music school
The term music school refers to an educational institution specialized in the study, training and research of music.Different terms refer to this concept such as school of music, music academy, music faculty, college of music, music department or conservatory.Music instruction can be provided...

 on the West Coast, grants degrees in orchestral instruments, chamber music, composition, and conducting. The California Culinary Academy
California Culinary Academy
The California Culinary Academy is an affiliate of Le Cordon Bleu, and is located in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1977, the academy has trained more than 15,000 people for restaurant careers through its 30-week baking and pastry chef program and 16-month culinary arts degree program...

, associated with the Le Cordon Bleu
Le Cordon Bleu
Le Cordon Bleu is the world's largest hospitality education institution, with 35 schools on five continents serving 20,000 students annually. Its primary education focus is on hospitality management and the culinary arts...

 program, offers programs in the culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and hospitality and restaurant management.

Primary and secondary schools


Public schools are run by the San Francisco Unified School District
San Francisco Unified School District
San Francisco Unified School District , established in 1851, is the only public school district within the City and County of San Francisco, and the first in the state of California...

 as well as the State Board of Education for some charter schools. Lowell High School
Lowell High School (San Francisco)
Lowell High School is a public magnet school in San Francisco, California. The school opened in 1856 as the Union Grammar School and attained its current name in 1896. Lowell moved to its current location in the Merced Manor neighborhood in 1962....

, the oldest public high school in the U.S. west of the Mississippi, and the smaller School of the Arts High School
School of the Arts High School (San Francisco)
Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts is a public high school in San Francisco, California, in the United States. S.O.T.A. ranked by Newsweek's Jay Mathews Challenge Index as the best high school in the United States in 2007....

 are two of San Francisco's magnet school
Magnet school
In education in the United States, magnet schools are public schools with specialized courses or curricula. "Magnet" refers to how the schools draw students from across the normal boundaries defined by authorities as school zones that feed into certain schools.There are magnet schools at the...

s at the secondary level. Just under 30% of the city's school-age population attends one of San Francisco's more than 100 private
Private school
Private schools, also known as independent schools or nonstate schools, are not administered by local, state or national governments; thus, they retain the right to select their students and are funded in whole or in part by charging their students' tuition, rather than relying on mandatory...

 or parochial school
Parochial school
A parochial school is a school that provides religious education in addition to conventional education. In a narrower sense, a parochial school is a Christian grammar school or high school which is part of, and run by, a parish.-United Kingdom:...

s, compared to a 10% rate nationwide. Nearly 40 of those schools are Catholic school
Catholic school
Catholic schools are maintained parochial schools or education ministries of the Catholic Church. the Church operates the world's largest non-governmental school system...

s managed by the Archdiocese of San Francisco
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Catholic Church in the northern California region of the United States. It covers the City and County of San Francisco and the Counties of Marin and San Mateo...

.

Freeways


Because of its unique geography—making beltways somewhat impractical—and the results of the freeway revolts
Freeway and expressway revolts
Many freeway revolts took place in developed countries during the 1960s and 1970s, in response to plans for the construction of new freeways, a significant number of which were abandoned or significantly scaled back due to widespread public opposition; especially of those whose neighborhoods would...

 of the late 1950s, San Francisco is one of the few American cities that has opted for European-style arterial thoroughfares instead of a large network of freeways. This trend continued following the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake
Loma Prieta earthquake
The Loma Prieta earthquake, also known as the Quake of '89 and the World Series Earthquake, was a major earthquake that struck the San Francisco Bay Area of California on October 17, 1989, at 5:04 p.m. local time...

, when city leaders decided to demolish the Embarcadero Freeway, and voters approved demolition of a portion of the Central Freeway
Central Freeway
The Central Freeway is a roughly one-mile elevated freeway in San Francisco, California, United States, connecting the Bayshore/James Lick Freeway with the Hayes Valley neighborhood. Most of the freeway is part of US 101, which exits at Mission Street on the way to the Golden Gate Bridge...

