San Francisco
1. San Francisco, officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the cultural center and a leading financial hub of the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California.
The only consolidated city-county in California, San Francisco 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 17,867 people per square mile (6,898 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, after Los Angeles, San Diego and San Jose, and the 14th-most populous city in the United Stateswith a Census-estimated 2013 population of 837,442.The city is also the financial and cultural hub of the larger San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland combined statistical area, with a population of 8.5 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 brought rapid growth, making it the largest city on the West Coast at the time. Due to the growth of its population, San Francisco became a consolidated city-county in 1856. 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.

San Francisco is a popular tourist destination, known for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former prison on Alcatraz Island, and its Chinatown district. San Francisco is also the headquarters of five major banking institutions and various other companies such as Gap Inc., Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Yelp, Pinterest, Twitter, Uber, Mozilla and Craigslist.The earliest archaeological evidence of human habitation of the territory of the city of San Francisco dates to 3000 BC.The Yelamu group of the Ohlone people resided in a few small villages when an overland Spanish exploration party, led by Don Gaspar de Portol .....
Golden Gate Bridge
2. The Golden Gate Bridge is a technical masterpiece that can only be described in superlative terms. When the bridge was completed in 1937 it was the worlds longest and tallest suspension bridge. But above all this masterly example of engineering is a magnificent monument set against a beautiful backdrop.
Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge started in 1933. The bridge, which was designed by engineer Joseph Strauss was built to connect San Francisco with Marin County across the 1600 meter wide strait known as the Golden Gate which links the San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean.Building the bridge.The construction of what was to become the worlds largest suspension bridge was a colossal task. At the time many people did not believe it was technically possible to span the Golden Gate.butdespite the disbelief, opposition and the Great Depression, Joseph Strauss was able to find sufficient support and financial backing to go ahead with the project.It would take thousands of workers, four years and 35 million dollars to complete the structure. On May 27, 1937 the Golden Gate Bridge was inaugurated by 18.000 people who walked across the bridge. The next day the bridge officially opened to motorized traffic. Today more than 120,000 cars cross the bridge each day.

Facts and figures

The dimensions of the bridge defied all imagination. The total length of the bridge is 8,981ft or 2,737 m. The main span between the two enormous towers is 4,200 ft or 1,280 meters long, making the Golden Gate Bridge the worlds largest suspension bridge,a record that would stand until 1964 when the Verrazano-Narrows bridge in New York was completed.The two beautiful Art Deco towers are almost 820ft or 250 meters tall, of which more than 20 meters is below the sea level. The road, six lanes and 90 ft / 27m wide is an amazing 220 ft or 67 meters above the water level. It is supported by enormous cables, anchored in hundreds of bars locked into concrete blocks with a pulling power of 25 million kg. The two cables have a total length of 2,332 meters and a diameter of 90 cm. They are woven from 27,572 threads of steel with a total length that equals three times the earths circumference.
Soon after its completion the Golden Gate Bridge already enjoyed worldwide fame, not only because the bridge was breaking records, but also thanks to the elegant Art Deco design of the two huge towers and the magnificent surroundings near the Pacific Ocean. The eye catching orange-red color of the bridge also helped its popularity. The color was suggested by engineer Irving Morrow, who thought the traditional gray color was too boring.The Golden Gate Bridge has now long lost its record of the longest bridge, but it is still one of the worlds most famous structures.The Golden Gate Bridge is a spectacular sight which can be seen from many areas around San Francisco. Here are some locations from where you have great views on the bridge South Vista Point. This is the most popular site, situated at the San Francisco end of the bridge.
North Vista Point, located at the Marin County side of the bridge.

Lands End. Panoramic View from the northern tip of Lincoln Park
Baker Beach at the Presidio Park.Conzelman Road. At the Marin County side; great view from an inlet near the bridge.The Golden Gate is at its most enchanting in the morning when the bridge is often shrouded in mist. But the bridge is also alluring at night when the lighting makes it seem as if the spires of the towers dissolve in the darkness.The Golden Gate is at its most enchanting in the morning when the bridge is often shrouded in mist. But the bridge is also alluring at night when the lighting makes it seem as if the spires of the towers dissolve in the darkness. .....
Lombard Street
3. Lombard Streets western terminus is at Presidio Boulevard inside The Presidio it then heads east through the Cow Hollow neighborhood. For twelve blocks, between Broderick Street and Van Ness Avenue, it is a principal arterial road that is co-signed as U.S. Route 101. Lombard Street then continues through the Russian Hill neighborhood and to the Telegraph Hill neighborhood. At Telegraph Hill it breaks off to the south, becoming Telegraph Hill Boulevard, leading to Pioneer Park and Coit Tower. Lombard Street starts again at Winthrop Street and finally terminates at The Embarcadero as a collector road.
Lombard Street is known for the one-way block on Russian Hill between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets, where eight sharp turns are said to make it the crookedest street in the world. The design, first suggested by property owner Carl Henry and built in 1922,was intended to reduce the hills natural 27% grade, which was too steep for most vehicles. It is also a hazard to pedestrians, who are accustomed to 4.86 .....
Cable Cars
4. San Franciscos famed cable cars are among the citys most popular attractions. Even though it may look like they were especially made for tourists, the cable cars were actually created out of a necessity.Anyone who has walked on the streets of San Francisco will know that many of the slopes on the citys hills are so steep that an ordinary tram would never be able to drive up the hills.The history of San Franciscos cable cars goes back to 1869, when Andrew Smith Hallidie, the owner of a wire-rope factory, saw a horse-drawn streetcar slide backwards under its heavy load, causing the death of five horses. This accident, together with his experience of the use of wire-rope for pulling cars in mines, brought Andrew Hallidie to build the first cable car in San Francisco. It took until 1873 before the first cabled streetcar started operations.Cable Car on Nob Hill, San Francisco The system was used in several other cities, but most switched to electric streetcars, which became practical in the late 19th century.

