About San Francisco
San Francisco is a city-county in the state of California. It was founded on June 29, 1776 by Spanish explorers Lieutenant Jos Joaquin Moraga and Francisco Palu and is named after St. Francis of Assisi. The city is located on the western coast of the US on the San Francisco Peninsula and has a hilly topography. Due to its location near the San Andreas Fault and Hayward Fault, San Francisco is rather prone to earthquakes.
San Francisco was a Spanish colony before becoming a part Mexico in 1821. It became part of the American territory after Mexico's defeat in the Mexican-American War. The city witnessed a Gold Rush in 1849 which attracted a lot of settlers and dramatically increased its population. Today, San Francisco is the second most densely populated major city in the US.
The Gold Rush also contributed to the economic development of the city. It became a hub of banking and financial operations and continues to be so till date. The city was devastated by a major earthquake and fire in 1906, but it was quickly rebuilt. It served as an embarkation port during the World War II and post-war, became the center of liberal activism in America. During the 1960's it became the focus of American counter-culture. The 1970's saw rapid "Manhattisation" of the city while the late 1990s was the period of dot-com boom.
Maps Related to San Francisco
Today finance, high technology, entrepreneurship, and tourism are the mainstay of San Francisco's economy. Tourism particularly is a key sector and has emerged as the city's largest private employer. "The City by the Bay" is one of the most visited destinations in the world and is loved for its eclectic architecture, landmarks, fog, and pleasant summers.
When to visit San Francisco
Summer is certainly the most popular tourist season. Do, however, remember to carry at least a sweat shirt with you as the chill of the San Francisco summer is legendary. Spring is also a delightful season to plan a trip. Winter in San Francisco is windy and rainy and sees the least tourist activity.
Checkout: San Francisco Travel Guide
Airports & Public Transport in San Francisco
San Francisco is served by San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Oakland International Airport. The city has arterial thoroughfares instead of several highways running within the city. The San Francisco Municipal Railway called ‘Muni' runs a well maintained system of light rails, metro, subways, and buses. The cable cars of San Francisco are legendary. So, hop into a cable car during your visit. You can take a ferryboat ride from the Ferry Building .Cycling and walking are also very popular here.
If you want to stay at a luxury hotel, the best options are Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square, Hotel Drisco, Omni San Francisco Hotel, Argonaut Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel, Mandarin Oriental, and Hotel Palomar San Francisco. Looking for a hotel that won't burn a hole in your pocket? Try Hotel Des Art, Lombard Plaza Motel, Aida Plaza Hotel, Casa Loma Hotel, Park Hotel, Travelodge by the Bay, and Hotel Beresford.
Things to do in San Francisco
Visit landmarks and historical sites
One of the mus- see landmarks in San Francisco is the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the most photographed bridge in the world. Board a ferry and go to the Alcatraz Island, which was once one of the most infamous prisons in the US. Spend some time at the Ferry Building Market Place which is both a historical landmark and a gourmet paradise or visit the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts. Plan a trip to the Fort Point National Historical Site, the third brick fort to be constructed on the western coast of the US and the SS Jeremiah O'Brien, the World War II veteran. While in San Francisco, do not forget to take a stroll down Lombard Street, referred to as the "crookedest" street in the world or visit the City Light Booksellers, the bookshop founded by Beat Generation poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Some other important landmarks worth a visit are Filbert Steps, Sutro Baths, the Embarcedaro, San Francisco City hall, Cliff House, Chinatown, and Mission Dolores.
San Francisco City Facts
|Country||USA (United State of America)|
|Total Area||231.9 sq miles|
|Lat Long Coordinates||37.7750° N, 122.4183° W|
|Time Zone||Pacific Standard Time (UTC-8)|
|Area Code||(415), US(+1)|
|Major Religion||Catholic, Christian|
|Museums||Academy of Sciences, Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, Exploratorium, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Moscone Center, Steinhart Aquarium|
|Universities||University of San Francisco, University of California, Academy of Art University|
|Tourist Places of Attractions||Transportation System|
Explore Art Galleries and Museums
Acquaint yourself with the beautiful world of art in the art museums of San Francisco. Head straight to Legion of Honor, Asian Art Museum, de Young Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Art Institute, and Xanadu Gallery. Take your kids to the Exploratorium where they will learn about the mysteries of science or spend a day at the California Academy of Sciences, the world's only aquarium-planetarium-rainforest-living museum. The city has a museum especially for children – the Children's Creativity Museum, founded in 1998. If you are interested in aviation history, then there is no better place than the SFO Museum. You will also enjoy exploring the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum which has more than 400 ‘unbelievable' exhibits.
