San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

Infobox Settlement
official_name = City and County of San Francisco
nickname = The City by the Bay, The CityFact|date=October 2008, Frisco, [cite news
last = Sullivan | first = James
title = Frisco, that once-verboten term for the city by the bay, is making a comeback among the young and hip. Herb Caen is spinning at warp speed.
url =
work = Datebook | publisher = San Francisco Chronicle
location = San Francisco
page = D-1
date = 2003-10-14
accessdate = 2008-06-12
] [Many tourists refer to San Francisco as "Frisco", a name popularized through songs like Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay and Sweet Little Sixteen. However, locals discourage this use and prefer the nickname "The City by the Bay." Samuel D. Cohen writes that many credit "Friscophobia" to newspaper columnist Herb Caen, whose first book, published in 1953, was "Don't Call it Frisco." Caen was considered by many to be the recognized authority on what was, and what was not, beneath the city's dignity, and to him, Frisco was intolerable. cite web | last =Cohen | first =Sam | title = Locals Know best: only tourists call it 'Frisco'| work = Golden Gater Online| publisher = San Francisco State University | date = 1997-09-11| url = | accessdate = 2008-07-13] The City That Knows How (archaic), [cite web
last= San Francisco Public Library
title=PPIE: The City That Knows How
work=Amusing America
publisher=San Francisco Public Library, Online Exhibitions
] Baghdad by the Bay [cite book
last = Caen
first = Herb
authorlink = Herb Caen
title = Baghdad-by-the-Bay
publisher = Doubleday
date = 1949
location = Garden City, N.Y.
id = LC F869.S3 C12
isbn = 978-0891740476
settlement_type = City
motto = "Oro en Paz, Fierro en Guerra"
(Spanish for "Gold in Peace, Iron in War")

imagesize = 250px
image_caption = San Francisco from the Marin Headlands, with the Golden Gate Bridge in the foreground

flag_size = 100px

seal_size = 100px

mapsize = 200px
map_caption = Location of San Francisco, California

subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = California

government_type = Consolidated city-county
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Gavin Newsom
leader_title1 = Board of Supervisors
leader_name1 = Collapsible list
title = Supervisors
frame_style = border:none; padding: 0;
list_style = text-align:left;display:none;
1 = Jake McGoldrick
2 = Michela Alioto-Pier
3 = Aaron Peskin
4 = Carmen Chu
5 = Ross Mirkarimi
6 = Chris Daly
7 = Sean Elsbernd
8 = Bevan Dufty
9 = Tom Ammiano
10 = Sophie Maxwell
11 = Gerardo Sandoval

leader_title2 = State Assembly
leader_name2 = Collapsible list
title = Assemblymembers
frame_style = border:none; padding: 0;
list_style = text-align:left;display:none;
1 = Fiona Ma (D)
2 = Mark Leno (D)

leader_title3 = State Senate
leader_name3 = Collapsible list
title = State senators
frame_style = border:none; padding: 0;
list_style = text-align:left;display:none;
1 = Carole Migden (D)
2 = Leland Yee (D)

leader_title4 = U.S. House
leader_name4 = Collapsible list
title = Representatives
frame_style = border:none; padding: 0;
list_style = text-align:left;display:none;
1 = Nancy Pelosi (D)
2 = Jackie Speier (D)

established_title = Founded
established_date = June 29, 1776
established_title1 = Incorporated
established_date1 = April 15, 1850
founder = Lieutenant José Joaquin Moraga and Father Francisco Palóu
named_for = Saint Francis of Assisi

unit_pref = Imperial
area_total_sq_mi = 231.92
area_land_sq_mi = 46.7
area_water_sq_mi = 185.2
area_water_percent = 79.8
area_urban_sq_mi =
area_metro_sq_mi = 3524.4

elevation_ft = 52
elevation_max_ft = 925
elevation_min_ft = 0

population_as_of = 2007
population_footnotes = cite web
title = Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007
publisher = US Census Bureau
date = 2008-03-27
url =
format = XLS
accessdate = 2008-06-11
] cite web
title = San Francisco County, California
work = Population Finder
publisher = US Census Bureau
date = 2008-03-27
url =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-06-12
] cite web
title = Table 2. Annual Estimates of the Population of Combined Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007
publisher = US Census Bureau
date = 2008-03-27
url =
format = XLS
doi =
accessdate = 2008-06-12
population_total = 653,509
population_density_sq_mi = 16380
population_metro = 6,345,004
population_urban = 2,453,989

timezone = Pacific Standard Time
utc_offset = -8
timezone_DST = Pacific Daylight Time
utc_offset_DST = -7
latd= 37
latm= 46
lats= 45.48
latNS= N
longd= 122
longm= 25
longs= 9.12
longEW= W

postal_code_type = ZIP Code
postal_code = 94101–94112, 94114–94147, 94150–94170, 94172, 94175, 94177
area_code = 415
website = []
footnotes =

The City and County of San Francisco is the fourth most populous city in California and the 14th most populous city in the United States, with a 2007 estimated population of 764,976. Among the most densely populated cities in the country,cite web
title = 2000 Census: US Municipalities Over 50,000: Ranked by 2000 Population
publisher = Demographia
date = 2006-08-01
url =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-06-12
] San Francisco is part of the San Francisco Bay Area metropolitan area, which is home to more than 7.2 million people. [cite web|url=|publisher=US Census Bureau|accessdate=2008-06-30|title=Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007] The city is located at the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, with the Pacific Ocean to the west, San Francisco Bay to the east, and the Golden Gate to the north.

In 1776, the Spanish settled the tip of the peninsula, establishing a fort at the Golden Gate and a mission named for Francis of Assisi. The California Gold Rush in 1848 propelled the city into a period of rapid growth, transforming it into the largest city on the West Coast at the time. After being devastated by the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco was quickly rebuilt, hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later. During World War II, San Francisco was the send-off point for many soldiers to the Pacific Theater. After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, massive immigration, liberalizing attitudes, and other factors gave rise to the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, cementing San Francisco as a liberal bastion in the United States.

San Francisco is a popular international tourist destination famous for its landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, the cable cars, Coit Tower, and Chinatown, its steep rolling hills, and its eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture. The city is also known for its diverse, cosmopolitan population, including large and long-established Asian American, and LGBT communities.


The earliest archaeological evidence of inhabitation of the territory of the city of San Francisco dates to 3000 BC. [cite web
title=Archaeological Research Issues For The Point Reyes National Seashore - Golden Gate National Recreation Area
first=Suzanne B.
year= 2003
publisher=Sonoma State University - Anthropological Studies Center
] The Yelamu group of the Ohlone people resided in several small villages when a Spanish exploration party, led by Don Gaspar de Portolà arrived on November 2, 1769, the first documented European visit to San Francisco Bay.cite web
title= Visitors: San Francisco Historical Information
date= n.d.
publisher = City and County of San Francisco
] Seven years later, on March 28, 1776, the Spanish established the Presidio of San Francisco, followed by a mission, Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores).