The San Francisco cable car system is the worlds last manually-operated cable car system. An icon of San Francisco, California, the cable car system forms part of the intermodal urban transport network operated by the San Francisco Municipal Railway. Of the twenty-three lines established between 1873 and 1890,three remain (one of which combines parts of two earlier lines)two routes from downtown near Union Square to Fishermans Wharf, and a third route along California Street. While the cable cars are used to a certain extent by commuters, the vast majority of their 7 million annual passengers are tourists.They are among the most significant tourist attractions in the city, along with Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Fishermans Wharf. The cable cars are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.The first successful cable-operated street railway was the Clay Street Hill Railroad, which opened on August 2, 1873. The promoter of the line was Andrew Smith Hallidie, and the engineer was William Eppelsheimer. The line involved the use of grip cars, which carried the grip that engaged with the cable, towing trailer cars; the design was the first to use grips. The term grip became synonymous with the operator.
The line started regular service on September 1, 1873, and its success led it to become the template for other cable car transit systems. It was a financial success, and Hallidies patents were enforced on other cable car promoters, making him wealthy.Accounts differ as to exactly how involved Hallidie was in the inception of the line, and to the exact date it first ran.The next cable car line to open was the Sutter Street Railway, which converted from horse operation in 1877. This line introduced the side grip, and lever operation, both designed by Henry Casebolt and his assistant Asa Hovey, and patented by Henry Casebolt. This idea was brought about because Casebolt did not want to pay Hallidie royalties of $50,000 a year for use of his patent. The side grip allowed cable cars to cross at intersections.In 1878, Leland Stanford opened his California Street Cable Railroad (Cal Cable). This companys first line was on California Street and is the oldest cable car line still in operation. In 1880, the Geary Street, Park & Ocean Railway began operation. The Presidio and Ferries Railway followed two years later, and was the first cable company to include curves on its routes. The curves were let-go curves, where the car drops the cable and coasts around the curve on its own momentum.
In 1883, the Market Street Cable Railway opened its first line. This company was controlled by the Southern Pacific Railroad and was to grow to become San Franciscos largest cable car operator. At its peak, it operated five lines all of which converged into Market Street to a common terminus at the Ferry Building; during rush hours, cars left that terminus every 15 seconds.
In 1888, the Ferries and Cliff House Railway opened its initial two-line system. The Powell-Mason line is still operated on the same route today; their other route was the Powell-Washington-Jackson line, stretches of which are used by todays Powell-Hyde line. The Ferries & Cliff House Railway was also responsible for the building of a car barn and powerhouse at Washington and Mason, and this site is still in use today. In the same year, it also purchased the original Clay Street Hill Railway, which it incorporated into a new Sacramento-Clay line in 1892.
In 1889, the Omnibus Railroad and Cable Company was the last new cable car operator in San Francisco. The following year the California Street Cable Railroad opened two new lines, these being the last entirely new cable car lines built in the city. One of them was the OFarrell-Jones-Hyde line, the Hyde section of which still remains in operation as part of the current Powell-Hyde line.
In all, twenty-three lines were established between 1873 and 1890. .....
China Town
5. Chinatown in North America and the largest Chinese community outside Asia and is the oldest of the four notable Chinatowns in the city.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9] Since its establishment in 1848,[10] it has been highly important and influential in the history and culture of ethnic Chinese immigrants in North America. Chinatown is an enclave that continues to retain its own customs, languages, places of worship, social clubs, and identity. There are two hospitals, numerous parks and squares, a post office, and other infrastructure. Visitors can easily become immersed in a microcosmic Asian world, filled with herbal shops, temples, pagoda roofs and dragon parades. While recent immigrants and the elderly choose to live in here because of the availability of affordable housing and their familiarity with the culture,[11] the place is also a major tourist attraction, drawing more visitors annually than the Golden Gate Bridge.
A Gateway Arch (Dragon Gate) on Grant Avenue at Bush Street in Chinatown, the only authentic Chinatown Gate in North America. Unlike similar structures which usually stand on wooden pillars, this iconic symbol conforms to Chinese gateway standards using stone from base to top and green-tiled roofs in addition to wood as basic building materials. The Gateway was designed by Clayton Lee, Melvin H. Lee and Joe Yee in 1970.
Chinatown has been traditionally defined by the neighborhoods of North Beach, and Telegraph Hill areas as bound by Bush Street, Taylor Street, Bay Street, and the water.[13] Officially, Chinatown is located in downtown San Francisco, covers 24 square blocks,[14] and overlaps five postal ZIP codes. It is within an area of roughly 1 mile long by 1.34 miles wide. The current boundary is roughly Montgomery Street, Columbus Avenue and The Citys Financial District in the east, Union Street and North Beach in the north all the way to its Northernmost point from the intersection of Jones Street and Lombard Street in Russian Hill to Lombard Street and Grant Avenue in Telegraph Hill. The southeast is bounded by Bush Street with Union Square.
Within Chinatown there are two major thoroughfares. One is Grant Avenue , with the Dragon Gate (aka Chinatown Gate on some maps; in Bush St & Grant Ave, San Francisco, California 94108) on the intersection of Bush Street and Grant Avenue; St. Marys Square with a statue of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen by Benjamin Bufano;[14] a war memorial to Chinese war veterans; and stores, restaurants and mini-malls that cater mainly to tourists. The other, Stockton Street, is frequented less often by tourists, and it presents an authentic Chinese look and feel, reminiscent of Hong Kong, with its produce and fish markets, stores, and restaurants. Chinatown has smaller side streets and alleyways providing character.
A major focal point in Chinatown is Portsmouth Square.[14] Due to its being one of the few open spaces in Chinatown and sitting on top of a large underground parking lot, Portsmouth Square bustles with activity such as Tai Chi and old men playing Chinese chess.[14] A replica of the Goddess of Democracy used in the Tiananmen Square protest was built in 1999 by Thomas Marsh, and stands in the square. It is made of bronze and weighs approximately 600 lb (270 kg).
Many working-class Hong Kong Chinese immigrants began arriving in large numbers in the 1960s and despite their status and professions in Hong Kong, had to find low-paying employment in restaurants and garment factories in Chinatown because of limited English fluency. An increase in Cantonese-speaking immigrants from Hong Kong and Mainland China has gradually led to the replacement of the Hoisanese/Taishanese dialect with the standard Cantonese dialect.
Due to such overcrowding and poverty, other Chinese areas have been established within the city of San Francisco proper, including one in its Richmond and three more in its Sunset districts, as well as a recently established one in the Visitacion Valley neighborhood. These outer neighborhoods have been settled largely by Chinese from Southeast Asia. There are also many suburban Chinese communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, especially in Silicon Valley, such as Cupertino, Fremont, and Milpitas, where Taiwanese Americans are dominant. Despite these developments, many continue to commute in from these outer neighborhoods and cities to shop in Chinatown, causing gridlock on roads and delays in public transit, especially on weekends. To address this problem, the local public transit agency, Muni, is planning to extend the citys subway network to the neighborhood via the new Central Subway.[19]
Unlike in most Chinatowns in the United States, ethnic Chinese refugees from Vietnam have not established businesses in San Franciscos Chinatown district, due to high property values and rents. Instead, many Chinese-Vietnamese .....
Alamo Square
6. The picturesque Victorian rowhouses at Alamo Square are 5among the most photographed buildings in San Francisco. The buildings give a good idea of what San Francisco looked like at the end of the 19th century.
In 1856, San Francisco mayor James Van Ness set aside nearly 13 acres (5 hectare) atop an area known as Alamo Hill, mandating that it be used as public open space. Because of its location, the park became known as Alamo Square.
In 1856, San Francisco mayor James Van Ness set aside nearly 13 acres (5 hectare) atop an area known as Alamo Hill, mandating that it be used as public open space. Because of its location, the park became known as Alamo Square.
The area for Alamo Square was largely chosen because of its incredible location high above the city. Locals say its often the windiest part of the city. Others tout the incredible view - which is undeniable. Some say viewing the sunrise or sunset from the Alamo Square Park Alamo Square View from Alamo Squareis second to none.
However, most people come to see the Painted Ladies, also sometimes known as the Six Sisters. For Americans over 30, these magnificent Victorian homes are easily recognizable from the opening moments of the 1990s sitcom, Full House. For other visitors, however, they are simply recognized as exquisite homes painted in colorful hues, incredibly well-preserved and a joy to view. You can find the homes facing the park on Steiner Street. Dont forget your camera!
The brightly colored houses give a good idea of the architectural style that was predominant in San Francisco during the second half of the 19th century. Unfortunately most of these beautiful wooden houses were lost during the 1906 earthquake and subsequent fire but there are nonetheless still 15.000 Victorian houses remaining in San Francisco.
Of course, from the right vantage point in Alamo Square Park, you can also view some of the citys other famous sites, including the Golden Gate Bridge, the Oakland Bay Bridge, the Transamerica Pyramid, City Hall, and several other notable buildings and structures. The park also contains tennis courts and a playground and is quite popular with dog owners. You might even stumble upon some sort of doggie special event while youre visiting, such as a dog show.Alamo Square is a residential neighborhood and park in San Francisco, California, in the Western Addition. Its boundaries are not well-defined, but are generally considered to be Webster Street on the east, Golden Gate Avenue on the north, Divisadero Street on the west, and Fell Street on the south.
Alamo Square Park, the neighborhoods focal point and namesake, consists of four city blocks at the top of a hill overlooking much of downtown San Francisco, with a number of large and architecturally distinctive mansions along the perimeter. The park is bordered by Hayes Street to the south, Steiner Street to the east, Fulton Street to the north, and Scott Street to the west. .....
Coit Tower
7. The 64m / 210ft tall Coit tower on top of Telegraph Hill is a monument dedicated to the San Francisco Firemen. The towers interior is decorated with large colorful murals.
The Coit Tower was built in 1933 with funds from Lillie Hitchcock Coit. She was an eccentric personality who was best known for her support of the local firemen. When she died, she left one third of her fortune for the beautification of the city. The result was the Coit Tower, which is both a memorial for Lillie Hitchcock Coit and for the San Francisco firemen. The concrete tower was constructed by Arthur Brown Jr., best known for his magnificent City Hall.
MuralsThe Coit Tower was built in 1933 with funds from Lillie Hitchcock Coit. She was an eccentric personality who was best known for her support of the local firemen. When she died, she left one third of her fortune for the beautification of the city. The result was the Coit Tower, which is both a memorial for Lillie Hitchcock Coit and for the San Francisco firemen. The concrete tower was constructed by Arthur Brown Jr., best known for his magnificent City Hall.
The interior of the cylindrical tower is embellished with a large number of murals, most of them depicting life in California during the Great Depression. The murals are the result of a project that was part of the so-called New Deal in which the federal government initiated a large number of projects aimed at creating as many jobs as possible for the countless unemployed.
In total 25 painters and 19 assistants worked on the project, which shows - among many other scenes - a bank robbery, a scene from the harbor and a look into a department store. At the time several of the murals caused controversy as they were deemed too left wing. Thanks to their historic significance the murals are now protected as a historical treasure.
At the top of the Coit tower is an observation platform with spectacular 360 .....
Fishermans Wharf
8. One of San Franciscos most visited attractions, Fishermans Wharf is a delightful outdoor area where youll not only find many fishing boats and seafood restaurants but also a whole range of attractions such as historic boats, a submarine, several museums and plenty of shops.
The wharf at San Francisco has always been a very lively area. From the late 19th century through to modern times, commercial fishermen gathered here to unload their catch of the day. Though boats have changed through the decades, the aptly-named Fishermans Wharf area has remained at the heart of the citys fishing industry.
The area has long been famous for producing a wide variety of ocean fish but is also well known for its wonderful population of Dungeness crab. Through the years, the opening of crab season in November has been accompanied by a festive celebration and before the advent of restaurants and sidewalk eateries in the Fishermans Wharf area, fishermen would bring their catch ashore, cook them in boiling pots of water, and sell them to hungry passers-by.
These days, Fishermans Wharf is one of San Franscisos most visited areas, especially popular with first time visitors to the area. While some may consider it a tourist trap, any guest to San Francisco would be missing a true Bay City experience if they forego a visit to this vibrant area.
Many people head to Fishermans Wharf to enjoy the wonderful seafood sold there, including hot, steaming servings of clam chowder served in fresh sourdough bread bowls. And for dessert, dont miss a trip to Ghirardelli Square, where you can taste some of the countrys most scrumptious chocolate! Others want to do a little shopping down by the wharf, and with several shopping areas in and around the area, the possibilities are endless - from kitschy souvenirs to local crafts to boutique-style clothing. Check out some of the street corner artists that produce amazing work!
But besides shopping and dining, Fishermans Wharf also boasts its own attractions. San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park is a favorite with visitors. Nearby at Hyde Street Pier you can visit one of the countrys largest collections of historic ships. In the same area, near Pier 45, guests can tour the World War II submarine USS Pampanito. Another museum at Fishermans Wharf is the Mus .....
Transamerica Pyramid
9. As soon the Transamerica Pyramid was built in 1972, the skyscrapers unique silhouette made it an iconic San Francisco landmark. Before its completion however many people were opposed to the construction of the tower.
When the plans for the new headquarters of the Transamerica Company were unveiled in 1969 many of San Franciscos citizens opposed the construction of the proposed office building. Most people claimed that the futuristic pyramid-shaped skyscraper wouldnt fit in the city of San Francisco, which is better known for its picturesque wooden Victorian houses than for its skyscrapers.
Pyramid Shape

