San Francisco

San Francisco (/ˌsæn frənˈsɪskoʊ/), officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the leading financial and cultural center of Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The only consolidated city-county in California, it encompasses a land area of about 46.9 square miles (121 km2) on the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, giving it a density of about 17,179 people per square mile (6,632 people per km2). It is the most densely settled large city (population greater than 200,000) in the state of California and the second-most densely populated major city in the United States after New York City. San Francisco is the fourth most populous city in California and the 14th most populous city in the United States, with a population of 805,235 as of the 2010 Census. The city is also the financial and cultural hub of the larger San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland metropolitan area, with a population of 7.6 million.

San Francisco (Spanish for "Saint Francis") was founded on June 29, 1776, when colonists from Spain established a fort at the Golden Gate and a mission named for St. Francis of Assisi a few miles away. The California Gold Rush of 1849 propelled the city into a period of rapid growth, increasing the population in one year from 1,000 to 25,000, and thus transforming it into the largest city on the West Coast at the time.

After 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, 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. Among major U.S. cities, the city has the largest percentage of gay, lesbian and bisexual residents, at 15.4%.

Today, San Francisco is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, ranking 35th out of the 100 most visited cities worldwide, and is renowned for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, Alcatraz Island, itsformer prison, and its Chinatown.

The city is also a primary banking and finance center, and more than 30 international financial institutions are based there, helping to make San Francisco rank 18th in the world's top producing cities, and 12th place in the top twenty global financial centers.

Read more about San FranciscoHistory, Geography, Culture and Contemporary Life, Economy, Law and Government, Demographics

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Famous quotes related to san francisco:

    Today, San Francisco has experienced a double tragedy of incredible proportions. As acting mayor, I order an immediate state of mourning in our city. The city and county of San Francisco must and will pull itself together at this time. We will carry on as best as we possibly can.... I think we all have to share the same sense of shame and the same sense of outrage.
    Dianne Feinstein (b. 1933)

    The gold-digger in the ravines of the mountains is as much a gambler as his fellow in the saloons of San Francisco. What difference does it make whether you shake dirt or shake dice? If you win, society is the loser.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    Mining today is an affair of mathematics, of finance, of the latest in engineering skill. Cautious men behind polished desks in San Francisco figure out in advance the amount of metal to a cubic yard, the number of yards washed a day, the cost of each operation. They have no need of grubstakes.
    Merle Colby, U.S. public relief program (1935-1943)

    There they are at last, Miss Rutledge. The will-o-the-wisps with plagues of fortune. San Francisco, the latest newborn of a great republic.
    Ben Hecht (1893–1964)

    It is an odd thing, but every one who disappears is said to be seen at San Francisco. It must be a delightful city, and possess all the attractions of the next world.
    Oscar Wilde (1854–1900)