Upon independence from Spain in 1821, the area became part of Mexico. In 1835, Englishman William Richardson erected the first significant homestead outside the immediate vicinity of the Mission Dolores,cite web
last= The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco
title= From the 1820s to the Gold Rush
publisher = The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco
] near a boat anchorage around what is today Portsmouth Square. Together with Mission Alcalde Francisco de Haro, he laid out a street plan for the expanded settlement, and the town, named Yerba Buena, began to attract American settlers. Commodore John D. Sloat claimed California for the United States on July 7, 1846, during the Mexican-American War, and Captain John B. Montgomery arrived to claim Yerba Buena two days later. Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco the next year. [cite web
title=History of Yerba Buena Gardens
publisher=MJM Management Group
] Despite its attractive location as a port and naval base, San Francisco was still a small settlement with inhospitable geography. [cite book
last = Wiley | first = Peter Booth
title = National trust guide- San Francisco: America’s guide for architecture and history travelers
publisher = John Wiley & Sons, Inc. | year = 2000 | location = New York | pages = pp. 4–5 | oclc = 44313415
isbn = 9780471191209

The California Gold Rush brought a flood of treasure seekers. With their sourdough bread in tow, [Sourdough bread was a staple of western explorers and miners of the 19th century. It became an iconic symbol of San Francisco, and is still a staple of city life today.cite journal
last = Tamony
first = Peter
title = Sourdough and French Bread
journal = Western Folklore
volume = 32
issue = 4
pages = 265–270
publisher = Western States Folklore Society
year = 1973 |month = October
doi = 10.2307/1498306
] prospectors accumulated in San Francisco over rival Benicia, [cite web
title = San Francisco's First Brick Building
publisher = The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco
date = 2004-07-16 | url =
accessdate = 2008-06-13
] raising the population from 1,000 in 1848 to 25,000 by December 1849. [cite book
last = Richards
first = Rand
title = Historic San Francisco: A Concise History and Guide
publisher = Heritage House
date = 1992
id = ISBN 1-879367-00-9
] 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.cite news | last = Harris | first = Ron | title = Crews Unearth Shipwreck on San Francisco Condo Project |publisher = Associated Press | date = 2005-11-14 | url = | accessdate = 2006-09-04] California was quickly granted statehood and the U.S. military built Fort Point at the Golden Gate and a fort on Alcatraz Island to secure the San Francisco Bay. Silver discoveries, including the Comstock Lode in 1859, further drove rapid population growth. [cite book
last = Wiley | first = Peter Booth
title = National trust guide- San Francisco: America’s guide for architecture and history travelers
publisher = John Wiley & Sons, Inc. | year = 2000 | location = New York | pages = pp. 31–33 | oclc = 44313415
isbn = 9780471191209
] 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. [“The miners came in forty-nine, / The whores in fifty-one, / And when they got together / They produced the native son.” cite book | last = Wiley | first = Peter Booth
title = National trust guide- San Francisco: America’s guide for architecture and history travelers
publisher = John Wiley & Sons, Inc. | year = 2000 | location = New York
pages = pp. 237–238 | oclc = 44313415 | isbn = 9780471191209

developed into the most important American military installation on the Pacific coast. [cite web
title = Under Three Flags | work = Golden Gate National Recreation Area Brochures
publisher = US Department of the Interior
year = 2004 | month = November
url = | format = PDF
doi = | accessdate = 2008-06-13
] 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. [cite book
last = Wiley | first = Peter Booth
title = National trust guide- San Francisco: America’s guide for architecture and history travelers
publisher = John Wiley & Sons, Inc. | year = 2000 | location = New York | pages = pp. 44–55 | oclc = 44313415
isbn = 9780471191209

and fire [cite journal
last = London
first = Jack
title = The Story of an Eyewitness by Jack London
journal = Collier's, The National Weekly
publisher = The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco
date = May 5, 1906
url =
] ]

At 5:12 am on April 18, 1906, a major earthquake struck San Francisco 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 Artillery Corps attempted to contain the inferno by dynamiting blocks of buildings to create firebreaks.cite web
title = Presidio of San Francisco: Firefighting and Dynamiting
work = Golden Gate National Recreation Area
publisher = US Department of the Interior | date = 2003-12-24
url =
doi = | accessdate = 2008-06-13
] More than three-quarters of the city lay in ruins, including almost all of the downtown core. [cite news
last = Montagne | first = Renée
title = Remembering the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake
work = People & Places | publisher = National Public Radio
date = 2006-04-11
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-13
] Contemporary accounts reported that 498 people lost their lives, though modern estimates put the number in the several thousands. [cite web
title = Casualties and Damage after the 1906 earthquake
work = Earthquake Hazards Program - Northern California
publisher = US Geological Survey
date = 2008-01-25
url =
doi = | accessdate = 2008-06-13
] More than half the city's population of 400,000 were left homeless. [cite web
title = Presidio of San Francisco:1906 Earthquake and Fire
work = Golden Gate National Recreation Area
publisher = US Department of the Interior | date = 2004-08-25
url =
doi = | accessdate = 2008-06-13
] 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.

Rebuilding was rapid and performed on a grand scale. Rejecting calls to completely remake the street grid, San Franciscans opted for speed.cite book
last = Wiley | first = Peter Booth
title = National trust guide- San Francisco: America’s guide for architecture and history travelers
publisher = John Wiley & Sons, Inc. | year = 2000 | location = New York
pages = pp. 56–62 | oclc = 44313415 | isbn = 9780471191209
] Amadeo Giannini's Bank of Italy, later to become Bank of America, provided loans for many of those whose livelihoods had been devastated. The destroyed mansions of Nob Hill became grand hotels. City Hall rose once again in splendorous Beaux Arts style, and the city celebrated its rebirth at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915. [cite book | last = Wiley | first = Peter Booth
title = National trust guide- San Francisco: America’s guide for architecture and history travelers
publisher = John Wiley & Sons, Inc. | year = 2000 | location = New York
page = 9 | oclc = 44313415 | isbn = 9780471191209

In ensuing years, the city solidified its standing as a financial capital; in the wake of the 1929 stock market crash, not a single San Francisco-based bank failed. [cite web
title = San Francisco Gold Rush Banking - 1849
publisher = The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco
date = 2004-06-24 | url =
accessdate = 2008-06-13
] Indeed, it was at the height of the Great Depression that San Francisco undertook two great civil engineering projects, simultaneously constructing the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, completing them in 1936 and 1937 respectively. It was in this period that the island of Alcatraz, a former military stockade, began its service as a federal maximum security prison, housing notorious inmates such as Al Capone. San Francisco later celebrated its regained grandeur with a World's Fair, the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939–40, creating Treasure Island in the middle of the bay to house it.

During World War II, the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard became a hub of activity and Fort Mason became the primary port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater of Operations. [cite web
title = Port of Embarkation Essay--World War II in the San Francisco Bay Area
work = A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary:
publisher = US Department of the Interior | date = 2007-08-28
url =
doi = | accessdate = 2008-06-13
] The explosion of jobs drew many people, especially African Americans from the South, 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 creating the United Nations was drafted and signed in San Francisco in 1945 and, in 1951, the Treaty of San Francisco officially ended the war with Japan.

Urban planning projects in the 1950s and 1960s saw 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. [cite news
last = Fang | first = Eric CY | title = Urban Renewal Revisited: A Design Critique
work = SPUR Newsletter | publisher = San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association
year = 1999 | month = February | url =
accessdate = 2008-06-13
] The Transamerica Pyramid was completed in 1972, [cite web | title = Pyramid Facts and Figures | work = Company Profile
publisher = Transamerica Insurance and Investment Group
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-13
] and in the 1980s the Manhattanization of San Francisco saw extensive high-rise development downtown.cite book
last = Wiley | first = Peter Booth
title = National trust guide- San Francisco: America’s guide for architecture and history travelers
publisher = John Wiley & Sons, Inc. | year = 2000 | location = New York
pages = pp. 95–96 | oclc = 44313415 | isbn = 9780471191209
] Port activity moved to Oakland, 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 from Asia and Latin America. [cite web
last = Willis | first = James
coauthors = Habib, Jerry, Brittan, Jeremy
title = San Francisco Planning Department Census Data Analysis
publisher = San Francisco State University
date = 2004-04-19 | url =
format = PPT | accessdate = 2008-06-13
] [cite news
last = Minton | first = Torri
title = Race Through Time
work = San Francisco Chronicle
page = SC-4
publisher = Hearst Communications
date = 1998-09-20
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-13
] Over this same period, San Francisco became a magnet for America's counterculture. Beat Generation writers fueled the San Francisco Renaissance and centered on the North Beach neighborhood in the 1950s. [cite book | last = Wiley | first = Peter Booth
title = National trust guide- San Francisco: America’s guide for architecture and history travelers
publisher = John Wiley & Sons, Inc. | year = 2000 | location = New York
pages = pp. 240–242 | oclc = 44313415 | isbn = 9780471191209
] Hippies flocked to Haight-Ashbury in the 1960s, reaching a peak with the 1967 Summer of Love. [cite web |url= |title=American Experience: Summer of Love: Film Description |accessdate=2008-06-17 |author= |date=2007-03-14 |work=Website for American Experience documentary on the Summer of Love |publisher=PBS] In the 1970s, the city became a center of the gay rights movement, with the emergence of The Castro as an urban gay village, the election of Harvey Milk to the Board of Supervisors, and his assassination, along with that of Mayor George Moscone, in 1978. [cite web |url= |title=San Francisco History: The 1970s and 1980s: Gay Rights |accessdate=2008-06-17 | work=Destinations: San Francisco |]

The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake 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 and much of the damaged Central Freeway, allowing the city to reclaim its historic downtown waterfront.

During the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, startup companies invigorated the economy. Large numbers of entrepreneurs and computer application developers moved into the city, followed by marketing and sales professionals that changed 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 continued to be mainstays of the San Francisco economy. [cite web |url=|title=City and County of San Francisco: An Overview of San Francisco’s Recent Economic Performance |accessdate=2008-06-19 |author=Ted Egan|date=2006-04-03 | format=PDF | work=Report prepared for Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development | publisher=ICF Consulting | quote=Another positive trend for the future is San Francisco’s highly entrepreneurial, flexible and innovative economy...San Francisco’s very high reliance on small business and self-employment is typical of other dynamic, fast-growing, high-technology areas across the country.]


San Francisco is located on the West Coast of the U.S. at the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula and includes significant stretches of the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay within its boundaries. Several islands are part of the city, notably Alcatraz, Treasure Island, and the adjacent Yerba Buena Island, together with small portions of Alameda Island, Angel Island, and Red Rock Island. Also included are the uninhabited Farallon Islands, 27 miles (43 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.

San Francisco is famous for its hills.There are more than 50 hills within city limits.cite news
last = Graham | first = Tom
title = Peak Experience
work = San Francisco Chronicle | page = PK-23
publisher = Hearst Communications
date = 2004-11-07
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-13
] Some neighborhoods are named after the hill on which they are situated, including Nob Hill, Pacific Heights, Russian Hill, Potrero Hill, and Telegraph Hill.

thumb|upright|left|Cars_negotiate_Lombard Street to descend Russian Hill.Near the geographic center of the city, southwest of the downtown area, are a series of less densely populated hills. Dominating this area is Mount Sutro, the site of Sutro Tower, a large red and white radio and television transmission tower. Nearby is Twin Peaks, a pair of hills resting at one of the city's highest points and a popular overlook spot for tour groups. San Francisco's tallest hill, Mount Davidson, is convert|925|ft|m|0 high and is capped with a convert|103|foot|m|0 tall cross built in 1934. [cite news |first=Henry K. |last=Lee|title=Mount Davidson Cross Called Landmark by Panel |url= |publisher=San Francisco Chronicle |date=1997-01-16 |accessdate=2008-06-17 ]

The San Andreas and Hayward Faults are responsible for much earthquake activity, even though neither passes through the city itself. It was the San Andreas Fault which slipped and 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. [cite news |first=Charles |last=Smith |title=What San Francisco didn't learn from the '06 quake |url= |publisher=San Francisco Chronicle |date=2006-04-15 |accessdate=2008-06-30 ] However, there are still thousands of smaller buildings that remain vulnerable to quake damage. [cite news |first=Robert |last=Selna |title=S.F. leaders ignore weak buildings' quake risk |url= |page= A-1 | publisher=San Francisco Chronicle |date=2008-06-29|accessdate=2008-06-30 ]

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, sit on areas of landfill. Treasure Island 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. [cite web
title = Liquefaction Damage in the Marina District during the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake
publisher = California Geological Survey
url =
format = PDF | accessdate = 2008-06-17


A quotation incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain is "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."cite news
last = Nolte | first = Carl
title = Fog Heaven: The sun will come out tomorrow. Or maybe not. It's summer in the city, and that means gray skies
work = San Francisco Chronicle
page = A-1
publisher = Hearst Communications
date = 2005-08-19
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-13
] [cite web
title = And Never the Twain Shall Tweet
work = Urban Legends Reference Pages
publisher =
date = 2007-09-26
url =
doi = | accessdate =
] San Francisco's climate is characteristic of California’s Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and dry summers. [cite web
title = Climate of San Francisco - Narrative Description
publisher = Golden Gate Weather Services
year = 2002 | url =
doi = | accessdate = 2008-06-13
] In addition, since it is surrounded on three sides by water, San Francisco's climate is strongly influenced by the cool currents of the Pacific Ocean which tends to moderate temperature swings and produce a remarkably mild climate with little seasonal temperature variation. Average summertime high temperatures in San Francisco peak at 70 °F (21 °C) and are 20 °F (9 °C) lower than in nearby inland locations like Livermore.cite web
title = Historical Weather for Livermore, California, United States of America
publisher =
year = 2008
url =
doi = | accessdate = 2008-06-14
] The highest temperature ever recorded in San Francisco was 103 °F (39 °C) on July 17, 1988 and June 14, 2000. [cite web
title = June 2000 City/State Extremes | publisher = US Department of Commerce
work = National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | date = 2004-06-24
url =
doi = | accessdate = 2008-06-13
] Winters are mild, with daytime highs near 60 °F (15 °C). Lows almost never reach freezing temperatures, though the lowest temperature ever recorded in San Francisco was 27 °F (−3 °C) on December 11, 1932. [cite web
title = San Francisco - Top 10 Temperatures
publisher = Golden Gate Weather Services
date = 2001-06-28 | url =
doi = | accessdate = 2008-06-13
] May through September is very dry, but rain is common from November through March. Snowfall is extraordinarily rare, with only 10 instances recorded since 1852. The greatest snowfall on record is 3.7 inches (9.4 cm) in downtown San Francisco, and up to 7 inches (17.8 cm) elsewhere, on February 5, 1887.cite web
last = Null | first = Jan
title = Climate of San Francisco (Third Revision) | publisher = US Department of Commerce
work = National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | year = 1995 | month = January
url =
doi = | accessdate = 2008-06-14
] The last measurable snowfall in San Francisco was on February 5, 1976, when most of the city received an inch of snow. [cite web
title = Climate of San Francisco - Snowfall
publisher = Golden Gate Weather Services
year = 2006 | url =
doi = | accessdate = 2008-06-14

The combination of cold ocean water and the high heat of the California mainland create the city's characteristic fog that can cover the western half of the city all day during the spring and early summer. The fog is less pronounced in eastern neighborhoods, in the late summer, and during the fall, which are the warmest months of the year. Due to its sharp topography and maritime influences, San Francisco exhibits a multitude of distinct microclimates. The high hills in the geographic center of the city are responsible for a 20 percent variance in annual rainfall between different parts of the city. They also protect neighborhoods directly to their east from the foggy and cool 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. [cite web
title = Historical Climate Information | work = Western Regional Climate Center
publisher = Desert Research Institute
date = 2008-01-23 | url =
doi = | accessdate = 2008-06-14