According to the architect, William L. Pereira, the pyramid is the ideal shape for skyscrapers, offering the practical advantage of letting more air and light in the adjacent streets. The building would, he thought, be a statement of architectural sculpture. In the end, he turned out right. Not only does it have the appearance of a modern sculpted monument, but if you look at the Transamerica Pyramid now, it also seems as if it was made to be built in San Francisco.
From an economical point of view, a pyramid is not an efficient structure in terms of surface. The upper floors are very small and since there is a minimum of space needed for elevators, emergency stairs and so on, the percentage of useable space is very low. This is basically the main reason such a shape is rarely used.
However the unique shape was used so the architect could get around the strict building laws that imposed a certain ratio between the buildings surface and its height. Thanks to its pyramid shape the tower was allowed to be much taller than if it had a conventional design.
The Building

  • The Transamerica Pyramid was finished in 1972 and having a height of 260 meters (853ft), towers over the rest of the city. It has 48 floors with a 64 meter (210ft) high spire on top, covered with aluminum panels. The building owes its sparkling white color to the layer of crushed quartz that covers the rest of the building.
    The Transamerica Pyramid is the tallest skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline. The building no longer houses the headquarters of the Transamerica Corporation, who moved their U.S. headquarters to Baltimore, Maryland, but it is still associated with the company and is depicted in the companys logo. Designed by architect William Pereira and built by Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company, at 853 ft (260 m), on completion in 1972 it was the eighth tallest building in the world.
    The Transamerica building was commissioned by Transamerica CEO John (Jack) R. Beckett, with the claim that he wished to allow light in the street below. Built on the site of the historic Montgomery Block, it has a structural height of 853 ft (260 m) and has 48 floors of retail and office space.
    Construction began in 1969 and finished in 1972, and was overseen by San Francisco-based contractor Dinwiddie Construction (now Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company). Transamerica moved its headquarters to the new building from across the street, where it had been based in another flatiron-shaped building now occupied by the Church of Scientology of San Francisco.
    [6] Although the tower is no longer Transamerica Corporation headquarters, it is still associated with the company and is depicted in the companys logo. The building is evocative of San Francisco and has become one of the many symbols of the city.[7] Designed by architect William Pereira, it faced opposition during planning and construction and was sometimes referred to by detractors as Pereiras Prick.[8] John King of the San Francisco Chronicle summed up the improved opinion of the building in 2009 as an architectural icon of the best sort - one that fits its location and gets better with age.
    [9] The Transamerica Pyramid was the tallest skyscraper west of Chicago from 1972 to 1974 surpassing the then Bank of America Center. It was surpassed by the Aon Center in Los Angeles. The building is thought to have been the intended target of a foiled terrorist attack, involving the hijacking of airplanes as part of the Bojinka plot, which was foiled in 1995.<>br[10] In 1999 Transamerica was acquired by Dutch insurance company Aegon. When the non-insurance operations of Transamerica were later sold to GE Capital, Aegon retained the building as an investment.
    [7] Design[edit] The land use and zoning restrictions for the parcel limited the number of square feet of office that could be built upon the lot, which sits at the north boundary of the financial district.
    The building is a tall, four-sided pyramid with two wings to accommodate an elevator shaft on the east and a stairwell and a smoke tower on the west. [11] The top 212 feet (65 m) of the building is the spire. There are four cameras pointed in the four cardinal directions at the top of this spire forming a virtual observation deck. Four monitors in the lobby, whose direction and zoom can be controlled by visitors, display the cameras views 24 hours a day. An observation deck on the 27th floor was closed after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and replaced by the virtual observation deck.
    The top of the Transamerica Pyramid is covered with aluminum panels. During the Christmas holiday season, and on Independence Day and the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, a brightly twinkling beacon called the Crown Jewel is lit at the top of the pyramid. .....
  • Alcatraz the rock
    10. Located in the middle of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island is best known as the site of the infamous penitentiary where some of the countrys most notorious criminals were imprisoned.
    The first European to discover the small island was Spanish naval officer Juan Manuel de Ayala, who in 1775 named the island Isla de los Alcatraces (Island of Gannets) for the many seabirds on the rocky island Alcatraz Island Alcatraz Island
    (he probably saw cormorants instead of gannets, a sort of pelican).
    Another common name for Alcatraz is The Rock as the 22 acre (9 ha) large island isnt much more than a large rock. Initially there wasnt even any soil, it was all transported to the island in the early 20th century so that prison wardens could create a garden.
    History of Alcatraz Island

