San Francisco, formally the City and County of San Francisco, is Northern California’s cultural, commercial, and financial capital, as well as the state’s only combined city-county. San Francisco County has an area of around 46.9 square miles (121 km2) on the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, making it the state’s smallest county. It has a population density of around 18,451 people per square mile (7,124 people per km2), making it the most densely inhabited significant city in the state of California (population larger than 200,000) and the second most densely populated major city in the United States after New York City. San Francisco is the fourth most populous city in California, after Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose, and the thirteenth most populated city in the United States, with an estimated 2015 population of 864,816 according to the Census Bureau. The city and its environs are collectively referred to as the San Francisco Bay Area. They are included in the larger OMB-designated San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland combined statistical area, which is the sixth most populous in the country with an estimated population of 8.7 million.
San Francisco (Spanish for Saint Francis) was created on June 29, 1776, when Spanish colonists erected the Presidio of San Francisco near the Golden Gate and the Mission San Francisco de Assisi a few miles away, both named after St. Francis of Assisi. The California Gold Rush of 1849 accelerated expansion, establishing Sacramento as the West Coast’s biggest metropolis at the time. In 1856, San Francisco was united as a city-county. After the 1906 earthquake and fire devastated three-quarters of the city, San Francisco was rebuilt fast and hosted the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later. San Francisco served as the embarkation point for military men heading to the Pacific Theater during World War II. Following the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, massive immigration, liberalizing attitudes, the rise of the “hippie” counterculture, the Sexual Revolution, the Peace Movement, and other factors culminated in the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, establishing San Francisco as a hub of liberal activism in the United States. Politically, the city leans heavily toward the liberal Democratic Party.
San Francisco is a renowned tourist destination noted for its mild summers, fog, steep rolling hills, diverse mix of architecture, and attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Chinatown. San Francisco is also home to five major financial institutions and a variety of other businesses, including Levi Strauss & Co., Gap Inc., Salesforce.com, Dropbox, Reddit, Square, Inc., Dolby, Airbnb, Weebly, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Yelp, Pinterest, Twitter, Uber, Lyft, Mozilla, and the Wikimedia Foundation. It is known by a variety of nicknames, including “The City by the Bay,” “Fog City,” “San Fran,” and “Frisco,” as well as more traditional ones such as “The City that Knows How,” “Baghdad by the Bay,” “The Paris of the West,” and simply “The City.” As of 2015, San Francisco was recognized as one of the world’s most livable cities.
San Francisco – Info Card
|POPULATION :||• City and county 864,816|
• Density 18,451/sq mi (7,124/km2)
• Metro 4,656,132 (11th)
• CSA 8,713,914 (5th)
|FOUNDED :||Mission June 29, 1776|
Incorporated April 15, 1850
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone Pacific Time Zone (UTC−8)|
• Summer (DST) Pacific Daylight Time (UTC−7)
|AREA :||• City and county 231.89 sq mi (600.6 km2)|
• Land 46.87 sq mi (121.4 km2)
• Water 185.02 sq mi (479.2 km2) 80.00%
• Metro 3,524.4 sq mi (9,128 km2)
|ELEVATION :||Highest elevation 934 ft (285 m)|
Lowest elevation 0 ft (0 m)
|COORDINATES :||37°47′N 122°25′W|
|SEX RATIO :|
|AREA CODE :||415/628|
|POSTAL CODE :||94102–94105, 94107–94112, 94114–94134, 94137, 94139–94147, 94151, 94158–94161, 94163–94164, 94172, 94177, 94188|
|DIALING CODE :|
Tourism in San Francisco
San Francisco, the Bay Area’s epicenter, is one of the world’s most visited cities, and for good reason. San Francisco, the cultural epicenter of northern California, is recognized for its unique blend of natural beauty and culture, making it one of the most lively and desired cities in the country, if not the globe.
San Francisco, sandwiched between the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean on a small square of land seven miles (11 kilometers) on each side, offers a wealth of treasures for the visitor, from the windswept and frequently foggy bay to the steep hills lined with Victorian homes that overlook the city’s spectacular scenery. The city’s many neighborhoods reflect the city’s ethnic and cultural variety, from the busy and vibrant streets of Chinatown to the eclectic attitudes of the Castro and the dazzling condominium skyscrapers constructed on the city’s newly acquired tech-savvy image.