The historic center of San Francisco is the northeast quadrant of the city bordered by Market Street to the south. It is here that the Financial District is centered, with Union Square, the principal shopping and hotel district, nearby. Cable cars carry residents and tourists alike 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 from a still-active fishing industry. Also in this quadrant are Russian Hill, a residential neighborhood with the famously crooked Lombard Street, North Beach, the city's Little Italy, and Telegraph Hill, which features Coit Tower. Nearby is San Francisco's Chinatown, established in the 1860s. The Tenderloin is known as the crime-infested underbelly of the city. [cite web | title = The Tenderloin | work = SfGate San Francisco Neighborhood Guide| publisher = | url = | accessdate = 2008-06-27 ]

The Mission District was historically predominantly working-class and populated by immigrants from Mexico and Central America, but in recent years has seen rapid gentrification primarily along the Valencia Street corridor which is strongly associated with the modern hipster sub-culture. Haight-Ashbury, famously associated with 1960s hippie culture, later became home to expensive boutiques [cite web | title = The Haight | work = SfGate San Francisco Neighborhood Guide| publisher = | url = | accessdate = 2008-06-29 ] and a few controversial chain stores, [cite news |first=Katherine |last=Bishop |title=Haight-Ashbury Journal; Love and Hate Linger In Ex-Hippie District |url= |publisher=New York Times |date=1988-10-13 |accessdate=2008-06-30 ] although it still retains some bohemian character. Historically known as Eureka Valley, the area now popularly called the Castro is the center of gay life in the city. [cite web | title = The Castro | work = SfGate San Francisco Neighborhood Guide| publisher = | url = | accessdate = 2008-06-27 ]

The city's Japantown district suffered when its Japanese American residents were forcibly removed and interned during World War II. The nearby Western Addition became established with a large African American population at the same time. The "Painted Ladies," a row of well-restored Victorian homes, stand alongside Alamo Square, and the mansions built by the San Francisco business elite in the wake of the 1906 earthquake can be found in Pacific Heights. The Marina to the north is a lively area with many young urban professionals. [cite web | title = The Marina | work = SfGate San Francisco Neighborhood Guide| publisher = | url = | accessdate = 2008-06-27 ]

The Richmond, the vast region north of Golden Gate Park that extends to the Pacific Ocean, today has a portion called "New Chinatown," but also attracts immigrants from other parts of Asia and Russia. South of Golden Gate Park lies the Sunset with an Asian majority population. [cite news | last = Chow | first = Andrew
title = Dismal APA Turnout at First Redistricting Meetings
publisher = Asian Week | date = 2002-03-22
] The Richmond and the Sunset are largely middle class and, together, are known as The Avenues. Bayview-Hunter's 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.

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 during the late 1990s, by 2004 South of Market began to see skyscrapers and condominiums dot the area (see Manhattanization). 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. Just southwest of Mission Bay is the Potrero Hill neighborhood featuring sweeping views of downtown San Francisco.

Beaches and parks

Ocean Beach runs along the Pacific Ocean shoreline, but is not suitable for swimming because the waters off the coast are perennially cold and form deadly rip currents. Fort Funston, a former coastal fort along the Southwestern shore, is popular with both dog owners and hang gliders. Baker Beach is located in a picturesque cove just inside the Golden Gate and west of the Golden Gate Bridge. The largest and best-known city park is Golden Gate Park, [cite web |url= |title=The Most Visited City Parks |accessdate=2008-06-17 |date=2007-10-11 |work=Center for City Park Excellence |publisher=The Trust for Public Land] 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, Japanese Tea Garden and Strybing Arboretum. The Presidio, a former military base, and its rehabilitated Crissy Field section, recently restored to its natural salt marsh ecosystem, are a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which also encompasses Golden Gate Park, Alcatraz island and other regional parks and preserves both inside San Francisco and nearby. Lake Merced, in the southwestern quadrant of the city, is a popular fresh-water lake surrounded by parkland.

Culture and contemporary life

:main|Culture of San FranciscoSan Francisco is characterized by a high standard of living. [cite news
last = Schwarzer | first = Michelle
title = San Francisco by the Numbers: Planning After the 2000 Census
work = SPUR Newsletter | publisher = San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association
year = 2001 | month = July | url =
accessdate = 2008-06-14
] The great wealth and opportunity generated by the Internet revolution continues to draw many highly educated and high-income workers and residents to San Francisco. Numerous lower-income neighborhoods consequently have become increasingly gentrified, and many of the city's traditional business and industrial districts have experienced a renaissance driven by the redevelopment of the Embarcadero, including the neighborhoods South Beach and Mission Bay. The city's property values and household income have escalated to among the highest in the nation, [cite web
last = Sadovi | first = Maura Webber
title = San Francisco's Home Prices Remain Among the Highest in U.S.
work = Real Estate Journal
publisher = The Wall Street Journal
date = 2006-04-12
url =
doi = | accessdate = 2008-06-14
] cite web
title = Median Family Income (In 2003 Inflation-adjusted Dollars)
work = American Community Survey | publisher = US Census Bureau
date = 2007-08-22 | url =
accessdate = 2008-06-14
] [cite web
last = Hawn | first = Carleen
title = It may not feel like it, but your shot at the good life is getting better. Here's why
work = San Francisco magazine | publisher = Modern Luxury
year = 2007 |month = March | url = |archiveurl=
archivedate= 2007-02-24 | doi = | accessdate = 2008-06-14
] allowing the city to support a large restaurant and entertainment infrastructure. Because the cost of living in San Francisco is exceptionally high, many middle class families have decided they can no longer afford to live within the city and have left.cite news
last = Hendricks | first = Tyche
title = Rich City Poor City: Middle-class neighborhoods are disappearing from the nation's cities, leaving only high- and low-income districts, new study says.
work = San Francisco Chronicle
page = A-1
publisher = Hearst Communications
date = 2006-06-22
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-14

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 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 [cite news |first=James |last=Temple |title=S.F. a step ahead as most 'walkable' U.S. city |url= |page=A-1 |publisher=San Francisco Chronicle |date=2008-07-17 |accessdate=2008-07-18 ] [cite web |url= |title=WalkScore #1 San Francisco |accessdate=2008-07-18 | ] Many neighborhoods feature a mix of businesses, restaurants and venues catering to the daily needs of the community while also drawing in visitors. 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.cite news
last = Wach | first = Bonnie
title = Fog City rises from the funk.
work = USA Today | publisher = Gannett Company, Inc.
date = 2003-10-03
url =
accessdate = 2006-09-04

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 percent of its residents born overseas,cite web
last = Egan | first = Ted
title = An Overview of San Francisco's Recent Economic Performance - Executive Summary
publisher = ICF Consulting | date = 2006-04-03
url =
format = PDF | doi = | accessdate = 2008-06-14
] 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 into the largest event of its kind outside China. [cite news
last = Lam | first = Eric
title = San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade Embroiled in Controversy
publisher = The Epoch Times | date = 2005-12-22
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-14

Following the arrival of writers and artists of the 1950s—who established the modern coffeehouse culture—and the social upheavals of the 1960s, San Francisco became an epicenter of liberal activism, with Democrats and Greens dominating city politics. Indeed, San Franciscans have not provided a Republican presidential candidate more than 20 percent of the vote since the 1988 election. [cite web
last = Leip | first = Dave | authorlink =
title = Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections
publisher = Dave Leip | date = 2008-06-04
url =
doi = | accessdate = 2008-06-14
] The city's large gay and lesbian population has created and sustained a politically and culturally active community over many decades, developing a powerful presence in San Francisco's civic life. A popular destination for gay and lesbian tourists, the city hosts San Francisco Pride, an annual parade and festival.

Entertainment and performing arts

San Francisco's War Memorial and Performing Arts Center hosts some of the most enduring performing-arts companies in the U.S. The War Memorial Opera House houses the San Francisco Opera, the second largest opera company on the North American continent [The San Francisco Opera is second in size only to New York City's Metropolitan Opera] as well as the San Francisco Ballet, while the San Francisco Symphony plays in Davies Symphony Hall. The Herbst Theatre stages an eclectic mix of music performances, as well as public radio's "City Arts & Lectures."