    Since the island was strategically located the army built a fort here in the 1850s to defend the bay. During that time the West Coasts oldest lighthouse was also built here in 1854. It was replaced in 1909 by the tower that still stands today.
    In 1907 the fort was converted into a military prison which quickly gained a reputation for being harsh. After its post-prison years, the island was the site of an American Indian occupation and protest movement from 1969-1971. Members of many different tribes took up residence on the island for 18 months, claiming the land should have been returned to the Native Americans. They left the island in 1971, but many buildings were damaged. Visitors to the island can still find some remnants of those years while exploring the islands.
    The Prison

    The prison became famous for its notable inmates like Al Capone, Bill Machine Gun Kelly, Alvin Creepy Karpis - a partner of the notorious Ma Barker - and Birdman Robert Stroud. To keep all these high profile prisoners under control they had to stay in their cell for 16 to 23 hours per day and were not allowed to talk to each other. Prisoners causing trouble could lose privileges such as hallway inside the prison on Alcatraz Island, San Francisco
    reading books or receiving visitors. The worst were put in isolation cells, where they had no privileges and could only leave the cell for 10 minutes each week to take a shower.
    Alcatraz was well-known as the prison from which no one could escape and, despite many attempts, no one successfully fled Alcatraz during its 29 years in operation. To keep prisoners from escaping the island was protected by barbed wire, watchtowers and remote controlled doors. But what made any escape attempt a perilous endeavor was the cold water and strong current in the bay around the island.
    The most famous attempt to escape from the prison was that by the Anglin Brothers and Frank Morris; a dramatized version of the escape was made into the 1979 movie Escape from Alcatraz. Lighthouse, Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Lighthouse
    While the three companions succeeded in getting off the island they probably drowned in the bay.
    Exploring the Island

    Though Alcatraz Island is federally owned, visitors must book transportation through a private company in order to gain access to the island. Plans should be made well in advance, especially during the summer months, as Alcatraz tours fill up quickly. Most tours include the Alcatraz Cellhouse Audio Tour, which is essentially a self-guided tour of the prison. Visitors can also explore the area outside the prison as well. The area is a good place to peruse native plants and birds but it can be difficult to navigate for anyone with a handicap. .....
    Mission Dolores
    11. The only intact Mission Chapel in the chain of 21 established under the direction of Father Junipero Serra, Mission Dolores is an important San Francisco landmark.
    The Church

    Founded on June 29, 1776, the Mission San Francisco de Asis - more popularly known as Mission Dolores - was founded during the Spanish colonization of San Francisco. The missions church is the oldest original church building in California and the oldest intact building in the city of San Francisco.
    The original mission at the site was a humble log and thatch structure. Construction on the current Mission Dolores church building didnt begin until a dozen years later. More than 36,000 adobe bricks were used to build this structure, which was finally dedicated in 1791.
    Today the fa .....
    Golden Gate Park
    12. The largest and best known park in San Francisco is the 1,017 acre (411 ha) Golden Gate Park. Its history goes back to 1870 when the site was an area of wild sand dunes. At the time, the area, known as outside lands, was well outside the citys developed limits.
    In 1870, William Hammond Hall, a civil engineer, was contracted to design the park. He was inspired by Frederick Law Olmsted, the creator of the Central Park in New York. He created a hilly park with a varying landscape of lakes, meadows, ridges and winding roads. To convert the sand dunes into a forested parkland, innovative sand reclamation techniques were used and a dike was built to protect the park from the sea.
    In 1871 William Hall was appointed as the first superintendent of the new park. He was succeeded in 1887 by John McLaren, a Scottish native. During the 56 years as superintendent of the park, he planted thousands of trees and converted the area into the park as we know it today.
    The main attractions of the park are located at the eastern side. Here you find the Conservatory of Flowers as well as the Japanese Tea garden and the adjacent M.H. De Young Museum.
    The Conservatory of Flowers, a Victorian-style greenhouse is modeled after the Palm house at the Kew Gardens in London. It was built between 1876 and 1883 and houses a collection of tropical plants and flowers.
    The M.H. De Young Museum has its origins in the 1894 Midwinter International expo. The Fine arts Museum, temporarily built for the expo, was so successful that it was decided to establish a permanent museum. The museum has a very diverse collection, including paintings from the Laurance Rockefeller collection.
    Another remnant from the 1894 expo is the Japanese Tea Garden. Following the success of the expos Japanese village, a Japanese Tea Garden was constructed to display the Japanese lifestyle. The garden, covering 5 acres (2 hectares), features a teahouse, sculptures, ponds, bridges and many native Japanese plants.
    The Golden Gate Park has many more attractions including the Buffalo paddock, a rose garden, the Steinhart aquarium and the Strybing arboretum. At the north-west corner of the park theres even a Dutch garden, complete with an authentic windmill. The park is also popular for its sports facilities which include tennis, p .....
    City Hall
    13. The city hall of San Francisco is one of the countrys most magnificent Beaux-Arts buildings. It is an enormous building, occupying two city blocks. Its central dome is even taller than that of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.
    The city halls grandeur was a reflection of the growing importance of the city of San Francisco.
    Old City Hall

    The current building replaced the Old City Hall which opened in 1899 after 27 years of construction. In 1906, only 7 years after its completion, this domed building was destroyed by the disastrous earthquake of 1906.
    A New City Hall

    In 1912 a competition was organized to choose a design for a new city hall, which was to be the central building of the planned Civic Center. San Francisco City Hall The winning proposal was submitted by Arthur Brown, the architect responsible for many other buildings in San Francisco, including the Opera House and the Coit Tower.
    Browns classical design was influenced by his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. The building, constructed between 1913 and 1915, uses many classical design elements like the portico and doric columns. The D .....
    Pier 39
    14. One of San Franciscos premiere attractions, Pier 39 boasts shops, restaurants, and enough activities to keep you busy for hours. Pier 39 is also famous for its colony of sea lions, some of which stay here all year.
    About the Pier

    Pier 39 is a 45 acre (18 ha) complex located at the waterfront just a few blocks from famous Fishermans Wharf. The views from the pier are wonderful and the area has been dubbed by the San Francisco Chronicle as the Best Place to Watch People in San Francisco.
    Pier 39 was originally built in 1905 as a cargo pier. Thanks to the vision of a few concerned citizens, the dilapidated pier was given new life in 1978, when it was renovated as a picturesque fishing village, and since that time has blended in with Fishermans Wharf so that most tourists rarely recognize that theyve left one and entered the other.
    Most of the shops, eateries, and attractions at Pier 39 are open from 10 am until mid-evening on weekdays, with later hours on Friday and Saturday. Its one of the busiest areas of the city, so its best reached via public transportation.
    Shopping & Dining

    Pier 39 is home to more than 100 specialty shops. Not unlike the stores at Fishermans Wharf, many of the shops here peddle San Francisco souvenirs ranging from mugs and magnets to pricey sweatshirts. There are also some other stores such as an NFL Shop Pier 39, San Francisco and a store that sells anything for left-handed people.
    There are many full service restaurants located at Pier 39, including a Hard Rock Cafe. A large number of these restaurants specialize in seafood. There are also plenty of food stands and fast food eateries including ice cream shops and a chocolate shop.
    Attractions When the kids tire of shopping, there are myriad other things to keep them busy. They can hop aboard the historic San Francisco Carousel, handcrafted in Italy, jump on the bungee trampoline, or explore the mirror maze.
    Pier 39 is also home to the Aquarium of the Bay. For an affordable admission charge, guests can get a great view of San Franciscos fascinating marine life, including some 20,000 aquatic animals.
    Sea Lions