, converting them into street-level boulevards.

Interstate 80
Interstate 80 in California
In the U.S. state of California, Interstate 80 , a major east–west route of the Interstate Highway System, has its western terminus in San Francisco, California, United States. From there it heads east across the Bay Bridge to Oakland, where it turns north and crosses the Carquinez Bridge...

 begins at the approach to the Bay Bridge and is the only direct automobile link to the East Bay. US 101 extends Interstate 80 to the south along the San Francisco Bay toward Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley is a term which refers to the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California in the United States. The region is home to many of the world's largest technology corporations...

. Northbound, 101 uses arterial streets Van Ness Avenue
Van Ness Avenue (San Francisco)
Van Ness Avenue is a north-south thoroughfare in San Francisco, California, running from Market St north to the Bay. Originally named Marlette Street, the street was renamed Van Ness Avenue in honor of the city's seventh mayor, James Van Ness. Van Ness Avenue begins at Market Street near the Civic...

 and Lombard Street
Lombard Street (San Francisco)
Lombard Street is an east–west street in San Francisco, California. It is famous for having a steep, one-block section that consists of eight tight hairpin turns.-Route description:...

 to the Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening of the San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean. As part of both U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1, the structure links the city of San Francisco, on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, to...

, the only direct road access from San Francisco to Marin County and points north. Highway 1
California State Route 1
State Route 1 , more often called Highway 1, is a state highway that runs along much of the Pacific coast of the U.S. state of California. It is famous for running along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, leading to its designation as an All-American Road.Highway 1 does not run...

 also enters San Francisco at the Golden Gate Bridge, but diverts away from 101, bisecting the west side of the city as the 19th Avenue
19th Avenue (San Francisco)
19th Avenue in San Francisco, California, is a five-mile long, eight-lane arterial thoroughfare that bisects the southwestern part of the city....

 arterial thoroughfare, and joining with Interstate 280
Interstate 280 (California)
Interstate 280 is a 57-mile long north–south Interstate Highway in the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California. It connects San Jose and San Francisco, running along just to the west of the cities of San Francisco Peninsula for most of its route.I-280 from its northern end at King...

 at the city's southern border. Interstate 280 continues this route along the central portion of the Peninsula south to San Jose
San Jose, California
San Jose is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the U.S., and the county seat of Santa Clara County which is located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay...

. Northbound, 280 turns north and east and terminates in the South of Market area. State Route 35
California State Route 35
State Route 35 in the U.S. state of California, generally known as Skyline Boulevard, is a two-lane road running along the western ridge of Silicon Valley in California. It runs from Highway 17 to San Francisco at State Route 1. It provides scenic views of both the Santa Cruz Mountains, the...

, which traverses the majority of the Peninsula along the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains
Santa Cruz Mountains
The Santa Cruz Mountains, part of the Pacific Coast Ranges, are a mountain range in central California, United States. They form a ridge along the San Francisco Peninsula, south of San Francisco, separating the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco Bay and the Santa Clara Valley, and continuing south,...

, enters the city from the south as Skyline Boulevard, following city streets until it terminates at its intersection with Highway 1. State Route 82
California State Route 82
State Route 82 is a state highway in the U.S. state of California that runs from U.S. Route 101 at Blossom Hill Road in San Jose to Interstate 280 in San Francisco following the San Francisco Peninsula...

 enters San Francisco from the south as Mission Street
Mission Street
Mission Street is a north-south arterial thoroughfare in San Francisco, California that runs from the city's southern border to its northeast corner. The street and the Mission District through which it runs were named for the Spanish Mission Dolores, several blocks away from the modern route. Only...