The Fillmore is a music venue located in the Western Addition. It is the second incarnation of the historic venue which gained fame in the 1960s under the legendary concert promoter Bill Graham, housing the stage where now-famous musicians such as the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane first performed, fostering the San Francisco Sound. "Beach Blanket Babylon" 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 (A.C.T.) has been a leading force in Bay Area performing arts since its arrival in San Francisco in 1967, regularly staging original 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.


:"See also: List of museums in San Francisco The Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) houses 20th century and contemporary works of art. It moved to its iconic building in the South of Market neighborhood in 1995 and now attracts more than 600,000 visitors annually. [cite web
title = Corporate Sponsorship - Why Sponsor
publisher = San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-14
] The Palace of the Legion of Honor holds primarily classic European works of art, while the city's De Young Museum and Asian Art Museum have significant anthropological and non-European holdings.

The Palace of Fine Arts, built originally for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, today houses the Exploratorium, a popular science museum dedicated to teaching through hands-on interaction. The California Academy of Sciences is a natural history museum which also hosts the Morrison Planetarium and Steinhart Aquarium. The San Francisco Zoo maintains more than 250 animal species, many of which are designated as endangered. [cite web
title = What to See at the Zoo | publisher = San Francisco Zoo
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-14


The "San Francisco Chronicle", in which Herb Caen famously published his daily musings, is Northern California's most widely circulated newspaper. [cite web
title = Top 200 Newspapers by Largest Reported Circulation
publisher = Audit Bureau of Circulations
url = | date = 2007-03-31
archivedate= 2007-08-13
accessdate = 2008-06-14
] The "San Francisco Examiner", once the cornerstone of William Randolph Hearst's media empire and the home of Ambrose Bierce, declined in circulation over the years and now takes the form of a free daily tabloid. [cite news
last = Rosenberg | first = Scott
title = The San Francisco Examiner, 1887–2000
publisher = | date = 2000-03-21
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-15
] [cite news
last = Nolte | first = Carl
title = Examiner Staff Ends an Era With Tears, Newsroom Tales
work = San Francisco Chronicle | page = A-1 | publisher = Hearst Communications
date = 2000-11-22
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-15
] "Sing Tao Daily" claims to be the largest of several Chinese language dailies that serve the Bay Area. [cite news
last = Hua | first = Vanessa
title = Newspaper war in the Bay Area: Ming Pao becomes 6th Chinese-language daily
work = San Francisco Chronicle | page = B-1 | publisher = Hearst Communications
date = 2004-08-03
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-14
] Alternative weekly newspapers include the "San Francisco Bay Guardian" and "SF Weekly". "San Francisco Magazine" and "7x7" are major glossy magazines about San Francisco. The national newsmagazine "Mother Jones" is also based in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Bay Area is the sixth-largest TV market [cite web
title = Local Television Market Universe Estimates
publisher = Nielsen Media | date = 2007-09-22
url =
format = XLS | accessdate = 2008-06-15
] and the fourth-largest radio market [cite web
title = Arbitron Radio Market Rankings: Spring 2008
publisher = Arbitron | date = 2008-04-16
url =
doi = | accessdate = 2008-06-14
] in the U.S. The city's oldest radio station, KCBS (AM), began as an experimental station in San Jose in 1909. KALW 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 CNN, ESPN, and BBC all have regional news bureaus in San Francisco. The city's first television station was KPIX, which began broadcasting on December 24, 1948. Other prominent stations include KGO, KRON, and KTVU.

Public broadcasting outlets include both a television station and a radio station, 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. [cite web
title = Top 30 Public Radio Subscribers - Winter 2004 Arbitron
work = Radio Research Consortium | publisher = Arbitron Media Research | date = 2004-06-17
url = | format = PDF
accessdate = 2008-06-14
] San Francisco–based technology companies such as CNET and pioneered the use of the Internet as a media outlet. Leading global media targeted toward gay and lesbian audiences also are centered in San Francisco, with PlanetOut the parent company of major print newsmagazines and online communities, located in the city.


The San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL) are the longest-tenured major professional sports franchise in the city. The team began play in 1946 as an All-America Football Conference (AAFC) league charter member, moved to the NFL in 1950 and into its present stadium in Candlestick Park on Candlestick Point in 1971. The 49ers dominated the league in the 1980s and 1990s, winning five Super Bowl titles behind stars Joe Montana, Steve Young, Ronnie Lott, and Jerry Rice.

Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants left New York for California prior to the 1958 season. Though boasting stars such as Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Barry Bonds, the club has yet to win the World Series while based in San Francisco. The Giants' cross-bay rivals, the Oakland Athletics, swept the Giants in the 1989 World Series, after Game 3 in San Francisco was infamously pre-empted by the Loma Prieta earthquake. The Giants play at AT&T Park which was opened in 2000, a cornerstone project of the South Beach and Mission Bay redevelopment. [cite web
title = Federal Brownfields Tax Incentive: SBC Park
work = Brownfields
publisher = US Environmental Protection Agency
year = 2005 | month = May
url = | format = PDF
doi = | accessdate = 2008-06-15

Kezar Stadium, near the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood formerly hosted the 49ers, as well as the San Francisco Dragons of Major League Lacrosse, and the now defunct California Victory of United Soccer League (USL) First Division. The semiprofessional San Francisco Bay Seals of the USL developmental league are the second soccer team based the city.

At the collegiate level, the Dons of the University of San Francisco compete in NCAA Division I play, where Bill Russell guided the program to NCAA men's basketball championships in 1955 and 1956. The San Francisco State Gators compete in Division II.

With an ideal climate for outdoor activities, San Francisco has ample resources and opportunities for amateur and participatory sports and recreation. The Bay to Breakers footrace, held annually since 1912, is best known for colorful costumes and a celebratory community spirit. [cite web
title = About Us - History
work = ING Bay to Breakers
publisher = ING Group
date = 2008-03-11
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-15
] The San Francisco Marathon is an annual event that attracts more than 7,000 participants. [cite web
last = Winitz | first = Mark
title = San Francisco Marathon Expands Cool Reputation
work = Press Release
publisher = The San Francisco Marathon | date = 2004-06-18
url =
archivedate= 2006-12-30 | doi = | accessdate = 2008-06-15
] There are more than 200 miles (320 km) of bicycle lanes in the city, [cite web
title = Bicycle Network Facilities
work = Commuting and Resources
publisher = SF Municipal Transportation Authority
date = 2008-05-12
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-15
] and the Embarcadero and Marina Green are favored sites for in-line skating. Extensive public tennis facilities are available in Golden Gate Park and Dolores Park, as well as at smaller neighborhood courts throughout the city.

