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San Francisco, CA 94188

San Francisco Overview (from

"You could live in San Francisco a month and ask no greater entertainment than walking through it," wrote Inez Hayes Irwin, the author of The Californiacs, an effusive 1921 homage to the state of California and the City by the Bay. Her claim remains true today: touring on foot is the best way to experience this diverse metropolis. San Francisco is a relatively small city. About 750,000 residents live on a 46.6-square-mi tip of land between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. San Franciscans cherish the city's colorful past; many older buildings have been spared from demolition and nostalgically converted into modern offices and shops. Longtime locals rue the sites that got away - railroad and mining boom-era residences lost in the 1906 earthquake, the baroque Fox Theater, and Playland at the Beach. Despite acts of God, the indifference of developers, and the mixed record of the city's planning commission, much of the architectural and historical interest remains.

First-time visitors won't want to miss Golden Gate Park, the Palace of Fine Arts, the Golden Gate Bridge, or a cable car ride over Nob Hill. But a walk down the Filbert Steps or through Macondray Lane, or a peaceful hour gazing east from Ina Coolbrith Park can be equally inspiring.

The neighborhoods of San Francisco retain strong cultural, political, and ethnic identities. Experiencing San Francisco means visiting the neighborhoods: the colorful Mission District, the gay Castro, countercultural Haight Street, swank Pacific Heights, exotic Chinatown, and still-bohemian North Beach.

Exploring by car involves navigating a maze of one-way streets and restricted parking zones. San Francisco's famed 40-plus hills can be a problem for drivers who are new to the terrain. Cable cars, buses, and trolleys can take you to or near many attractions.


Surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, San Francisco's compact 46 square miles (125 sq. km.) crowd the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula.


"The City" has a population of 723,959; nevertheless it looms large in the imagination as the hub of the greater Bay Area. The nation's fifth largest metropolitan region registers a population of 6 million and hosts over 16 million visitors, conventioneers and business travelers each year.


The San Francisco Bay Area has some of the best weather in the nation. For year-round temperatures and a comprehensive five-day weather forecast, click here.

Temperature F/Rainfall
MonthMaximumMinimumRainfall(Total In.)
February 59.448.42.83
May 62.550.70.35
June 64.352.50.15
October 68.354.81.09
November 62.951.52.49
December 56.947.23.52
Annual Average62.551.019.33
San Francisco

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