Despite this, San Francisco is just one of the cities that comprise the San Francisco Bay Area. At the heart of a 7.6 million-person metropolitan region, the city serves as an excellent jumping-off point for exploring the wonders of San Francisco’s neighbors to the east over the Bay Bridge, to the north beyond the Golden Gate Bridge, and to the south along the peninsula. There is plenty to see to fill a lifetime, and it will become evident why people continue to make their way to this wonderful location.
San Francisco takes pride in its inclusiveness of people of many races, genders, sexual orientations, and personal styles. This characteristic is often regarded as one of the city’s distinguishing characteristics, attracting both tourists and transplants.
English is the most widely spoken language in San Francisco. San Francisco has the second biggest Chinese population in the United States, behind New York City, and Cantonese is widely spoken across the city’s numerous Chinese-dominated areas, with an emerging Mandarin-speaking minority. As with all of California, San Francisco has a sizable Latin American population, and Spanish is widely spoken, particularly in the Mission District. The majority of municipal government services are provided in the following languages: English, Cantonese, and Spanish.
Tobacco smokers beware: smoking is prohibited in bars, restaurants, and other public areas, just as it is in the rest of California. Additionally, the City and County of San Francisco have enacted a municipal regulation requiring smokers to go entirely to the curb (or if there is no curb, at least 25 feet from any building – not simply the entrances). As of January 2013, enforcement is uneven, and the likelihood of being ticketed for smoking outside a restaurant or bar is small. People in the Bay Area may be extremely vociferous about their personal habits, so exercise caution and be attentive and considerate of others while smoking, even in locations where smoking is permitted.
On the other side, marijuana smoking is quite well tolerated. If you are traveling from another state in the United States, you may be shocked to learn that San Franciscans, and even the city’s police, do not see marijuana as an issue. While marijuana remains illegal under federal law, a 2006 statute designated marijuana as the SFPD’s lowest priority. This is not to say that you should smoke marijuana anyplace, but navigating the laws of politeness may be challenging. At major events, you will see individuals smoking marijuana, but not at small performances. In certain communities (e.g., Haight-Ashbury), you’ll see individuals smoking marijuana on a street corner throughout the day, yet it’s frowned upon in others (e.g., the Financial District).
In recent decades, some inhabitants have glorified public nakedness. However, there has been significant debate around public nudity in San Francisco in recent years. There is currently a legislation prohibiting various forms of public nakedness, which nudists are actively protesting.
It’s worth noting that inhabitants generally despise many of the city’s nicknames. Rather of using the abbreviations “San Fran,” “Frisco,” or “SFO,” the majority of people refer to San Francisco by its entire name or simply “The City.”
The Bay Area is home to one of the world’s most active high-tech startup environments. While the majority of venture capital companies are concentrated in the South Bay, the majority of small businesses and tech employees are concentrated in San Francisco.
CONVENTIONS AND TOURISM
Tourism is the city’s biggest private sector employer, accounting for more than one in every seven employment. Due to the city’s frequent representation in music, cinema, and popular culture, the city and its monuments are instantly identifiable on a global scale. It receives the fifth-highest number of international visitors of any American city and is ranked among the top 100 most visited cities globally by Euromonitor International. In 2014, San Francisco welcomed almost 18 million tourists, pouring US$10.67 billion into the economy. San Francisco is a popular location for yearly meetings and conferences due to its extensive hotel infrastructure and world-class convention facilities, the Moscone Center.
Pier 35 is now used by the port to service the 60–80 cruise ship visits and 200,000 people who visit San Francisco each year. From San Francisco, itineraries often include round-trip cruises to Alaska and Mexico. As a successor, the new Terminal Project at Pier 27 is slated to open in 2014. The present major terminal at Pier 35 lacks both the capacity to accommodate growing cruise ship sizes and the facilities required for an international cruise port.
Increased interest in conventioneering in San Francisco, as evidenced by the establishment of convention centers such as Yerba Buena, acted as a feeder into the local tourist economy, resulting in an expansion of the hotel industry: “In 1959, the city had fewer than thirty-three hundred first-class hotel rooms; by 1970, the number had increased to nine thousand; and by 1999, the number had increased to over thirty thousand.” The Castro District’s commercialisation has benefited San Francisco’s tourism industry.