    For some free fun, take a moment to watch Pier 39s famous sea lions frolic in the surf. The first sea lions arrived here in 1990 shortly after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. Their numbers quickly grew into the hundreds. The large colony stays here during wintertime and migrates south for the breeding season, although a small number stays here year-round.
    Pier 39 is a shopping center and popular tourist attraction built on a pier in San Francisco, California. At Pier 39, there are shops, restaurants, a video arcade, street performances, an interpretive center for the Marine Mammal Center, the Aquarium of the Bay, virtual 3D rides, and views of California sea lions hauled out on docks on Pier 39s marina. The marina is also home to the floating Forbes Island restaurant. A two-story carousel is one of the piers more dominant features, although it is not directly visible from the street and sits towards the end of the pier. The family-oriented entertainment and presence of marine mammals make this a popular tourist location for families with kids.
    The pier is located at the edge of the Fishermans Wharf district and is close to North Beach, Chinatown, and the Embarcadero. The area is easily accessible via the historic F Market streetcars.
    From the pier one can see Angel Island, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Bay Bridge. Blue & Gold Fleets bay cruises leave from Pier 39.
    Pier 39 was first developed by entrepreneur Warren Simmons and opened October 4, 1978.
    California Sea Lions have always been present in San Francisco Bay.[citation needed] They started to haul out on docks of Pier 39 in September 1989. Before that they mostly used Seal Rock for that purpose. Ever since September 1989 the number of sea lions on Seal Rock has been steadily decreasing, while their number on Pier 39 has generally increased. Some people speculate that sea lions moved to docks because of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, but the earthquake occurred months after the first sea lions had arrived at Pier 39. It is likely that the sea lions feel safer inside the Bay.
    Although the reason for their migration to the pier is unclear, the refurbishing of the docks in September 1989 required the removal of all boats from that area, leaving large open spaces for the sea lions to move into. Once the project was completed, boat owners returned, but did their best to navigate around the sea lions; no efforts were made to encourage the new guests to leave. By the end of that year, less than a dozen sea lions frequented the docks at Pier 39.[2] By January 1990, their numbers had increased to 150 animals. Owners of the 11 boats docked there began to complain about having to avoid the animals who can weigh up to half a ton, and odor and noise complaints began to pour in. Press releases caught national attention, and the sea lions began to attract tourists. Advice from The Marine Mammal Center was to abandon the docks to the animals, and to relocate the boats elsewhere.
    Although fluctuations in the number of sea lions at Pier 39 are dramatic, as many as 1,701 (Thanksgiving Week, 2009) have been officially reported at one time, many of whom are recognizable to researchers and others, and some of whom have been unofficially named. Volunteers and staff at The Marine Mammal Store and Interpretive Center monitor the sea lion population each day, and educational information is provided to tourists who visit from around the world. Scientists continue to collect information there, adding to knowledge about sea lion health, dietary habits, and behavior.[2] In November 2009 the more than 1,701 (Thanksgiving Week, 2009) sea lions that had lived at the pier began to leave, and by late December 2009 nearly all were gone; a similar flux in population occurs annually, with the animals returning in the spring. Although the reason for their seasonal appearance and departure is not known for certain, according to Jeff Boehm, executive director of the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, Most likely, they left chasing a food source, anchovies and sardines.[3] A handful of sea lions did return in February, and by late May several hundred could once again be seen on Pier 39. It remains unknown exactly where they went and why. However, in December 2009, nearly 4,000 sea lions that were identified as members of the California sub-species were seen outside Oregons Sea Lion Caves, which meant that they were likely the sea lions from Pier 39. .....
    Union Square
    15. The third largest shopping area in the United States, San Franciscos Union Square is home to tons of upscale stores and hotels. A tall column at the center of the square commemorates a victory in the Spanish-American War.
    Union Square had its beginnings during the years of the U.S. Civil War. The square got its name thanks to the large number of pro-Union rallies held there during the war.
    Actually, Union Square was first set aside for public use in 1849 by the citys first mayor. He envisioned it as a green, tranquil spot in the middle of a bustling city - a perfect place for busy citizens to relax. At the time the area was still residential and the square was lined with beautiful Victorian mansions. At the end of the 19th century the first hotels and warehouses started to establish here. The first warehouse - the City of Paris - opened its doors in 1896. The first grand hotel - the St. Francis Hotel - opened in 1904.
    After the earthquake and fire of 1906 leveled most of the buildings that surrounded it, the area quickly recovered.
    St. Francis Hotel was already rebuilt in 1907. The hotel, which was expanded the next year is still located at the square. The beautiful Beaux-Arts building of the City of Paris, which only needed its interior restored after the earthquake, was unfortunately demolished in 1981.
    In 1942, local officials installed a large underground parking lot at the site and relegated the square to the roof of the garage. By the late 1990s, however, the mayor and his staff recognized the importance of the square as a central gathering place and began extensive renovations. More paved areas were added to make it easier to traverse and several outdoor cafes sprung up. The best stores were attracted to the area and began to move in. Union Square became the preferred location for outdoor concerts and the annual Christmas tree and - true to its history - protests still take place here.
    Victoria Monument

    At the center of Union Square stands a tall Corinthian column topped with a statue of Victoria, goddess of victory. The monument, also known as the Dewey Monument, commemorates the victory of admiral George Dewey in 1898 at Manila Bay during the Spanish - American war.
    Union Square Area

    Today, the term Union Square continues to describe not only the 2.6 acre (1 ha) square that bears the name but also the central shopping area around it. Macys flagship store is located there as are other popular upscale retail vendors such as Neiman-Marcus and Nordstroms.Boutiques are plentiful as well as are art galleries touting works by wonderful regional artists.
    San Franciscos theater district also borders the Union Square area. In addition, some of the citys finest hotels are situated in or near Union Square, including The St. Francis, Sir Frances Drake Hotel, and the San Francisco Grand Hyatt.
    Also in the vicinity of the Union Square is the Powell Street Cable Car Turntable. Since the cable cars along the Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason routes can only go in one direction they have to be manually turned at their end point. At the turntable near the intersection of Powell and Market Streets, youll see scores of people watching this spectacle while queuing for a ride on the cable car. .....
    Palace of Fine Arts
    16. San Franciscos Palace of Fine Arts was originally built for an exhibition that celebrated the completion of the Panama Canal and the citys recovery from the 1906 earthquake and fire.
    The Original Design

    Architect Bernard R. Maybeck was charged with the task of creating a grand structure for the 1915 Pan-Pacific International Exhibition to be held in San Francisco. The theme he chose for his design was that of a Roman ruin, meant to show the mortality of grandeur and the vanity of human wishes ....
    The architect and members of the exhibition committee chose a 3-acre (121 are) spot in the citys current Marina District for the Palace. The lagoon surrounding the building served to reflect the structure and was reminiscent of similar settings common in Europe.
    However, such buildings for exhibitions were not meant to last, intended for dismantling after the exhibition was complete. So the palaces beautiful Greco-Romanesque rotunda and the eight colonnades that made up the original Palace of Fine Arts were framed in wood and covered with burlap-fiber mixture known as staff. Subsequently, most of the buildings didnt last long. However, the crescent-shaped gallery behind the rotunda, which housed valuable works of art, survived - thanks to its concrete walls which were fashioned as such to protect the art.
    Preserving the Palace

    Though the local League of Fine Arts tried to preserve the building after the exposition, upkeep proved too costly. In the 1930s, 18 lighted tennis courts appeared on the site. During World War II, the Palace was home to a pool of jeeps and other Army vehicles. By the 1950s, the structure had been so abused that the building and grounds were declared unsafe for use.
    By the early 60s, however, both local government and concerned citizens recognized the fact that the loss of the Palace of Fine Arts was indeed a great loss to the people of the city. Fund raising and philanthropic donations resulted in the demolition and reconstruction of the palace in 1964, using plans by Hans Gerson, duplicating Maybecks originals.In 1969, a science museum was opened there and by the 70s, the north and south colonnade rose again and the gallery became the permanent home of the Palace of Fine Arts Theater, a 1,000 seat performing arts theater that hosts a variety of concerts and events.