Boating, sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing 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.cite news
last = Hübler | first = Eric
title = The Fittest and Fattest Cities in America
work = Men's Fitness | publisher = American Media, Inc
date = 2008 | url =
accessdate = 2008-06-15


thumb|right|Alcatraz receives 1.5 million visitors per year. [cite news
last = Gonzales | first = Richard
title = New Parts of Alcatraz Revealed to Public
work = People and Places | publisher = National Public Radio
date = 2006-05-22 | url =
accessdate = 2008-06-15

Tourism is the backbone of the San Francisco economy. Its frequent portrayal in music, film, and popular culture has made the city and its landmarks recognizable worldwide. It is the city where Tony Bennett left his heart, where the "Birdman of Alcatraz" spent many of his final years, and where Rice-a-Roni [cite news
last = Finz | first = Stacy
title = Rice-a-Redux After a 7-year hiatus, it's billed once again as the San Francisco treat
work = San Francisco Chronicle | page = A-1
publisher = Hearst Communications
date = 2006-07-16
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-15
] was said to be the favorite treat. San Francisco attracts the fourth-highest number of foreign tourists of any city in the U.S.update after|2009|06|01cite web
title = Overseas Visitation Estimates for U.S. States, Cities, and Census Regions: 2007
work = International Visitation in the United States
publisher = US Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, US Department of Commerce
date = 2008-05-27
url =
format = PDF | accessdate = 2008-06-15
] and claims Pier 39 near Fisherman's Wharf as the third-most popular tourist attraction in the nation. [cite web
title = Sights in San Francisco
publisher = City and County of San Francisco
url =
accessdate = 2006-09-14
] 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.cite news
last = Raine | first = George
title = Visitors to S.F. in 2007 set record for spending
publisher = San Francisco Chronicle | page = A-1
date = 2008-05-30
url = | accessdate = 2008-06-15
] With a large hotel infrastructure and a world-class convention facility in the Moscone Center, San Francisco is also among the top-ten North American destinations for conventions and conferences. [cite news
last = Spain | first = William
title = Cost factors: Top convention cities boast most-affordable lodging
work = CBS Marketwatch | publisher = Marketwatch Inc
date = 2004-11-13 | url =
accessdate = 2008-06-15

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, [cite web
title = San Francisco: Economy
work =
publisher = Advameg Inc | date = n.d.
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-15
] six Fortune 500 companies, [cite news
title = 2008: Cities
work = Fortune 500 | publisher = Fortune magazine, Time Inc
date = 2008-05-05 | url =
accessdate = 2008-06-15
] and a large support infrastructure of professional services—including law, public relations, architecture and design—also with significant presence in the city, San Francisco is designated as one of the ten Beta World Cities. [cite web
last = Beaverstock
first = J.V.
coauthors = R.G. Smith & P.J. Taylor
title = Research Bulletin 5: A Roster of World Cities
work = Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network
publisher = Geography Department, Loughborough University
date = 1999-07-28
url =
format = HTML
accessdate = 2008-06-26
] The city ranks fifteenth in the world's list of cities by GDP and eighth in the United States. [cite web| url=| title="Table 1.2 – Top 30 urban agglomeration GDP rankings in 2005 and illustrative projections to 2020 (using UN definitions and population estimates)"|first="UK Economic Outlook, March 2007", page 5|last=PriceWaterhouseCoopers|format=PDF | accessdate=2007-09-26]

San Francisco's economy has increasingly become tied to that of its Bay Area neighbor San Jose and Silicon Valley to its south, sharing the need for highly educated workers with specialized skills. [cite news
last = Selna | first = Robert
title = New jobs, houses spur S.F. population in 2007
work = San Francisco Chronicle | page = B-1
publisher = Hearst Communications | date = 2008-05-15
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-15
] San Francisco has been positioning itself as a biotechnology 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, the public agency funding stem cell research programs statewide.

Small businesses with fewer than 10 employees and self-employed firms make up 85 percent of city establishments. [cite news | last = Tan | first = Aldrich M.
title = San Francisco is gateway city for immigrants and Silicon Valley Technology
work = | date = 2006-04-12
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-15
] The number of San Franciscans employed by firms of more than 1,000 employees has fallen by half since 1977. City government has made it intentionally difficult for national big box and formula retail chains to expand in the city; the Board of Supervisors has used the planning code to limit the neighborhoods in which formula retail establishments can operate, [cite news
author=Hetter, Katia
title=Supervisors OK limits on chain-store expansion
publisher=San Francisco Chronicle
] an effort affirmed by San Francisco voters. [cite web
title=Proposition G: Limitations on Formula Retail Stores, City of San Francisco


name = Representation
title = Representation
header1 =
label1 = 8th U.S. House district
data1 = Nancy Pelosi (D)
header2 =
label2 = 12th U.S. House district
data2 = Jackie Speier (D)
header3 =
label3 = 3rd Senate District
data3 = Carole Migden (D)
header4 =
label4 = 8th Senate District
data4 = Leland Yee (D)
header5 =
label5 = 12thAssembly District
data5 = Fiona Ma (D)
header6 =
label6 = 13th Assembly District
data6 = Mark Leno (D)
below =
San Francisco is a consolidated city-county, a status it has held since 1856. [cite book
last = Coy
first = Owen Cochran
title = Guide to the County Archives of California
publisher = California Historical Survey Commission
date = 1919
location = Sacramento, California
page = p. 409
] It is the only such consolidation in California.cite web |url= |title=Board of Supervisors - Does San Francisco have a City Council? |accessdate=2008-06-16 |work=SFGov SF311] The mayor is also the county executive, and the county Board of Supervisors acts as the city council. 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 to pass legislation.
thumb|left|San Francisco City Hall] The members of the Board of Supervisors are elected as representatives of specific districts within the city.cite web
title=Board of Supervisors District Information
publisher = City and County of San Francisco, Board of Supervisors
accessdate = 2006-01-29
] If the mayor dies or resigns, the President of the Board of Supervisors assumes the office, as Dianne Feinstein did after the assassination of George Moscone in 1978.

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, though ostensibly located in San Mateo County, is legally in San Francisco because it is owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco. San Francisco was also granted a perpetual leasehold over the Hetch Hetchy Valley and watershed in Yosemite National Park by the Raker Act in 1913.

In 2006, the Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance making San Francisco the first city in the nation to provide health care services to all uninsured residents, with creation of the Healthy San Francisco program. [cite web
title=Key Facts: Healthy San Francisco
year=2008 | month=March
publisher=Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured
] The municipal budget for fiscal year 2007–2008 was just over $6 billion. [cite news
title=Newsom signs the city's largest budget
publisher=San Francisco Chronicle
] The federal government utilizes San Francisco as the regional hub for many arms of the federal bureaucracy, including the U.S. Court of Appeals, the Federal Reserve Bank, and the U.S. Mint. Until decommissioning in the early 1990s, the city had three major military installations—the Presidio, Treasure Island, and Hunters Point—a legacy still reflected in the annual celebration of Fleet Week. The State of California uses San Francisco as the home of the state supreme court and other state agencies. Foreign governments maintain more than thirty consulates in San Francisco. [cite web
title=Search for consulates in San Francisco, CA


The estimated 2007 population of San Francisco is 764,976. [ The city of San Francisco has announced it will contest the Census Bureau figure, stating that its own estimate is closer to 864,000. Ref: cite news|publisher=San Francisco Chronicle|title=Newsom says U.S. census missed 100,000; City to officially fight '07 population estimate of 764,000|author=Steve Rubenstein|date=2008-04-01 |accessdate=2008-04-01 |url=] With nearly 16,000 people per square mile, San Francisco is the second-most densely populated major American city.For cities with greater than 200,000 population. cite web | title=2000 Census: US Municipalities Over 50,000: Ranked by 2000 Density | url= | publisher = Demographia | accessdate=2007-08-23] San Francisco is the traditional focal point of the San Francisco Bay Area and forms part of the greater San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland Combined Statistical Area (CSA) whose population is over 7 million: the fifth largest in the U.S. as of the 2000 Census. [cite web |url= |title=Population in Combined Statistical Areas (CSAs) in Alphabetical Order and Numerical and Percent Change for the United States and Puerto Rico: 1990 and 2000 |accessdate=2008-06-16 |format=Excel |work=Census 2000 and 1990 Census |publisher=U.S. Census Bureau | date=2003-12-30]

Like many larger U.S. cities, San Francisco is a minority-majority city, as non-Hispanic whites comprise less than half of the population. As of 2006, the Census Bureau estimated that 44.6 percent of the population was non-Hispanic white.cite web |url= |title=State & County QuickFacts: San Francisco County, California |accessdate=2008-06-16 | |publisher=U.S. Census Bureau] Asian Americans make up about a third of the population; Chinese Americans constitute the largest single racial group in San Francisco at about a fifth of the population. Hispanics of any race make up about 14 percent of the population. San Francisco's African American population has declined in recent decades, from 13.4 percent of the city in 1970 to 7.2 percent of the population in 2006. The current percentage of African Americans in San Francisco is similar to that of the state of California.