- San Francisco Visitor Information Center, 900 Market St (next to the cable car turnaround at Market & Powell, near Union Square), +1 415 391-2000, fax: +1 415 362-7323. May through October: M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa-Su and holidays 9AM-3PM. November through April: M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa and holidays 9AM-3PM. Closed Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
- California Welcome Center, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Building P, Second Level, +1 415 981-1280, e-mail: [email protected]
Climate of San Francisco
San Francisco’s climate is warm, with chilly, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. In most months, the maximum temperature will hover in the mid 50s, 60s, or low 70s Fahrenheit (between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius). These moderate temperatures, however, conceal a climate that is not shared by other large cities in the state or nation.
Summer days often begin with fog and gradually dissipate near the ocean, resulting in a bright, if windy, afternoon. Precipitation that can be measured occurs seldom throughout the summer months, but light drizzle is possible. Humidity is quite consistent, yet seldom causes discomfort. Late afternoon, when the fog and wind return, most people need a jacket (although it is July!). Certain days, the fog remains all day.
The rainy season is in full swing throughout the winter. Having said that, the likelihood of a quiet, windless, bright day is actually greater in the winter than in the summer! Winter temperatures, on the other hand, will be lower.
In San Francisco, spring and autumn are not so much seasons as they are brief transitional times with some days like summer and others resembling winter. Fall is an excellent time to come since the summer wind and fog have passed, but the rainy season has not yet begun. September, when summer gives way to autumn, is the hottest and driest month of the year in San Francisco. Around this time of year, heat waves are not uncommon.
San Francisco, within these broad guidelines, also features a range of microclimates caused by the city’s geography and marine location. The city’s central hills block most of the fog, wind, and precipitation that comes in from the Pacific Ocean. As a result, large weather changes between various portions of the city and the neighboring Bay Area may occur concurrently. By and large, windward locations along the coast (e.g., the Outer Sunset) are colder and foggy, but leeward areas in the east are warmer and drier (e.g., the Mission). Temperature differentials of 10-15 degrees or more are not uncommon on days when fog lingers on the city’s western side. These contrasts persist as you go east, out of the city, through the East Bay, and into the outer East Bay (on the other side of the hills from Berkeley and Oakland), where it may be much hotter and drier. Local meteorologists provide three predictions each day: one for the shore, one for the bay, and one for the interior districts. In summary, if you dislike the weather, consider traveling a few miles east or west to find a climate that suits you.
Geography of San Francisco
San Francisco is situated on the United States’ West Coast near the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, and its limits include considerable parts of the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. The city encompasses many gorgeous islands, including Alcatraz, Treasure Island, and the nearby Yerba Buena Island, as well as minor areas of Alameda Island, Red Rock Island, and Angel Island. Additionally, the uninhabited Farallon Islands are included, which are located in the Pacific Ocean 27 miles (43 kilometers) offshore. Within the city boundaries, the landmass essentially forms a “seven-by-seven-mile square,” a typical local colloquialism referring to the city’s shape, but its overall size, including water, is almost 232 square miles (600 km2).
Within the city borders, there are more than 50 hills. Certain neighborhoods, such as Nob Hill, Potrero Hill, and Russian Hill, are called for the hills on which they are located. A range of less densely inhabited hills are located around the city’s geographic center, southwest of the downtown area. Twin Peaks is a prominent viewing area formed by a pair of hills that create one of the city’s highest points. Mount Davidson, San Francisco’s highest peak, is 928 feet (283 meters) tall and is crowned with a 103-foot (31-meter) tall crucifix constructed in 1934. Sutro Tower, a massive red and white radio and television transmission tower, dominates this region.
The adjacent San Andreas and Hayward Faults are responsible for a significant amount of earthquake activity, despite the fact that neither runs through the city. The earthquakes of 1906 and 1989 were caused by the San Andreas Fault. Minor earthquakes occur often. The possibility of big earthquakes plays a significant influence in the development of the city’s infrastructure. The city built an alternative water supply system and has updated its building regulations many times, necessitating retrofits for older structures and higher engineering requirements for new construction. Thousands of smaller structures, on the other hand, remain susceptible to seismic damage. The USGS has issued its California seismic prediction, which forecasts earthquake activity in the state.
The seashore of San Francisco has extended beyond its natural limitations. Entire neighborhoods, including the Marina, Mission Bay, and Hunters Point, as well as portions of the Embarcadero, are built on landfill. Treasure Island was formed using material dredged from the water and by burrowing through Yerba Buena Island during the Bay Bridge’s construction. This kind of terrain is prone to becoming unstable during earthquakes. As seen in the Marina neighborhood after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the subsequent liquefaction caused considerable damage to the property constructed atop it. The majority of the city’s natural waterways, including Islais Creek and Mission Creek, have been culverted and covered over, but the Public Utilities Commission is considering ideas to daylight or restore several streams.
