San Francisco is a major city on the west coast of the USA in the state of California. By population, the city ranks 4th in the state and 12th in the US. In 2013 the city has more than 837 thousand inhabitants. At the same time, San Francisco ranks second in the US in terms of population density (among cities with a population of more than 200,000 inhabitants). Territory located in the north of the peninsula of San Francisco city covers an area of 121 square kilometers. San Francisco is the financial, cultural and transportation center of the large metropolitan area of the San Francisco Bay with a population of 7.4 million.
Located halfway between London and Tokyo, between Seattle and San Diego, San Francisco has an important economic importance and attracts the attention of big business. One of the foundations of the local economy is, of course, tourism. San Francisco ranks third in the US in terms of the number of foreign tourists visiting the city. So in 2007 the city was visited by over 16 million people.
The San Francisco region has a large port of Auckland, eight other smaller ports and three key airports that provide about 30 percent of the entire West Coast trade. Since the time of the gold rush San Francisco is considered an important financial center. A number of high-tech industries, companies, research centers are concentrated in the region. In addition, do not forget that to the south of the San Francisco Bay is the famous Silicon Valley (Silicon Valley) – a huge technology center that has a strong impact on the economy of the region. The pharmaceutical industry is highly developed, hundreds of companies dealing with medical electronics, genetic engineering, biotechnology work in the region.
More than 53% of the adult population of the city have a bachelor’s degree or higher. High rates of education of the population and the presence of a mass of skilled workers in the region lead to strong competition in the labor market. In turn, the hard labor market, as well as the high cost of housing, food and other consumer goods, mean that the cost of living in San Francisco is one of the highest in the United States.
San Francisco is located in a very picturesque place where the Pacific Ocean, through the narrow Golden Gate Strait, cuts into the mainland and forms the Gulf of San Francisco. The city of San Francisco is located on the northern part of the peninsula of the same name and is surrounded on three sides by water: from the west by the Pacific Ocean, from the north by the Golden Gate Strait and from the east by the Bay of San Francisco. Other large cities in the region are Auckland and San Jose.
For the most part, the city is built up with low-rise buildings, tightly surrounded by a multi-storey center. San Francisco is a compact city with more than 800 thousand people, because of the working and tourists, the total number of people often exceeds 1 million. The city occupies the 2 nd position in the list of major US cities in terms of population density after New York. The lack of free land restrains the growth of the population of the city and directly affects the growth of property prices.
The famous hills of San Francisco are one of the landmarks of the city. Because of the discrepancies in the terminology, different sources give different data on the number of hills within the city, one can definitely say that there are more than 50 of them. Many hills in themselves are a landmark, others have a wonderful view. For example, with a popular tourist attraction of the hill of Twin Peaks (Twin Peaks), you can see most of the city.
In San Francisco, there are about 40 districts, many of which are very individual and do not resemble one another. The most noteworthy central areas of the city are Castro District, Chinatown, Financial District, Civic Center, Haight-Ashbury, Union Square, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, Embarcadero, South of Market (SoMa).
Embarcadero is a northeastern area along the San Francisco embankment.
Fisherman’s Wharf – Fisherman’s Wharf area is one of the liveliest attractions in San Francisco. In the area are the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, a popular pier 39, an excellent aquarium, many restaurants and shops.
Financial District (“FiDi”) – the tallest building in San Francisco 555 California Street and the memorable Transamerica Pyramid are located in the financial center of the city. This is the district of banks, law firms, corporate headquarters. There are also several large shopping centers.
North Beach – being a historically Italian district, today it is a district of night clubs, restaurants and bars. The Coit Tower on top of Telegraph Hill is a very popular sight in San Francisco.
Union Square is an area around Union Square, very popular with tourists with a large concentration of shops, restaurants and entertainment.
Chinatown is a “city in the city” with exotic shops, markets, temples and small museums.
Nob Hill is an expensive and prestigious area where wealthy people live. Here are the most famous and expensive hotels in San Francisco. There is also the Cathedral Grace Cathedral.
Russian Hill is a prestigious area, best known for the winding streets of Lombard Street.
Civic Center – here is the city municipality of San Francisco (San Francisco City Hall), two large areas of the Civic Center Plaza and the United Nations Plaza, as well as a number of buildings in the classic architectural style.