Relatively few of the city's residents are native San Franciscans. Only 35 percent of its residents were born in California; 39 percent were born outside the U.S.

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, with 15.4%. [cite web | url= |title=Same-sex Couples and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Population: New Estimates from the American Community Survey | last=Gates | first=Gary | accessdate=2008-07-10| year=2006 | month=October | format=PDF | |publisher=The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law ] 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.cite web | title=Gay and Lesbian Families in the United States: Same-Sex Unmarried Partner Households | format = PDF | url= | accessdate=2006-08-26 | publisher = Human Rights Campaign ]

The San Francisco median household income is $57,833 and the median family income, at $67,809 in 2005, is the third-highest for any large city in the nation. Following a national trend, an out-migration of middle class families is contributing to widening income disparity and has left the city with a lower proportion of children, 14.5 percent, than any other large American city.cite web |url=|title=Families Struggle To Stay: Why Families are Leaving San Francisco and What Can Be Done |accessdate=2008-06-16 |date=206-03-01 |format=PDF |publisher=Coleman Advocates for Children & Youth]

The city's poverty rate, at 7.7 percent, is lower than the national average and among the lowest for cities ranked by the U.S. Census Bureau. [cite web |url= |title=Table 689 - Household Income, Family Income, Per Capita Income, and Individuals and Families Below Poverty Level by City: 2004 |accessdate=2008-06-16 |format=PDF |year=2004 |work=Statistical Abstract of the United States 2007, Section 13: Income, Expenditures and Wealth |publisher=U.S. Census Bureau]

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. [cite web
title=Care Not Cash
] [cite web
title=Critics say regional plan won't solve the problem
publisher="Las Vegas Sun"

The rates of violent and property crime, reported for 2006 as 875 and 4,958 incidents per 100,000 residents respectively,cite web |url=|title=Uniform Crime Reports: Table 8 Offenses Known to Law Enforcement by State by City, 2006 |accessdate=2008-06-16 | work=2006 Crime in the United States |publisher=Federal Bureau of Investigation] are higher than the national average. [cite web |url= |title=Uniform Crime Reports: Table 1 Crime in the United States by Volume and Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants, 1987–2006 |accessdate=2008-06-16 |work=2006 Crime in the United States |publisher=Federal Bureau of Investigation] In 2007, the city recorded 98 homicides, the highest number in more than a decade. [cite news |first=Cecilia |last=Vega |title=Guns, crack cocaine fuel homicides in S.F. - 98 killings in 2007 |url= |work=San Francisco Chronicle |date=2008-01-15 |accessdate=2008-01-18]


Colleges and universities

The University of California, San Francisco is part of the University of California system but is solely dedicated to graduate education in health and biomedical sciences. It is ranked among the top-five medical schools in the U.S. [cite web |url= |title=America's Best Graduate Schools: Best Medical Schools |accessdate=2008-06-16 |year=2008 |publisher="U.S. News and World Report"] and also operates the UCSF Medical Center, ranked among the top 10 hospitals in the U.S. [cite web |url= |title=America's Best Hospitals 2007 |accessdate=2008-06-16 |publisher="U.S. News and World Report" |year=2008 ] UCSF is a major local employer, second in size only to the city and county government. [cite web |url= |title=San Francisco Business Information: Largest Employers in San Francisco |accessdate=2008-06-09 |work=San Francisco Business Times Book of Lists, 2007 | format=Microsoft Word |publisher=San Francisco Center for Economic Development ] A 43-acre 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. [cite web |url= |title=New UCSF Mission Bay campus: country's largest biomedical university expansion |author=Wallace Ravven |accessdate=2008-06-09 |publisher=UCSF |date=2003-07-22 ] The University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 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. [cite web |url= |title=Hastings Quick Facts |accessdate=2006-08-30 |publisher=University of California, Hastings College of the Law ]

San Francisco State University is part of the California State University system and is located near Lake Merced.cite web |url= |title=SF State Facts 2006–2007: Today |accessdate=2008-06-09 |publisher=SFSU] The school has close to 30,000 students [cite web |url= |title=SF State Facts 2006–2007: Students |accessdate=2008-06-09 |publisher=SFSU] and awards undergraduate and master's degrees in more than 100 disciplines. The City College of San Francisco, with its main facility in the Ingleside district, is one of the largest two-year community colleges in the country. It has an enrollment of about 100,000 students and offers an extensive continuing education program. [cite web |url= |title=City College of San Francisco Fact Sheet |accessdate=2008-06-16 |year=2008 |month=April |format=PDF |publisher=City College of San Francisco] Founded in 1855, the Jesuit-run University of San Francisco, located on Lone Mountain, focuses on the liberal arts and is one of the oldest universities established west of the Mississippi. [cite web |url= |title=University of San Francisco Fact Book and Almanac 2007 |accessdate=2008-06-16 | |date=2007-12-31 |format=PDF |publisher=University of San Francisco]

Notable schools providing higher education in the arts include San Francisco Art Institute, the Academy of Art University, and an extension of the Oakland-based California College of the Arts. The San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the only school of its kind on the West Coast, grants degrees in orchestral instruments, chamber music, composition, and conducting.

The California Culinary Academy, associated with the Le Cordon Bleu 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 as well as the State Board of Education for some charter schools. Lowell High School, the oldest public high school in the U.S. west of the Mississippi, [cite web
title = The Oldest Public High School West of the Mississippi
work = About Lowell: Lowell History | publisher = San Francisco Unified School District
date = 2002-02-22
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-16
] and the smaller School of the Arts High School are two of San Francisco's magnet schools at the secondary level. Just under 30 percent of the city's school-age population attends one of San Francisco's more than 100 private or parochial schools, compared to a 10 percent rate nationwide.cite news
last = Knight | first = Heather
title = Many reluctantly chose private schools
work = San Francisco Chronicle | page = A-1
publisher = Hearst Communications | date = 2006-05-31
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-16
] Nearly 40 of those schools are Catholic schools managed by the Archdiocese of San Francisco. [cite web
title = School Directory August 2007
publisher = Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco
date = 2007-08-14
url =
format = PDF | accessdate = 2008-06-16
[ School Directory] Archdiocese of San Francisco, Department of Catholic Schools. Retrieved on August 27, 2006.


Roads and highways

Because of its unique geography—making beltways somewhat impractical—and the results of the freeway revolts of the late 1950s,cite news
last = Gordon | first = Rachel
title = Boulevard of dreams, the premiere
work = San Francisco Chronicle | page = B-1
publisher = Hearst Communications
date = 2005-09-08
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-16
] 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, when city leaders decided to demolish the Embarcadero Freeway, and voters approved demolition of a portion of the Central Freeway, converting them into street-level boulevards.

Interstate 80 begins at the approach to the Bay Bridge and is the only direct automobile link to the East Bay. U.S. Route 101 extends Interstate 80 to the south along the San Francisco Bay toward Silicon Valley. Northbound, 101 uses arterial streets Van Ness Avenue and Lombard Street to the Golden Gate Bridge, the only direct road access from San Francisco to Marin County and points north. Highway 1 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 arterial thoroughfare, and joining with Interstate 280 at the city's southern border. Interstate 280 continues this route along the central portion of the Peninsula south to San Jose. Northbound, 280 turns north and east and terminates in the South of Market area. Highway 35, which traverses the majority of the Peninsula along the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains, enters the city from the south as Skyline Boulevard, following city streets until it terminates at its intersection with Highway 1. Major east–west thoroughfares include Geary Boulevard, the Lincoln Way/Fell Street corridor, and Market Street/Portola Drive.

