San Francisco is a popular tourist destination that is known for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, and its Chinatown district. It has several nicknames, including “The City by the Bay”, “Fog City”, “San Fran”, and “Frisco”, as well as older ones like “The City that Knows How”, “Baghdad by the Bay”, and “The Paris of the West”. As of 2015, San Francisco was ranked high on world livability rankings.
The word “San Francisco” is Spanish for Saint Francis. The city was founded on June 29, 1776, when colonists from Spain established Presidio of San Francisco at the Golden Gate. The California Gold Rush of 1849 brought rapid growth, making it the largest city on the West Coast at the time. Three-quarters of the city was destroyed 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 port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater. After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, massive immigration, liberalizing attitudes, along with the rise of the “hippie” counterculture, the Sexual Revolution, the Peace Movement growing opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War, and other factors led to the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, cementing San Francisco as a center of liberal activism in the United States.
Things to do in San Francisco