    Also housed within the Palace of Fine Arts is the Exploratorium, a museum of science, art, and human perception. Founded in 1969 by Dr. Frank Oppenheimer (brother of Robert Oppenheimer), this hands-on science center strives to make science accessible to the masses. As one of San Franciscos most popular attractions, it has likely achieved its goals.
    The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of San Francisco, California, is a monumental structure originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in order to exhibit works of art presented there. One of only a few surviving structures from the Exposition, it is the only one still situated on its original site. It was rebuilt in 1965, and renovation of the lagoon, walkways, and a seismic retrofit were completed in early 2009.
    In addition to hosting art exhibitions, it remains a popular attraction for tourists and locals, and is a favorite location for weddings and wedding party photographs for couples throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, and such an icon that a miniature replica of it was built in Disneys California Adventure in Anaheim.
    The Palace of Fine Arts was one of ten palaces at the heart of the Panama-Pacific Exhibition, which also included the exhibit palaces of Education, Liberal Arts, Manufactures, Varied Industries, Agriculture, Food Products, Transportation, Mines and Metallurgy and the Palace of Machinery.[4] The Palace of Fine Arts was designed by Bernard Maybeck, who took his inspiration from Roman and Greek architecture[5] in designing what was essentially a fictional ruin from another time.
    While most of the exposition was demolished when the exposition ended, the Palace was so beloved that a Palace Preservation League, founded by Phoebe Apperson Hearst, was founded while the fair was still in progress.
    [6] For a time the Palace housed a continuous art exhibit, and during the Great Depression, W.P.A. artists were commissioned to replace the decayed Robert Reid murals on the ceiling of the rotunda. From 1934 to 1942 the exhibition hall was home to eighteen lighted tennis courts. During World War II it was requisitioned by the military for storage of trucks and jeeps. At the end of the war, when the United Nations was created in San Francisco, limousines used by the worlds statesmen came from a motor pool there. From 1947 on the hall was put to various uses: as a city Park Department warehouse; as a telephone book distribution center; as a flag and tent storage depot; and even as temporary Fire Department headquarters.
    [7] While the Palace had been saved from demolition, its structure was not stable. Originally intended to only stand for the duration of the Exhibition, the colonnade and rotunda were not built of durable materials, and thus framed in wood and then covered with staff, a mixture of plaster and burlap-type fiber. As a result of the construction and vandalism, by the 1950s the simulated ruin was in fact a crumbling ruin.
    [8]In 1964, the original Palace was completely demolished, with only the steel structure of the exhibit hall left standing. The buildings were then reconstructed in permanent, light-weight, poured-in-place concrete, and steel I-beams were hoisted into place for the dome of the rotunda. All the decorations and sculpture were constructed anew. The only changes were the absence of the murals in the dome, two end pylons of the colonnade, and the original ornamentation of the exhibit hall.
    In 1969, the former Exhibit Hall became home to the Exploratorium interactive museum, and, in 1970, also became the home of the 966-seat Palace of Fine Arts Theater.[9] In 2003, the City of San Francisco along with the Maybeck Foundation created a public-private partnership to restore the Palace and by 2010 work was done to restore and seismically retrofit the dome, rotunda, colonnades and lagoon. In January 2013, the Exploratorium closed in preparation for its permanent move to the Embarcadero.
    Today, Australian eucalyptus trees fringe the eastern shore of the lagoon. Many forms of wildlife have made their home there including swans, ducks (particularly migrating fowl), geese, turtles, frogs, and raccoons.
    Built around a small artificial lagoon, the Palace of Fine Arts is composed of a wide, 1,100 ft (340 m) pergola around a central rotunda situated by the water.[10] The lagoon was intended to echo those found in classical settings in Europe, where the expanse of water provides a mirror surface to reflect the grand buildings and an undisturbed vista to appreciate them from a distance.
    Ornamentation includes Bruno Louis Zimms three repeating panels around the entablature of the rotunda, representing The Struggle for the Beautiful, symbolizing Greek culture.[11] while Ulric Ellerhusen supplied the weeping women atop the colonnade[12] and the sculptured frieze and allegorical figures representing Contemplation, Wonderment and Meditation.
    The underside of the Palace rotundas dome features eight large insets, which originally contained murals by Robert Reid. Four depicted the conception and birth of Art, its commitment to the Earth, its progress and acceptance by the human intellect, and four the golds of California (poppies, citrus fruits, metallic gold, and wheat).
    The Palace of Fine Arts was not the only building from the exposition to survive demolition. The Japanese Tea House (not to be confused with the Japanese Tea House that remains in Golden Gate Park, which dates from an 1894 fair) was purchased in 1915 by land baron E.D. Swift and was transported by barge down the Bay to Belmont, California where it stands to this day.[16] The Wisconsin and Virginia buildings were relocated to Marin County. The Ohio building was shipped to San Mateo County, where it survived until the 1950s.[5] The Column of Progress stood for a decade after the close of the Exhibition, but was then demolished to accommodate traffic on Marina Boulevard. Although not built on the exhibition grounds, the only other structure from it still standing in its original location is the San Francisco Civic Auditorium, known now as the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
    The Legion of Honor Museum, in Lincoln Park, is a full-scale replica of the French Pavilion at the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, which in turn was a three-quarter-scale version of the Palais de la L .....
    Nob Hill
    17. San Franciscos Nob Hill neighborhood was once home to the citys richest railroad barons and other wealthy citizens, and remains an upscale enclave. The area is home to a number of grand buildings from the early 20th century.
    Living in Nob Hill

    Bordered by Polk, Post, Washington, and Mason Streets, the neighborhood known as Nob Hill has always been one of San Franciscos wealthiest communities. Once the site of numerous mansions and other grand buildings - a few of which still exist - Nob Hill is today a bit more eclectic but still equally as enticing a place in which to live or visit.
    Back during Gold Rush times, when San Franciscos famed cable cars began carrying people up the hill, Nob Hill became the most desirable place to live. After all, the view is incredible and, in those days, wealthy citizens didnt want to live down the hill near the waterfront, where days were noisy and nights bawdy.
    Many of the rich who accumulated their wealth during the goldrush era in often dubious circumstances built their mansions on top of this hill, trying to outdo each other. Nob was one of the names given to these magnates, which is where the hill got its name from.
    Some of those building their mansion on Nob Hill included Bonanza King James Flood, his companion James Fair, and a group known as the Big Four: Mark Hopkins, Collis P. Huntington, Charles Crocker and Leland Stanford. As (reputedly corrupt) business partners who invested in the first transcontinental railroad, they were some of the most hated people of their time, dubbed Robber Barons. All four built a large mansion on top of the hill, but none survived the earthquake and fire of 1906.
    Sights to See

    If you are traversing the neighborhood known as Nob Hill, there are a handful of must sees that should be included on your itinerary.
    Cable Car Museum

    Nob Hill is home to the citys Cable Car Museum. This museum, located on Mason Street, is housed in the citys cable car barn and powerhouse and provides visitors with an excellent look at the history of this famous form of transportation.You can also view a umber of vintage cable cars and shop in the small gift shop, where everything is cable car-themed. The barn is still actively used as the center of the cable car system. From a deck you can see the mechanics that pull the cable cars up the hills.
    Huntington Park