Cycling is a popular mode of transportation in San Francisco, with about 40,000 residents commuting to work regularly by bicycle.cite news
last = Wood | first = Daniel B
title = Bicyclists winning a war of lanes in San Francisco
work = Christian Science Monitor | publisher = Church of Christ, Scientist
date = 2006-09-12 | url =
accessdate = 2008-06-16
] There are convert|68|mi|km|0 of bicycle lanes and paths throughout the city.cite web
title = Bicycle Network Facilities
publisher = San Francisco Municipal Transporation Agency
date = 2008-05-12 | url =
accessdate = 2008-06-16

Public transportation

Many people in San Francisco use public transportation, nearly a third of commuters in 2005. [cite web |url= |title=New Yorkers are Top Transit Users |accessdate=2008-08-20 |author=Les Christie |date=2007-06-29| |publisher=Cable News Network] Public transit solely within the city of San Francisco is provided predominantly by the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni). The city-owned system operates both a combined light rail/subway system (the Muni Metro) and a bus network that includes trolleybuses, standard diesel motorcoaches and diesel hybrid buses. The Metro streetcars run on surface streets in outlying neighborhoods but underground in the downtown area.cite news
title = Bay Area Traveler: Transportation Information
work = SF
publisher = Hearst Communications Inc
year = 2007 | month = March
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-16
] Additionally, Muni runs the highly visible F Market historic streetcar line, which runs on surface streets from Castro Street to Fisherman's Wharf (through Market Street), and the iconic San Francisco cable car system, which has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. [cite web
title = Report on San Francisco's Cable Cars
publisher = San Francisco Beautiful
year = 2007 | month = May
url = | format = PDF
accessdate = 2008-06-16

Commuter rail is provided by two complementary agencies. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is the regional rapid transit system which connects San Francisco with the East Bay through the Transbay Tube. The line runs under Market Street to Civic Center, where it turns south to the Mission District, the southern part of the city, and through northern San Mateo County, to the San Francisco International Airport, and Millbrae. The Caltrain rail system runs from San Francisco along the Peninsula down to San Jose. 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) and as a hub for regional bus systems AC Transit (Alameda County), SamTrans (San Mateo County), and Golden Gate Transit (Marin and Sonoma Counties). [cite web |url= |title= Project Overview - Regional Transit |accessdate= 2008-06-08 |publisher= Transbay Transit Center] Amtrak also runs a shuttle bus from San Francisco to its rail station in Emeryville. [cite web |url= |title= Profile of Emeryville Station |accessdate= 2008-06-08 |publisher= Amtrak]

A small fleet of commuter and tourist ferries operate from the Ferry Building and Pier 39 to points in Marin County, Oakland, and north to Vallejo in Solano County.


San Francisco International Airport (SFO), though located 13 miles (21 km) south of the city in San Mateo County, is under the jurisdiction of the City and County of San Francisco. SFO is primarily adjacent to the cities of Millbrae and San Bruno, but also borders the most southern part of the city of South San Francisco. SFO is a hub for United Airlines, its largest tenant,cite news
last = Young | first = Eric
title = Pact keeps United from flying away
work = San Francisco Business Times | publisher = American City Business Journals
date = 2004-04-02 | url =
accessdate = 2008-06-16
] and the decision by Virgin America to base its operations out of SFOcite news
last = Raine | first = George
title = Taking to the air: Low-fare startup Virgin America says it has the funding to fly
work = San Francisco Chronicle | page = C-1 | publisher = Hearst Communications Inc
date = 2005-12-09
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-16
] reverses the trend of low-cost carriers opting to bypass SFO for Oakland and San Jose. SFO is an international gateway, with the largest international terminal in North America.cite web | title = Fact Sheet: International Terminal
publisher = San Francisco International Airport
year = 2007 | month = May
url =
format = PDF | accessdate = 2008-06-16
] The airport is built on a landfill extension into the San Francisco Bay. 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.cite web
title = Passenger Trafic 2006 Final | publisher = Airports Council International
date = 2008-03-12 | url =
accessdate = 2008-06-16


The Port of San Francisco 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. The 1934 West Coast Longshore Strike, an important episode in the history of the American labor movement, brought the port to a standstill. The advent of container shipping made pier-based ports obsolete, and most commercial berths moved to the Port of Oakland.

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, 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.

See also

* Potrero Point
* San Francisco Municipal Wireless



*cite book
last = De La Perouse
first = Jean Francois
coauthors = Yamane, Linda Gonsalves; Margolin, Malcolm
title = Life in a California Mission: Monterey in 1786: The Journals of Jean Francois De La Perouse
publisher=Heyday Books
id = ISBN 0-930588-39-8

*cite book
last = Hansen
first = Gladys
title = San Francisco Almanac: Everything you want to know about the city
publisher = Chronicle Books
date = 1995
location =
id = ISBN 0-8118-0841-6

*cite journal
last = London
first = Jack
title = The Story of an Eyewitness by Jack London
journal = Collier's, The National Weekly
date = May 5, 1906

*cite book
last = Richards
first = Rand
title = Historic San Francisco: A Concise History and Guide
publisher = Heritage House
date = 1991
location =
id = ISBN 1-879367-00-9

*cite book
last = Ungaretti
first = Lorri
title = San Francisco's Richmond District
publisher = Arcadia Publishing
date = 2005
location =
id = ISBN 0-7385-3053-0

*cite book | author=Wiley, Peter Booth | title=National trust guide San Francisco: America’s guide for architecture and history travelers | publisher=John Wiley & Sons, Inc. | year=2000 | id=ISBN 0-471-19120-5

Further reading

*cite book | year= 1989 | publisher=Dorset Press | title=The Barbary Coast: An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld | author=Asbury, Hubert | id=ISBN 0-88029-428-0
*cite book | author=Bronson, William | title=The Earth Shook, the Sky Burned | publisher=Chronicle Books |year=2006 | id=ISBN 0-8118-5047-1
*cite book | year= 1987 | publisher=Square Books | title=Spanning the Gate | author=Cassady, Stephen | id=ISBN 0-916290-36-0
*cite book | year= 1998 | publisher=Celestial Arts (Reissue edition) | title=High Steel: Building the Bridges Across San Francisco Bay | author=Dillon, Richard H. | id=ISBN 0-88029-428-0
* cite book | title=Literary San Francisco: A pictorial history from its beginnings to the present day | author=Ferlinghetti, Lawrence | id=ISBN 0-06-250325-1 | year=1980 | publisher=Harper & Row
*cite book | year=2002 | publisher=University of California Press | title=City for Sale: The Transformation of San Francisco | author=Hartman, Chester | id=ISBN 0-520-08605-8
* cite book | title=Rush for Riches: Gold Fever and the Making of California | author=Holliday, J. S. | id = ISBN 0-520-21402-1 | year=1999 | publisher=University of California Press
*cite book | year= 1997 | publisher=University of Illinois Press | title=San Francisco, 1846–1856: From Hamlet to City | author=Lotchin, Roger W. | id=ISBN 0-252-06631-6
*cite book | year= 1981 | publisher=Heydey Books | title=The Ohlone Way: Indian Life in the San Francisco-Monterey Bay Area | author=Margolin, Malcolm | id=ISBN 0-930588-01-0
*cite book | year= 1971 | publisher=Stein and Day | title=The San Francisco Earthquake | author=Thomas, Gordon and Witts, Max Morgan| id=ISBN 0-8128-1360-X

External links

* [ Bay Area Public Transit Info, Schedules and Maps]
* [ Official website for the City and County of San Francisco]
*wikitravelpar|San Francisco
* [ Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco]

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