, following the path of the historic El Camino Real
El Camino Real (California)
El Camino Real and sometimes associated with Calle Real usually refers to the 600-mile California Mission Trail, connecting the former Alta California's 21 missions , 4 presidios, and several pueblos, stretching from Mission San Diego de Alcalá in San Diego...

 and terminating shortly thereafter at its junction with 280. The cross-country Lincoln Highway
Lincoln Highway
The Lincoln Highway was the first road across the United States of America.Conceived and promoted by entrepreneur Carl G. Fisher, the Lincoln Highway spanned coast-to-coast from Times Square in New York City to Lincoln Park in San Francisco, originally through 13 states: New York, New Jersey,...

's western terminus is in Lincoln Park
Lincoln Park (San Francisco)
Lincoln Park in San Francisco, California, was dedicated to President Abraham Lincoln in 1909 and includes about of the northwestern corner of the San Francisco Peninsula....

. Major east–west thoroughfares include Geary Boulevard
Geary Boulevard
Geary Boulevard is a major east-west thoroughfare in San Francisco, California, beginning downtown at Market Street near Market Street's intersection with Montgomery Street, and running westbound through downtown, the Civic Center area, the Western Addition, and running for most of its length...

, the Lincoln Way/Fell Street corridor, and Market Street
Market Street (San Francisco)
Market Street is an important thoroughfare in San Francisco, California. It begins at The Embarcadero in front of the Ferry Building at the northeastern edge of the city and runs southwest through downtown, passing the Civic Center and the Castro District, to the intersection with Corbett Avenue in...

/Portola Drive.

Cycling is a popular mode of transportation in San Francisco, with about 40,000 residents commuting to work regularly by bicycle.

Pedestrian traffic is a major mode of transport. In 2011, Walk Score ranked San Francisco the second most walkable city in the United States.

Transit systems




A third of commuters in San Francisco used public transportation in 2005. Public transit solely within the city of San Francisco is provided predominantly by the San Francisco Municipal Railway
San Francisco Municipal Railway
The San Francisco Municipal Railway is the public transit system for the city and county of San Francisco, California. In 2006, it served with an operating budget of about $700 million...

 (Muni). The city-owned system operates both a combined light rail and subway system (the Muni Metro
Muni Metro
Muni Metro is a light rail system serving San Francisco, California, operated by the San Francisco Municipal Railway , a division of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency...

) and a bus network that includes trolleybus
Trolleybus
A trolleybus is an electric bus that draws its electricity from overhead wires using spring-loaded trolley poles. Two wires and poles are required to complete the electrical circuit...

es, standard diesel motorcoaches and diesel hybrid buses. The Metro streetcars run on surface streets in outlying neighborhoods but underground in the downtown area. Additionally, Muni runs the highly visible F Market historic streetcar line
F Market
The F Market & Wharves line is one of several light rail lines in San Francisco, California. Unlike the other lines, the F line is operated as a heritage streetcar service, using exclusively historic equipment both from San Francisco's retired fleet as well as from cities around the world...

, which runs on surface streets from Castro Street to Fisherman's Wharf (through Market Street), and the iconic San Francisco cable car system
San Francisco cable car system
The San Francisco cable car system is the world's last permanently operational manually operated cable car system, in the US sense of a tramway whose cars are pulled along by cables embedded in the street. It is an icon of San Francisco, California...

, which has been designated as a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

.

Commuter rail is provided by two complementary agencies. Bay Area Rapid Transit
Bay Area Rapid Transit
Bay Area Rapid Transit is a rapid transit system serving the San Francisco Bay Area. The heavy-rail public transit and subway system connects San Francisco with cities in the East Bay and suburbs in northern San Mateo County. BART operates five lines on of track with 44 stations in four counties...

 (BART) is a regional rapid transit system that connects the San Francisco peninsula with the East Bay
East Bay (San Francisco Bay Area)
The East Bay is a commonly used, informal term for the lands on the eastern side of the San Francisco Bay, in the San Francisco Bay Area, in California, United States...

 through the Transbay Tube
Transbay Tube
The Transbay Tube is the part of BART which runs under San Francisco Bay in California. The tube is 3.6 miles long; including approaches from the nearest stations , it totals 6 miles...