    In the center of Nob Hill is pretty Huntington Park. Once the site of the mansion of railroad tycoon Collis Huntington and his wife Arabella, the park was built after the 1906 earthquake flattened the grand estate. A good place to relax, Grace Cathedral, Nob Hill, San Francisco Grace Cathedral the park has plenty of benches as well as a childrens playground. Dont miss the replica of Romes Fountain of the Tortoises, located in the middle of the park.
    Grace Cathedral

    Adjacent to Huntington Park is Grace Episcopal Cathedral. The largest Episcopal church on the West Coast, this cathedral boasts elaborate stained glass windows and massive bronze doors. The cathedral was built between 1928 and 1964 after the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Check out their concert schedule as well.
    Mark Hopkins Hotel
    The Mark Hopkins Hotel was built in 1925 at the site of the mansion of Mark Hopkins, one of the Big Four railroad tycoons. Like many other wooden mansions it was destroyed by fire in the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake.
    Fairmont Hotel

    Built by the daughter of James Fair, the opulent beaux-arts building was destroyed by the 1906 fire just two days after it was completed.It was fortunately soon rebuilt.
    This building in italianate style, also known as the Flood Mansion, is one of the few that survived the fire of 1906. It was built in 1886 by architect Augustus Laver for James Flood, known as the bonanza king since his wealth was the result of the discovery of a bonanza. After the fire the burnt-out building was purchased and renovated by the Pacific-Union Club, a private social club with its roots in the goldrush era.Nob Hill is a neighborhood in San Francisco, California, centered on the intersection of California Street and Powell Street. It is one of San Franciscos 44 hills, and one of its original Seven Hills. Prior to the 1850s, Nob Hill was called California Hill (after California Street, which climbs its steep eastern face). It was renamed after the Central Pacific Railroads Big Four called the Nobs built mansions there.
    The actual peak of Nob Hill lies slightly to the northwest, approximately at the intersection of Jones and Sacramento Streets. South of Nob Hill is the shopping district of Union Square, the Tenderloin neighborhood, and Market Street. To the east is San Franciscos Chinatown and a little farther, the citys financial district. Northeast of Nob Hill is North Beach and Telegraph Hill. North of Nob Hill is Russian Hill, and eventually, the tourist-centered areas of the waterfront such as Pier 39 and Fishermans Wharf.
    The area was settled in the rapid urbanization happening in the city in the late 19th century. Because of the views and its central position, it became an exclusive enclave of the rich and famous on the west coast who built large mansions in the neighborhood. This included prominent tycoons such as Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University and other members of The Big Four.
    The neighborhood was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire, except for the granite walls surrounding the Stanford, Crocker, Huntington and Hopkins mansions. Those walls remain and you can see black scars caused by smoke from the intense fires that burned after the quake.
    Also gutted by the fires was the newly completed Fairmont Hotel at Mason and California Streets, as well as the mansion of tycoon James Flood. Both structures had stone exteriors that survived the fires, and both buildings were subsequently rebuilt. The Fairmont Hotel remains in operation to this day and the Flood Mansion is the headquarters of the exclusive Pacific-Union Club.
    While the neighborhood was able to maintain its affluence following the quake, every mansion owner moved or rebuilt elsewhere. Some rebuilt mansions further west in San Francisco, for example, in Pacific Heights and Cow Hollow. In place of where the mansions had been located, swank hotels were erected. Hotels built over the ruins of the former mansions include the Mark Hopkins, Huntington and Stanford Court.Nob Hill is an affluent district, home to many of the citys upper-class families as well as a large young urban professional population, and a growing Chinese immigrant population from Chinatown to the east. Nob is disparaging British slang for newly rich, from the original Mughal Indian/Bengali word Nawab that refers to an upper-class individual. The location is also derisively referred to as Snob Hill. The intersection of California and Powell streets is the location of its four well-known and most expensive hotels: the Fairmont Hotel, the Mark Hopkins Hotel, the Stanford Court, and the Huntington Hotel. The hotels were named for three of The Big Four, four entrepreneurs of the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad: Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins & Collis P. Huntington. The fourth, Charles Crocker has a garage named after him in the neighborhood. The Fairmont is also named for a San Francisco tycoon, James G. Fair.Though Nob Hill is a very densely built neighborhood, there are parks at which residents and visitors can relax and enjoy the outdoors. The most prominent park in the neighborhood is Huntington Park, which takes up an entire block, bounded by Sacramento Street to the north, Taylor Street to the west, California Street to the south, and Cushman Street to the east. Huntington Park was formerly the site of the mansion of Central Pacific Railroad baron Collis P. Huntington; the mansion was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire, however, and Mr. Huntingtons widow donated the property to the city to establish a park in 1915.[4] Huntington Park has a playground for children, landscaping, and several fountains. Washington & Hyde Mini Park is situated on a single lot between two apartment buildings on the north side of Washington Street, between Hyde Street and Leavenworth Street. Washington & Hyde Mini Park has a playground for children, landscaping, and public restrooms. .....
    18. Home to about 12,000 Japanese Americans, San Franciscos Japantown presents visitors with an opportunity to enjoy Japanese culture, shops, and restaurants. The areas main sight is the Peace Pagoda.
    History of the Neighborhood The Japanese have been coming to San Franciscoto Francisco and the surrounding bay area since the 1860s. While they first lived in Chinatown and other areas south of Market Street, the fire caused by the great earthquake of 1906 forced them from those areas and prompted them to find homes in a neighborhood known as the Western Addition, untouched by the fire, located west of Union Square.
    As the Japanese moved to the area, they began establishing not only homesteads but also stores, eateries and temples. The neighborhood soon became known as Japantown, Nihonmachi or Japantown (sometimes also called J-Town).The start of World War II resulted in the internment of most Japanese Americans on the West Coast of the U.S., so much of Japantown was empty during the war years. After WWII ended, many Japanese returned to the neighborhood to resume their lives. As a matter of fact, the overcrowding in the area after the war resulted in redevelopment of the neighborhood and the awarding of an urban renewal grant that allowed for new buildings to be constructed.
    In 1968, the 3-square-block Japan Center (originally the Japanese Cultural and Trade Center) was completed. Japantown, San Francisco The center includes a deluxe hotel and two malls - the Kintetsu and Miyako. Another mall, the Osaka Way, was completed in 1976. Japan Center was part of an ambitious project that unfortunately also included the construction of the Geary Expressway which cuts off the neigborhood to the south.
    Whats There?
    JapanTown has large variety of stores, from those offering traditional Japanese fare to fancy boutiques and well-priced electronics vendors. Also located there are a handful of art galleries and a subsidiary of the largest bookstore chain in Japan, Kinokuniya Bookstore, which sells books written in both English and Japanese.Restaurants - mostly Japanese - are plentiful. You-ll find national chains like Benihana as well as small mom and pop operations that offer some of the best Japanese food on the West Coast. There are also a number of churches and temples in JapanTown such as the Sokoji-Soto Temple, a Buddhist temple built in 1984.
    Peace Pagoda and Japanese Gate Dont miss a visit to the Peace Center and five-story, 100ft (30m) tall Pagoda, the centerpiece of Japantown and a good photo opportunity. The pagoda, designed by Japanese architect Yoshiro Taniguchi, was given to Japantown by the people of Osaka, San Franciscos sister city in Japan. This affiliation led to yet another nickname for JapanTown: Little Osaka.
    Another landmark in Japantown is a Japanese mountain temple gate, built in 1976 as the symbolic entrance to the Buchanan Mall. The Mall, which is now known as the Osaka Way, is a picturesque pedestrian street paved with cobblestones and bordered by houses built in Japanese style.
    Japantown (also known as J Town or historically as Japanese Town, Nihonmachi) is a section located in the Western Addition neighborhood of San Francisco, California that comprises about six square city blocks. San Franciscos Japantown is the largest and oldest such enclave in the United States.
    The main thoroughfare is Post Street, between Fillmore Street (to the west) and Laguna Street (to the east). The Japantown neighborhood is generally considered to be bordered on the north by Bush or Pine Street, and on the south by Geary Boulevard. Its focal point is the Japan Center (opened in 1968),[3] the site of three Japanese-oriented shopping centers and the Peace Pagoda, a five-tiered concrete stupa designed by Japanese architect Yoshiro Taniguchi and presented to San Francisco by the people of Osaka, Japan.
    Built and settled as part of the Western Addition neighborhood in the 19th and early 20th century, Japanese immigrants began moving into the area following the 1906 Earthquake.[4] (Before 1906, San Francisco had two Japantowns, one on the outskirts of Chinatown, the other in the South of Market area. After 1906, San Franciscos main Japantown was in the Western Addition, with a smaller one in the South Park area.[5]) By World War II, the neighborhood was one of the largest such enclaves of Japanese outside of Japan, as it took an appearance similar to the Ginza district in Tokyo.
    [4]After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the neighborhood experienced kristallnacht type attacks on residences and businesses. In February 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 that forced all Japanese of birth or descent in the United States interned. By 1943 many large sections of the neighborhood remained vacant due to the forced internment. The void was quickly filled by thousands of African Americans who had left the South to find wartime industrial jobs in California as part of the Great Migration. Following the war, some Japanese Americans returned, followed by new Japanese immigrants as well as investment from the Japanese Government and Japanese companies, many did not return to the neighborhood and instead settled in other parts of the city, or out to the suburbs altogether. This was further exacerbated by the citys efforts to rejuvenate the neighborhood initiated by Justin Herman in the Western Addition in the 1960s through the 1980s.
    In 1957, San Francisco entered in a sister city relationship with the city of Osaka, hence the nickname Little Osaka. Osaka is San Franciscos oldest sister city.[7] In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of this relationship, one block of Buchanan Street, in Japantown, was renamed Osaka Way on 8 September 2007.
    The area is home to Japanese (and some Korean and Chinese) restaurants, supermarkets, indoor shopping malls, hotels, banks and other shops, including one of the few U.S. branches of the large Kinokuniya bookstore chain. Most of these businesses are located in the commercial center of the neighborhood which is a large shopping mall built in the 1960s as part of urban renewal efforts and is run by Japanese retailer Kintetsu.
    Pika Pika, one of the up-and-coming businesses, involves taking Japanese sticker pictures that can be decorated and written on called purikura.San Franciscos Japantown celebrates two major festivals every year: The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival (held for two weekends every April),[9] and the Nihonmachi Street Fair, held one weekend in the month of August.
    10]The Cherry Blossom Festival takes place over the course of two weekends. During the first weekend, the Northern California Cherry Blossom Queen Program takes place at the Kabuki theatre where women of Japanese/Japanese-American descent are chosen to represent, learn about and serve their community.[11] During the Sunday parade, the Queen and Princesses are presented on a float.
    The area is within the San Francisco Unified School District. Rosa Parks Elementary School is located near Japantown. It houses the Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program (JBBP).[13] In the winter of 2005 Rosa Parks had 233 students, which filled less than half of the school. That winter SFUSD proposed closing the school and merge it with another elementary school. Parents protested in favor of keeping the school open. SFUSD moved the Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program into Rosa Parks. As of November 2006, almost half of the students in the regular Rosa Parks program are African-American and one third of the students in the JBBP program are Japanese. .....
    19. Commonly known as The Haight, San Franciscos Haight-Ashbury neighborhood is most closely associated with the Hippie subculture of the 1960s, some of which is still evident today.
    Early History
    When San Francisco was just a young city, the area known as Haight-Ashbury was full of farms and open space. But when the Haight Street cable car line was built, the neighborhood experienced a boom, eventually becoming a desirable upper-middle-class neighborhood with many lovely homes. It was also one of the only parts of the city that was spared after the fires that followed the famous 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.
    During and after the Great Depression, Haight-Ashbury suffered a serious decline and after a slight rise post-World War II, by the 1950s it was a less than desirable neighborhood with plenty of vacant houses.
    The Hippies