San Francisco has quite a number of specialty museums. Some notable ones are Beat Museum (dedicated to the Beat Generation), Cable Car Museum (know all about the iconic cable cars of San Francisco), GLBT History Museum, Museum of the African Diaspora, Contemporary Jewish Museum and San Francisco Railway Museum.
Want to get a panoramic sight of the city? Climb atop the Mount Davidson, San Francisco's highest peak or drive to the Twin Peaks or better still go to the Telegraph Hill Observatory Tower to get the perfect view. The city of San Francisco is well known for its parks and gardens and some of the famous ones are the Golden Gate Park, Angel Island State Park the Golden Gate National Recreational Area (world's largest urban park), San Francisco Botanical Garden ,Japanese Tea Garden, Buena Vista Park, Don Edwards San Francisco Bay Wildlife Refuge and Conservatory of Flowers.
The San Francisco Zoo, the Aquarium of the Bay, Walt Disney Family Museum, Magowan's Infinite Mirror Maze, and House of Air are great places to spend a fun filled day with your kids.
Spend a "magical evening" watching the San Francisco Magic Show. Be at the War Memorial Opera House where San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet perform. Enjoy some eclectic music at the Herbst Theatre or listen to some jazz at the Rrazz Room, a famous Jazz bar. Another musical performance that is very popular is the Beach Blanket Babylon - the world's longest running musical revue. So, don't forget to attend it.
The local theatre scene in San Francisco is quite happening and the American Conservatory Center has been a force to reckon with since 1967. The city also plays host to a number of touring theatricals in the Theater District throughout the year.
Go hiking in San Francisco as the city has some very good hiking trails like those in the Golden Gate National Recreational Area and Marin Headlands. Drive down the 49 Mile Drive and acquaint yourself with many beautiful and historic sites of the city. You can also enjoy a bike ride in the shores of San Francisco Bay or spend your day swimming and lazing around in the beaches.
Eating out in San Francisco
San Francisco has quite a few Michelin star restaurants including The French Laundry, The Restaurant at Meadowood, Baume Restaurant, Cyrus, and Acquerello. Some other well known restaurants in San Francisco are Restaurant Gary Dunko, Hollywood Caf, Mama's, Frascati, House of Fine Rib (for American Cuisine); Perbacco, Seven Hills, Molinari Delicatessen and Tony's Pizza Napoletana (Italian); Chapeau!, Fleur De Lys, La Folie and Jardiniere Reataurant (for French cuisine), Burma Superstar Restaurant, Betelnut Pejiu Wu, The House, Budh Shanghai Restaurant, and Sanraku Japanese Restaurant (Asian) and Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop, Liguria Bakery, Acme Bread and La Boulange (bakery). San Francisco has a number of take-away joints and local eateries making food the least of your worries. Check out Famous Restaurants in San Franciso:-
- Zero-Zero Pizza
- La Mar Cebicheria
- Red Chili Restaurant
- Spanky’s Dog House
- Mexico Tortilla Factory & Deli
Shopping in San Francisco
San Francisco is a shopper's paradise. Some popular shopping centers in the city are Crocker Galleria, Embarcedaro Center, Westfield Center, Pier 39, and Union Square. If you want to get a feel of American counterculture of the sixties go shopping at the Haight Street where you will find shops selling everything from punk clothes to anarchist books. Visit Chinatown and shop for curios, carved Buddhas and exotic tea. Hayes Valley (for arty and delicate stuff), North Beach (shoes, vintage clothing and music), Mission Street (for funky items), and Polk Street (for both high end and retail shopping) are some other well known shopping areas in San Francisco.
Higher Education Institutions in San Francisco
The University of California, San Francisco is one of the top five medical schools in the US. The city is home to Hastings College of Law, the oldest law school in California and the Academy of Art University, the largest art and design institute in the US. San Francisco State University, City College of San Francisco, University of San Francisco (oldest institute of higher education in San Francisco), Golden Gate University, San Francisco Art Institute (oldest art school in western Mississippi), California College of the Arts, San Francisco Conservatory of Music (sole independent music school in west coast) are some other important educational institutes in this city.
"San Francisco has only one drawback - 'tis hard to leave" , said Rudyard Kipling. That indeed it is and yet your vacation at San Francisco is likely to be an unforgettable one.
Last Updated on : June 26, 2014