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San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco steep San Francisco steepPhoto: Cliff Mosdall in the public domain

San Francisco is a spectacular peninsula surrounded by water on three sides. This modern city has become one of America's most favorite cities and is visually spectacular, boasting world-famous steep hills with sweeping views of San Francisco Bay and the breathtaking Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge was opened in 1937 and was the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time.

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San Francisco panorama with Golden Gate BridgeSan FranciscoPhoto: Paul h in the public domain

The city of San Francisco is part of the state of California and is located at the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula. It is the fourth largest city in California in terms of population. The Pacific Ocean forms the western boundary of the peninsula and San Francisco Bay is to the east. In all, there are three major districts - the center (between the Bay, Market Street and Van Ness Avenue), the south district (south of Market Street) and the western side of the city, which consists mainly of residential areas and Pacific Heights, Richmond, Golden Gate Park and Marina.


San Francisco's climate is heavily influenced by the Pacific Ocean. The weather is therefore moderate for most of the year and can be classified as Mediterranean. Summers are cool and pleasant, while winters are relatively warm. In summer, temperatures fluctuate between 15°C and 24°C, in winter between 10°C and 15°C. It hardly ever rains in San Francisco in the summer, unlike in the winter. A special feature of the weather in San Francisco is the fog. You can visit San Francisco at any time of the year.


Archaeological excavations indicate that the San Francisco Bay area was already inhabited around 3000 BC. The first European mention of the place was in the year 1769 when San Francisco was founded and colonized by the Spanish. San Francisco becomes part of Mexico in 1821. The Englishman William Richardson renovated the city in a European style and many American settlers flocked to it.

Port of San Francisco during the time of the Gold RushPort of San Francisco during the time of the Gold RushPhoto: Public Domain

The Gold Rush caused the population to grow, and treasure hunters from all over the world came to the port city. The Gold Rush and the establishment of the fort on Alcatraz brought San Francisco officially and definitively under American control. The population increased further with the discovery of silver in 1859. These developments brought entrepreneurs to the city who established the first transcontinental railroad. The port of San Francisco made the city an important center of trade.

San Francisco Tram Starting PointSan Franciso Tram Starting pointPhoto: Cliff Mosdall in the public domain

San Francisco became an expensive and luxurious city at the beginning of the twentieth century. The city has a number of important historical feats, the UN Charter was signed here in 1945 and the war with Japan ended with the Treaty of San Francisco in 1951. During the 1970s, the city became an important center for the gay movement. In the 1990s, the internet era gave the city a new revival.


San Francisco Fun San Francisco FunPhoto: Cliff Mosdall in the public domain

San Francisco's main attractions include the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the Japanese Tea Garden, City Hall, and Fishermans Wharf. There are also a number of interesting museums to visit.

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge San FranciscoPhoto: Rich Niewiroski Jr. CC 2.5 Generic no changes made

When the Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937 it was the longest suspension bridge in the world and was nothing short of a technical feat. This monumental bridge is 1280 meters long and is also accessible to pedestrians. You can walk along the sides of the bridge. There are some beautiful vantage points with spectacular views of the bay. There is also a visitor center and you can book helicopter and kayak tours.

Alcatraz San Francisco Alcatraz San FranciscoPhoto: D Ramey Logan CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Alcatraz was once a prison for America's most dangerous criminals. Alcatraz is no longer in use as a prison, but is part of a national park. A visit to this prison is a reliving of the past and a must in your itinerary. Guided tours of Alcatraz are very popular and must be booked in advance. Alternatively, you can take the audio tour that uses the voices of real Alcatraz guards and inmates.

Japanese Tea Garden in San FranciscoJapanese Tea Garden in San FranciscoPhoto: Caroline Culler CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The traditional Japanese tea garden is without a doubt the most peaceful place in the city of San Francisco and covers approximately five acres. The garden has ponds with koi carp, a large authentic pagoda, beautiful Japanese maples, bamboo, an impressive ornate bridge, waterfalls and you can drink green tea.

San Francisco Town HallSan Francisco Town HalloPhoto: King of Hearts CC3.0 Unported no changes made

San Francisco's original City Hall was completed in 1899, but was completely destroyed in a devastating earthquake just seven years later. The current City Hall was built between 1913 and 1915 during the period of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The building itself is impressive and was designed by two leading architects from Paris. At the top of the building is a large dome, which is based on the dome of St. Peter's in Vatican City in Rome. It is the fifth largest dome in the world. Over the years, some famous events have taken place here. Marilyn Monroe was married in 1954 in this town hall and more recently more than 100 gay and lesbian couples were married by the mayor.

San Francisco Fisherman' s Warf San Francisco Fisherman' s WarfPhoto: Cliff Mosdall in the public domain

Fisherman's Warf has many shops, arcades, seafood restaurants, cafes, amusement rides, street vendors, rides and beautiful ocean views. You will see the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and Angel Island. Pier 39 is the number one tourist attraction and a real crowd puller in the city. Hundreds of sea lions lounge around in the California sun around Pier 39.

California Academy of Science in San Francisco California Academy of Science in San FranciscoPhoto: Public domain

The California Academy of Sciences is located in Golden Gate Park. The museum was founded in the mid-1800s and moved to its current site in 2008. The cost was over $ 500 million and the building was praised for its environmentally friendly, sustainable architecture. The big attractions are the Kimball Natural History Museum, the African Hall, the Morrison Planetarium and the Steinhart Aquarium. The museum attracts more than a million visitors per year who are particularly interested in the living green roof, which covers an area of approximately 1 hectare.

Expolatorium San FranciscoExpolatorium San FranciscoPhoto: Figure8 CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The Exploratorium was founded by the physicist Frank Oppenheimer in the year 1969. It is a science museum with a focus on scientific mysteries and the languages of the world. Hundreds of languages are being unraveled and family tree research is being done.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art San Francisco Museum of Modern ArtPhoto: Vincent Bloch in the public domain

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is on 3rd Street, where it is close to both the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Yerba Buena Gardens. The museum was founded in 1935 after a generous donation of paintings. In 1995 the Museum of Modern Art moved to 3rd Street from its previous location in the War Memorial Veterans Building. It is now home to a huge collection of contemporary masterpieces. You will see works by Mark Rothko, Costantin Brancusi, Gearges Braque, Marcel Duchamp, Frida Kahlo and Paul Klee, among others. Recently, the roof garden opened, which functions as an open-air exhibition space.


San Francisco Street Scene with Tram San Francisco Street Scene with Tram Photo: Cliff Mosdall in the public domain

Union Square is San Francisco's shopping hub. But for cheap gifts, you better head to Chinatown. For vintage fashion and rare CDs, Haight Street is the place to go. North Beach has bookstores and food lovers should head to Ferry Building Marketplace on the Embarcadero. Most stores are open daily from 10am to 6pm.

Aquarium of the Bay in San FranciscoAquarium of the Bay in San FranciscoPhoto: Binksternet CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The San Francisco Bay Aquarium is an exciting place to see literally thousands of sea creatures, from small fish to huge sharks. There are tunnels and walkways under and over huge tanks filled with sharks, fish, eels and many other San Francisco Bay native marine life. A visit to the aquarium is an unforgettable experience and a very fun outing with children.

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Last updated May 2024
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