Economy of San Francisco
San Francisco’s service sector is diverse, with jobs in a variety of professional services, including financial services, tourism, and (increasingly) high technology. Around 25% of employees were engaged in professional business services in 2012, followed by 16% in government services, 15% in leisure and hospitality, 11% in education and health care, and 9% in financial activities. The five-county San Francisco metropolitan area’s GDP was $388.3 billion in 2013.
In the early twentieth century, the legacy of the California Gold Rush elevated San Francisco to prominence as the West Coast’s primary banking and financial hub. Montgomery Street in San Francisco’s Financial District earned the moniker “Wall Street of the West” due to its proximity to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Wells Fargo’s corporate offices, and the now-defunct Pacific Coast Stock Exchange. Bank of America, a pioneer in making banking services affordable to the middle class, was formed in San Francisco and in the 1960s erected its corporate offices in the famous modern skyscraper at 555 California Street. Numerous prominent financial institutions, global banks, and venture capital companies have regional offices in the city or are headquartered there. With more than 30 international financial institutions, six Fortune 500 companies, and a sizable support infrastructure of professional services—including law, public relations, architecture, and design—San Francisco has been designated an Alpha(-) World City and is ranked 10th among the world’s top financial centers.
Since the 1990s, San Francisco’s economy has shifted away from banking and tourism and toward developing sectors like as high technology, biotechnology, and medical research. Jobs in technology accounted for less than 1% of San Francisco’s GDP in 1990, but increased to 4% in 2010 and an expected 8% by the end of 2013. San Francisco became a mecca for Internet start-ups during the 1990s dot-com bubble and the ensuing late-2000s social media boom (decade). Since 2010, San Francisco has drawn a greater percentage of venture capital investment than neighboring Silicon Valley, with 423 financings totaling US$4.58 billion in 2013. In 2004, the city authorized a payroll tax exemption for biotechnology businesses to stimulate expansion in the Mission Bay district, which is home to the University of California, San Francisco’s second campus and hospital (UCSF). Mission Bay is home to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, and the Gladstone Institutes, in addition to over 40 private-sector life sciences enterprises.
The municipal government is the city’s largest employer, employing 5.3 percent (25,000+ individuals) of the city’s population, followed by UCSF, which employs over 22,000 people. California Pacific Medical Center, the biggest private sector employer, ranks third at 1.8 percent (8,500+ employees). 85 percent of city establishments are small enterprises with less than ten workers or self-employed individuals, while the number of San Franciscans employed by businesses with more than 1,000 employees has decreased by half since 1977. Political and municipal consensus have purposefully made it difficult for major large box and formula retail chains to expand within 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 restrict the neighborhoods where formula retail establishments can set up shop, an effort affirmed by San Francisco voters.
As is the case with many other American towns, San Francisco had had a sizable manufacturing sector, employing about 60,000 people in 1969, but by the 1980s, practically all industry had shifted to cheaper regions. As of 2014, San Francisco has had a minor manufacturing revival, with over 4,000 manufacturing employment spread over 500 enterprises, more than tripling from 2011. Anchor Brewing Company is the city’s top manufacturing employment, while Timbuk2 is the city’s greatest income generator.
Internet, Communication in San Francisco
San Francisco’s area codes are 415 and 628. For all calls inside the city, dial 1+area code+number. Dial 1+area code+number inside the United States or Canada, and 011+country code+city code(if applicable)+number for overseas calls. Pay phones are becoming more rare in San Francisco, as practically everyone has a smartphone. When you do locate one, bear in mind that they accept only pennies and dial-to-use phone cards. Local calls begin at $0.50 per minute.
To connect to the internet, internet cafés are scattered around the city center. Numerous coffee shops and cafés also provide wireless Internet access for free or a nominal cost. Union Square offers free access. To check your email in a more picturesque location, visit the Apple Store on Stockton at Ellis near Market in Union Square or any of the several public libraries, including the main branch on Market near the Civic Center Metro.
Additionally, individuals going with laptop computers may often encounter an open, free signal that is being installed around the city by a firm named Meraki. The “Free the Net” signal has been unlocked and is now available for usage.
Numerous street corners have blue mailboxes for mail such as letters and postcards. Post offices operated by the United States Postal Service sell stamps and send goods, while various private firms offer additional services.