South of Market (SoMa) is a large and diverse area with several museums, including the popular Zeum Children’s Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Haight-Ashbury – since the 1960s – the center of the counterculture, a favorite place for hippies and punks. Next to the park Alamo Square park are rows of Victorian houses, known as Painted Ladies (“Painted Ladies”).
Castro is the “world capital of homosexuals.
Attractions and interesting places
One of the main attractions of San Francisco is Golden Gate Park (Golden Gate Park). Stretching for 5 km, the western part of the park goes to the beach Ocean Beach (Ocean Beach). The wide beach of Ocean Beach runs along the west coast of San Francisco, from the San Francisco Zoo to the park with the symbolic name “Edge of the Earth” – the Last End (Lands End). From the rocky shores of the Lands End offers a breathtaking view of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Pacific Ocean and the entrance to the bay.
Not far from Lands End is Lincoln Park, in the center of which is the Art Museum of Legion of Honor. Further to the north lie the territory of Presidio of San Francisco or simply Presidio. Being for more than 200 years a military object, now it is mostly a forest-covered parkland, with hills that offer wonderful views. The main attraction of Presidio is the Golden Gate Bridge.
The eastern part of Presidio borders on the Marina area. Approximately on the border of these areas is the architectural composition Palace of Fine Arts – a favorite place for tourists and wedding ceremonies. Behind the Palace of Fine Arts is the innovative interactive museum Exploratorium.
East of the Marina area are the areas that are directly adjacent to the center of San Francisco and are very popular with tourists: Rashen Hill (Russian Hill, Russian Hill), Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach, Telegraph Hill, Embarcadero.
In the bay area there are many islands, the most notable of which are the three islands. First of all, this is the former prison island of Alcatraz (Alcatraz), as well as the islands of Angel Island and Treasure Island. Alcatraz – the most popular attraction, you can get to the island by ferry, which leaves from one of the piers of Fisherman’s Wharf.
The port of San Francisco was once considered the largest and most promising seaport on the west coast. With the development of container traffic, the importance of the port decreased and many berths were abandoned. Despite the fact that the port of San Francisco is still functioning, the commercial shipping center shifted to neighboring Auckland. Today, the infrastructure of the port is used as an integral element of urban tourism and recreation.
The famous building of the marine terminal The San Francisco Ferry Building, located on the Embarcadero embankment, has a dual purpose and is used as a shopping center and as a marina. Every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday the most famous food market in San Francisco is operating here. The terminal tower, with an antique clock on top, is located directly opposite the main street of San Francisco – Market Street (Market Street) and is visible from a few kilometers.
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is located 20 km south of the city center. This is the second largest passenger airport in California after the Los Angeles International Airport. San Francisco International Airport is one of the ten most busy airports in the US.
Compact size of the city, many streets with one-way traffic, unusual navigation and expensive parking make driving quite troublesome. It is believed that San Francisco has the best public transport system on the West Coast, which is used by about a third of the city. Read more – transport in San Francisco.
In San Francisco, 2 professional clubs are based in the leading sports leagues. This is the baseball team “Giants” (San Francisco Giants), performing at the stadium AT & T Park, as well as the American football team San Francisco 49ers. “49ers” is the nickname of gold miners who arrived in 1849 in Northern California and participated in the “gold rush.” The football team performs at the open stadium Candlestick Park, but in 2015 a new stadium will be built in Santa Clara near San Jose.
The climate in San Francisco is special. The location at the southern latitude (south of Sochi) in combination with cold currents leads to an amazingly mild climate with a small seasonal temperature difference. The average temperature of January – the coldest month – 9.7 C. The warmest – September – 17.7 C. From November to January, the rainy season lasts, at nights it is quite cold, but the temperature does not drop below zero. In February and March it rains, but can be relatively dry, flowers and trees start blooming. April, May – clear and dry, fog is possible. This is one of the best periods to visit San Francisco. From June to August, warm days begin without rain, but in the evenings it can be cold when a fog is formed. September, October is another good time for visiting the city, clear days and a little fog. The wet and cold fog enveloping the city – is one of the business cards of San Francisco. It very quickly covers entire areas of the city and also quickly recedes.