. The line runs under Market Street
Market Street (San Francisco)
Market Street is an important thoroughfare in San Francisco, California. It begins at The Embarcadero in front of the Ferry Building at the northeastern edge of the city and runs southwest through downtown, passing the Civic Center and the Castro District, to the intersection with Corbett Avenue in...

 to Civic Center where it turns south to the Mission District, the southern part of the city, and through northern San Mateo County
San Mateo County, California
San Mateo County is a county located in the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California. It covers most of the San Francisco Peninsula just south of San Francisco, and north of Santa Clara County. San Francisco International Airport is located at the northern end of the county, and...

, to the San Francisco International Airport
San Francisco International Airport
San Francisco International Airport is a major international airport located south of downtown San Francisco, California, United States, near the cities of Millbrae and San Bruno in unincorporated San Mateo County. It is often referred to as SFO...

, and Millbrae
Millbrae, California
Millbrae is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States, just west of San Francisco Bay, with San Bruno on the north and Burlingame on the south. The population was 21,532 at the 2010 census.-History:...

. The Caltrain
Caltrain
Caltrain is a California commuter rail line on the San Francisco Peninsula and in the Santa Clara Valley in the United States. The northern terminus of the rail line is in San Francisco, at 4th and King streets; its southern terminus is in Gilroy...

 rail system runs from San Francisco along the Peninsula
San Francisco Peninsula
The San Francisco Peninsula is a peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area that separates the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. On its northern tip is the City and County of San Francisco. Its southern base is in Santa Clara County, including the cities of Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Mountain...

 down to San Jose
San Jose, California
San Jose is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the U.S., and the county seat of Santa Clara County which is located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay...

. The line dates from 1863, and for many years was operated by Southern Pacific.

The Transbay Terminal serves as the terminus for long-range bus service (such as Greyhound
Greyhound Lines
Greyhound Lines, Inc., based in Dallas, Texas, is an intercity common carrier of passengers by bus serving over 3,700 destinations in the United States, Canada and Mexico, operating under the well-known logo of a leaping greyhound. It was founded in Hibbing, Minnesota, USA, in 1914 and...

) and as a hub for regional bus systems AC Transit
AC Transit
AC Transit is an Oakland-based regional public transit agency serving the western half of Alameda County and parts of western Contra Costa County in the western, Bay-side area of the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area...

 (Alameda
Alameda County, California
Alameda County is a county in the U.S. state of California. It occupies most of the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 1,510,271, making it the 7th most populous county in the state...

 & Contra Costa
Contra Costa County, California
Contra Costa County is a primarily suburban county in the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 1,049,025...

 counties), SamTrans
SamTrans
SamTrans is a public transport agency in and around San Mateo, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. It provides bus service throughout San Mateo County and into portions of San Francisco and Palo Alto...

 (San Mateo County
San Mateo County, California
San Mateo County is a county located in the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California. It covers most of the San Francisco Peninsula just south of San Francisco, and north of Santa Clara County. San Francisco International Airport is located at the northern end of the county, and...

), and Golden Gate Transit
Golden Gate Transit
Golden Gate Transit is a public transportation system serving the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area in California, United States. It mainly serves Marin and Sonoma Counties, and also provides limited service to San Francisco and Contra Costa County.Golden Gate Transit is one of three...

 (Marin and Sonoma Counties
Sonoma County, California
Sonoma County, located on the northern coast of the U.S. state of California, is the largest and northernmost of the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties. Its population at the 2010 census was 483,878. Its largest city and county seat is Santa Rosa....

). Amtrak
Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

 also runs a shuttle bus from San Francisco to its rail station
Emeryville (Amtrak station)
The Emeryville Amtrak station is an Amtrak station in Emeryville, California that replaced the older Amtrak 16th Street Station in Oakland. The original Beaux-Arts Oakland 16th Street Station was declared unsafe due to unreinforced masonry after sustaining damage in the Loma Prieta Earthquake of...

 in Emeryville
Emeryville, California
Emeryville is a small city located in Alameda County, California, in the United States. It is located in a corridor between the cities of Berkeley and Oakland, extending to the shore of San Francisco Bay. Its proximity to San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, the University of California, Berkeley, and...

.

A small fleet of commuter and tourist ferries operate from the Ferry Building
Ferry Building
The San Francisco Ferry Building is a terminal for ferries that travel across the San Francisco Bay and a shopping center located on The Embarcadero in San Francisco, California. On top of the building is a large clock tower, which can be seen from Market Street, a main thoroughfare of the city...

 and Pier 39
Pier 39
Pier 39 is a shopping center and popular tourist attraction built on a pier in San Francisco, California. At Pier 39, there are shops, restaurants, a video arcade, street performances, an interpretive center for the Marine Mammal Center, the Aquarium of the Bay, virtual 3D rides, and views of...

 to points in Marin County
Marin County, California
Marin County is a county located in the North San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California, across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. As of 2010, the population was 252,409. The county seat is San Rafael and the largest employer is the county government. Marin County is well...

, Oakland
Oakland, California
Oakland is a major West Coast port city on San Francisco Bay in the U.S. state of California. It is the eighth-largest city in the state with a 2010 population of 390,724...

, and north to Vallejo
Vallejo, California
Vallejo is the largest city in Solano County, California, United States. The population was 115,942 at the 2010 census. It is located in the San Francisco Bay Area on the northeastern shore of San Pablo Bay...

 in Solano County
Solano County, California
Solano County is a county located in Bay-Delta region of the U.S. state of California, about halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento and is one of the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties. The county's population was reported by the U.S. Census to be 413,344 in 2010...

.

There is also commuter bus and special train service to the 49ers and Giant's games from Tri Delta Transit, Caltrain
Caltrain
Caltrain is a California commuter rail line on the San Francisco Peninsula and in the Santa Clara Valley in the United States. The northern terminus of the rail line is in San Francisco, at 4th and King streets; its southern terminus is in Gilroy...

 and other private operators as well.

Airports



San Francisco International Airport
San Francisco International Airport
San Francisco International Airport is a major international airport located south of downtown San Francisco, California, United States, near the cities of Millbrae and San Bruno in unincorporated San Mateo County. It is often referred to as SFO...

 (SFO), though located 13 miles (20.9 km) south of the city in San Mateo County
San Mateo County, California
San Mateo County is a county located in the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California. It covers most of the San Francisco Peninsula just south of San Francisco, and north of Santa Clara County. San Francisco International Airport is located at the northern end of the county, and...

, is under the jurisdiction of the City and County of San Francisco. SFO is primarily near the cities of Millbrae
Millbrae, California
Millbrae is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States, just west of San Francisco Bay, with San Bruno on the north and Burlingame on the south. The population was 21,532 at the 2010 census.-History:...

 and San Bruno
San Bruno, California
San Bruno is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States. The population was 41,114 at the 2010 census.The city is adjacent to San Francisco International Airport and Golden Gate National Cemetery.-Geography:San Bruno is located at...

, but also borders the most southern part of the city of South San Francisco
South San Francisco, California
South San Francisco is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States, located on the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area...

. SFO is a hub for United Airlines
United Airlines
United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees (which includes the entire holding company United Continental...

, its largest tenant, and the decision by Virgin America
Virgin America
Virgin America, Inc. is a United States-based low-cost airline that began service on August 8, 2007. The airline's stated aim is to provide low-fare, high-quality service for "long-haul point-to-point service between major metropolitan cities on the Eastern and West Coast seaboards." San Francisco...

 to base its operations out of SFO reversed the trend of low-cost carrier
Low-cost carrier
A low-cost carrier or low-cost airline is an airline that generally has lower fares and fewer comforts...

s opting to bypass SFO for Oakland
Oakland International Airport
Oakland International Airport , also known as Metropolitan Oakland International Airport, is a public airport located south of the central business district of Oakland, a city in Alameda County, California, United States...

 and San Jose
San Jose International Airport
Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport is a city-owned public-use airport serving the city of San Jose in Santa Clara County, California, United States. It is named for San Jose native Norman Yoshio Mineta, who was Transportation Secretary in the Cabinet of George W...

