San Francisco


2010: 805,235, #13 in U.S., #4 in California

1950: 775,357, #11 in U.S.

2010 Metropolitan Area: 4,335,391, #11 in U.S.

1950 Metropolitan Area: 2,240,767, #7 in U.S.


The Spanish established a fort and mission at San Francisco in 1776. The city grew rapidly after gold was discovered in the Sierra Nevada foothills in 1848. San Francisco is located at the tip of a peninsula, with the Pacific Ocean to the west, San Francisco Bay to the east, and the Golden Gate (the entrance to the bay) to the north.


Tallest building: Salesforce Tower (2017), 1,070 feet

List of tallest buildings

San Francisco's City Hall has the fifth largest dome in the world.

There is an observation deck at the top of Coit Tower (210 feet).


The nine-story, enclosed Westfield San Francisco Centre (1988) has Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s stores. A Macy’s store is nearby on Union Square.


Amtrak passengers take a bus from San Francisco to reach Amtrak trains in Oakland and Emeryville. San Francisco never had a large train depot because cross-country trains ended in Oakland.

Caltrain, a commuter line, goes down the San Francisco Peninsula  to San Jose and Gilroy. Caltrain uses the 4th and King Street station (1975) in San Francisco. Trains have run on the Peninsula line since 1863.

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), which began in 1972, operates in San Francisco and around the Bay Area, including under the bay between San Francisco and Oakland. BART also serves San Francisco International Airport.

Muni Metro has seven streetcar lines, above and below ground. Some of these lines have been in existence for almost a century. San Francisco is one of the few cities that never completely eliminated its streetcars in the first half of the 20th century.

San Francisco also has three historic cable car lines, dating from 1873. They are the only remaining operational cable cars in the world.



Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco


The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Asian Art Museum, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum are located in the downtown area.


Downtown San Francisco has several first-run movie theaters, as well as restored old theaters such as the Golden Gate (1920) and Orpheum (1926). Current movie theaters include the Metreon 16 and Century San Francisco Centre 9. Landmark Theatres present independent films at three theaters in San Francisco. The AMC Van Ness 14 closed in 2019.

The San Francisco Symphony plays at Davies Symphony Hall (1980). The San Francisco Opera plays at the War Memorial Opera House (1932). Touring musicals are presented at the Orpheum, Golden Gate, and Curran (1922) theaters.

San Francisco has a variety of other theaters with live performances, most notably the American Conservatory Theater.


The San Francisco Giants of the National League play at Oracle Park (2000). The NBA Golden State Warriors moved in 2019 from Oakland to the new Chase Center in San Francisco. In 2014, the NFL San Francisco 49ers moved to the new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, about 40 miles south.

Map of Downtown San Francisco

San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau