From the breathtaking beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge to the familiar clang of the cable cars, San Francisco is a unique blend of culture, arts, recreation, dining, shopping, sites, sporting events, and architecture.
Dazzling skyscrapers adorn the city skyline, and world-famous landmarks like the "crooked" curves of Lombard Street to the Victorian homes on Nob Hill abound in every direction. It is a city of neighborhoods that each offer a distinctive array of restaurants, entertainment, shops, businesses, and services -- from the buzz of the Financial District to the urban chic of SoMa (South of Market) and Union Square, the city is an international destination for tourists, businesses, families, and individuals.
Known for its chilly summer fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture, and diverse cultural heritage, San Francisco is as unique as the residents that live there, and as enchanting as the people that visit. From fine dining and world-class shopping to adventures that take you off the beaten path, San Francisco is a city filled with character, excitement, and history.
Every city offers experiences that reflect the personality of its history and its residents, and San Francisco is certainly no exception. Rich in diversity, San Francisco offers attractions and activities that appeal to every interest. Few cities can boast such a unique and extraordinary blend of things to do and places to see as San Francisco. Here are just a few that put San Francisco on the world’s stage:
MUSEUMS – Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), Asian Art Museum, California Academy of Sciences, Cable Car Museum
PERFORMING ARTS – San Francisco Ballet, San Francisco Symphony, American Conservatory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre
ATTRACTIONS – Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, Alcatraz, Telegraph Hill/Coit Tower, Nob Hill, Lombard Street, Embarcadero/Financial District, Golden Gate Bridge, The Presidio
OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES – Barbary Coast Trail (walking tour), Architectural Tours, Ocean Beach, Rodeo Beach, Golden Gate National Park, San Francisco Zoo, Cable Cars
San Francisco is known for its great food, culinary creativity, world-class shopping, and cultural diversity. So whether you’re looking for something sizzling and chic to do, something casual and off-the-beaten path, or something that offers the true cultural flavor of the city, San Francisco’s array of dining, shopping, and night life is guaranteed to satisfy your taste, mood, and budget. Some of the most popular areas of town to eat, shop, and experience San Francisco include:
Just when you think you’ve been everywhere and seen everything San Francisco has to offer, there’s an entire Bay Area just waiting to be explored. From the majestic redwood forest of Muir Woods to the stunning country landscape of the Wine Country; from the trendy “Riviera” of Sausalito to the spectacular beauty of the High Sierra’s at Yosemite National Park; from the high-tech boom of the Silicon Valley to the history and charm of Monterey and Carmel, venturing outside the city limits offers a myriad of sites and adventures.
With an unsurpassed public transportation infrastructure, getting around San Francisco is easy. In addition to cars, cabs, and limos, San Francisco offers transportation via an underground subway system, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), and the world-famous cable cars.
A sports-enthusiasts’ dream, the San Francisco Bay Area is home to nine major league sports franchises, including the five-time NFL Super Bowl Champs the San Francisco 49ers and MLB’s San Francisco Giants. San Jose is home to a variety of major sports teams including NHL’s San Jose Sharks; with Oakland being the home of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, MLB’s Oakland Athletics, and the NFL’s Oakland Raiders.
College sports are also well-represented in the Bay Area, with three universities competing in the highest tier of the NCAA – University of California at Berkeley, San Jose State, and Stanford University.
The diverse make-up of San Francisco is what makes this bustling city such a cultural tapestry of heritage, architecture, music, food, and activity. With over 17,000 people per square mile, San Francisco is the 2nd most densely populated city after New York City, and is a minority-majority city in which non-Hispanic whites make up 45% of the population. The Asian community makes up almost one-third of the population, with those of Chinese birth or descent making up the largest single ethnic group in San Francisco. Hispanics make up approximately 14%; with African-Americans at just over 7%. Adding to the flavor of this unique city is the gay and lesbian community, which is one of the largest in the country.
Median household income continues to be strong for San Francisco, which currently ranks 5th highest in the country, and the city is characterized by its high standard of living. The wealth and opportunity generated by the financial and technology revolution continues to draw highly educated and high-income workers and residents to the city. Property values in San Francisco have consistently been on the rise, allowing the city to support a strong and vast restaurant and entertainment infrastructure.
With a relatively equal male to female population comprised of singles, couples, and families, and a median age of just over 36, San Francisco boasts an appeal to people at every stage and every walk of life. It is a city that holds no boundaries in terms of what to do, where to do it, or who to do it with.
Not surprisingly, Tourism is one of the leading industries of the San Francisco economy. The city attracts the third-highest number of foreign tourists of any city in the U.S. and is among the top ten North American destinations for conventions and conferences.
Known as the "Wall Street of the West," San Francisco is considered the financial capital of the West Coast and is ranked one of the top four financial centers in the country. It is home to some of the country’s largest financial institutions, multi-national banks, securities and investment firms, and venture capital firms. Additionally, it is the home of the Federal Reserve Bank and the Pacific Stock Exchange. Located halfway between London and Tokyo, over 30 international financial institutions have a base in San Francisco, making it a center for global business and commerce.
San Francisco has thrived on trade and shipping since its early days. Today, through its main port in Oakland, eight smaller ports, and three key airports, the Bay area handles nearly 30 percent of West Coast trade.
Nearby Silicon Valley, along with Stanford University, are considered to be among the places where the worldwide technology boom began, and they remain on the leading edge today. Aerospace industries such as the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) and Lockheed also maintain major research facilities in the area.
Another important high-technology industry in the area is medical science; several hundred companies in the Bay Area are setting the pace in research and development of pharmaceutical products, medical electronics, and genetic engineering. Almost one third of the total worldwide biotechnology workforce is employed in San Francisco and the surrounding region. San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood is a model for collaborative innovation between the biotechnology industry and academic researchers.
Other prominent industries include: professional services – including law, public relations, architecture, and design; fashion apparel, with the Bay Area home to the world's largest apparel maker, Levi Strauss & Co.; healthcare; education; and restaurants.
Major employers in the San Francisco Bay Area
State of California
US Postal Service