. SFO is an international gateway, with the largest international terminal in North America. The airport is built on a landfill
Land reclamation
Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, is the process to create new land from sea or riverbeds. The land reclaimed is known as reclamation ground or landfill.- Habitation :...

 extension into the San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay is a shallow, productive estuary through which water draining from approximately forty percent of California, flowing in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers from the Sierra Nevada mountains, enters the Pacific Ocean...

. During the economic boom of the late 1990s, when traffic saturation led to frequent delays, it became difficult to respond to calls to relieve the pressure by constructing an additional runway as that would have required additional landfill. Such calls subsided in the early 2000s as traffic declined, and, in 2006, SFO was the 14th busiest airport in the U.S. and 26th busiest in the world, handling 33.5 million passengers.

Seaports




The Port of San Francisco
Port of San Francisco
The Port of San Francisco lies on the western edge of the San Francisco Bay near the Golden Gate. It has been called one of the three great natural harbors in the world, but it took two long centuries for navigators from Spain and England to find the anchorage originally called Yerba Buena...

 was once the largest and busiest seaport on the West Coast. It featured rows of piers perpendicular to the shore, where cargo from the moored ships was handled by cranes and manual labor and transported to nearby warehouses. The port handled cargo to and from trans-Pacific and Atlantic destinations, and was the West Coast center of the lumber trade
West coast lumber trade
The West Coast lumber trade was a maritime trade route on the West Coast of the United States. It carried lumber from the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and Northern and Central California mainly to the port of San Francisco.-Lumber schooners:...

. The 1934 West Coast Longshore Strike
1934 West Coast Longshore Strike
The 1934 West Coast Waterfront Strike lasted eighty-three days, triggered by sailors and a four-day general strike in San Francisco, and led to the unionization of all of the West Coast ports of the United States...

, an important episode in the history of the American labor movement
Labor unions in the United States
Labor unions in the United States are legally recognized as representatives of workers in many industries. The most prominent unions are among public sector employees such as teachers and police...

, brought most ports to a standstill. The advent of container shipping made pier-based ports obsolete, and most commercial berths moved to the Port of Oakland
Port of Oakland
The Port of Oakland was the first major port on the Pacific Coast of the United States to build terminals for container ships. It is now the fifth busiest container port in the United States, behind Long Beach, Los Angeles, Newark, and Savannah...

 and Port of Richmond. A few active berths specializing in break bulk cargo
Break bulk cargo
In shipping, break bulk cargo or general cargo is a term that covers a great variety of goods that must be loaded individually, and not in intermodal containers nor in bulk as with oil or grain. Ships that carry this sort of cargo are often called general cargo ships...

 remain alongside the Islais Creek
Islais Creek
Islais Creek or Islais Creek Channel is a small creek in San Francisco, California...

 Channel.

Many piers remained derelict for years until the demolition of the Embarcadero Freeway reopened the downtown waterfront, allowing for redevelopment. The centerpiece of the port, the Ferry Building
Ferry Building
The San Francisco Ferry Building is a terminal for ferries that travel across the San Francisco Bay and a shopping center located on The Embarcadero in San Francisco, California. On top of the building is a large clock tower, which can be seen from Market Street, a main thoroughfare of the city...

, while still receiving commuter ferry traffic, has been restored and redeveloped as a gourmet marketplace. The port's other activities now focus on developing waterside assets to support recreation and tourism.

Further reading


  • Solnit, Rebecca. Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas (University of California Press, 2010). 144 pp. ISBN 978-0-520-26250-8; [ https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=34658 online review]
  • Winfield, P.H., The charter of San Francisco (The fortnightly review Vol. 157-58:2 (1945), p. 69-75)


External links