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Discover the incredible city that is San Francisco

The incredible city that is San Francisco is located in the state of California in the United States of America. The city was built on seven hills and is located at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula, in between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay.
 
The city’s rolling hills, its cable cars and its port, the Golden Gate Bridge, the city’s restaurants and its tourist sights make San Francisco one of the most beautiful cities to visit. CityZapper’s editors selected the best tips and advice on San Francisco for you, and the team created this online city guide to make your visit to the city an unforgettable one. Rest assured that you’ll only get to see the city’s best and most unique sights, spots and venues.
 
San Francisco is known for the Golden Gate Bridge; a bridge spanning 2737 meters (8981 feet). This iconic bridge offers spectacular views of San Francisco and of Alcatraz, the illustrious prison that closed in 1963. San Francisco has a large gay community, with the overwhelming majority of the gay community’s 200.000 souls living in the Castro District. This makes San Francisco’s gay community the largest gay community in the United States.
 
San Francisco was named after Saint Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan Order, by father Junípero Serra. Serra founded a mission, named San Francisco de Asís, here in 1776. After the California Gold Rush of 1850, San Francisco’s population grew to just over 50.000. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed over 80% of the city. The city is also famous for its cable cars. These trams are pulled by cables that run underneath San Francisco’s streets. The city’s best-known hills are Nob Hill, Russian Hill and Telegraph Hill. As a rule of thumb, the houses built on top of the hills are among the most expensive real estate in the United States.
 
In short: this city is more than worth a city break. If you really want to experience all of San Francisco’s sights and sites, you’ll need at least a week. Have fun in San Francisco!

History

At around 3000 BC, the San Francisco Bay area was inhabited by Native Americans called the Ohlone.
 
On 16 November 1542, navigator and explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo discovered the Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco. In 1579, Sir Francis Drake visited a small bay just north of San Francisco and named it Drake’s Bay, after which he claimed it for England. By 1595, Sebastián Rodríguez Cermeno sailed along the shores of California in order to map the American west coast and he too visited what was now known as Drake’s Bay.

Explorers, among them José Francisco Ortega, were part of a Spanish expedition led by Gaspar de Portolá that discovered the Golden Gate on 2 November 1769. Seven years later, on 28 March 1776, another Spanish expedition led by Juan Bautista de Anza, founded the Presidio. In June of the same year, the mission post of San Francisco de Asís was founded. At the start of the 19th century, the settlement of Yerba Buena, meaning good herb, was founded about three kilometres from the Presidio. With the start of the Mexican-American War in 1846, the United States annexed part of Alta California, including Yerba Buena which was renamed San Francisco.
 
In 1906, a severe earthquake struck San Francisco. Thousands died and about 80% of the city was destroyed. Afterwards, the city was rebuilt rapidly and on a scale not seen before.
 
During the second half of the 20th century, San Francisco became a magnet for America’s counterculture that saw many people with alternative lifestyles settle in the city by the bay. In the 1960s, the city was regarded as the hippie capital of the world. The districts of Haight-Ashbury and Castro, especially, were central to the hippie movement. During the 1970s, Harvey Milk became one of the first openly gay people elected to public office in California. Today, San Francisco is still regarded as a haven for homosexuals in the United States since the city is a relatively tolerant one where the gay community is concerned.