    Soon, the presence of empty houses for sale at low prices and plenty of cheap rooms to rent attracted a group of young people (many of them beatniks) that eventually became known as Hippies. By the mid-60s, Haight-Ashbury became the home base of the Hippie subculture. It was also known as a center for illegal drug use and became home to many of the decades psychedelic rock groups, like Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead.
    By the time the 1967 Summer of Love happened, Haight-Ashbury was the place to be if you were a Hippie. Thousands of young people had, by this time, migrated to the area from all around the country. Haight-Ashbury received lots of negative publicity from conservative groups who disapproved of the Hippie lifestyle and many looked down at San Francisco as a place that proliferated this bohemian way of life.
    Since that time, the neighborhood has never been the same and some members of the Flower Power generation still make their home in The Haight more than forty years later.
    Haight-Ashbury Today

    Haight-Ashbury is no longer a haven for Hippies but some of that culture is still evident in the many vintage clothing shops, second-hand stores, and cafes scattered around the neighborhood.
    Today, locals break The Haight into two sections: Upper and Lower. The Upper Haight extends from Stanyan to Masonic and tends to be an upscale shopping area that attracts both tourists and affluent residents. The Lower Haight, in contrast, is home to a number of music clubs and is a popular nightlife destination.Haight-Ashbury is a district of San Francisco, California, named for the intersection of Haight and Ashbury streets. It is also called The Haight and The Upper Haight.[2] The neighborhood is known for its history of hippie subculture.
    The district generally encompasses the neighborhood surrounding Haight Street, bounded by Stanyan Street and Golden Gate Park on the west, Oak Street and the Golden Gate Park Panhandle on the north, Baker Street and Buena Vista Park to the east and Frederick Street and Ashbury Heights and Cole Valley neighborhoods to the south.
    The street names commemorate two early San Francisco leaders: Pioneer and exchange banker Henry Haight[3] and Munroe Ashbury, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 1864 to 1870.[4] Both Haight and his nephew as well as Ashbury had a hand in the planning of the neighborhood, and, more importantly, nearby Golden Gate Park at its inception. The name Upper Haight, used by locals, is in contrast to the Haight-Fillmore or Lower Haight district; the latter being lower in elevation and part of what was previously the principal African-American and Japanese neighborhoods in San Franciscos early years.
    The Haight-Ashbury district is noted for its role as a center of the 1960s hippie movemebr
    Farms, entertainment, and homes

    Before the completion of the Haight Street Cable Railroad in 1883, what is now the Haight-Ashbury was a collection of isolated farms and acres of sand dunes. The Haight cable car line, completed in 1883, connected the east end of Golden Gate Park with the geographically central Market Street line and the rest of downtown San Francisco. As the primary gateway to Golden Gate Park, and with an amusement park known as the Chutes[5] on Haight Street between Cole and Clayton Streets between 1895 and 1902[6] and the California League Baseball Grounds stadium opening in 1887, the area became a popular entertainment destination, especially on weekends. The cable car, land grading and building techniques of the 1890s and early 20th century later reinvented the Haight-Ashbury as a residential upper middle class homeowners district.[7] It was one of the few neighborhoods spared from the fires that followed the catastrophic San Francisco earthquake of 1906.
    Depression and war

    The Haight was hit hard by the Depression, as was much of the city. Residents with enough money to spare left the declining and crowded neighborhood for greener pastures within the growing city limits, or newer, smaller suburban homes in the Bay Area. During the housing shortage of World War II, large single-family Victorians were divided into apartments to house workers. Others were converted into boarding homes for profit. By the 1950s, the Haight was a neighborhood in decline. Many buildings were left vacant after the war. Deferred maintenance also took its toll, and the exodus of middle class residents to newer suburbs continued to leave many units for rent.

    In the 1950s, a freeway was proposed that would have run through the Panhandle, but due to a citizen freeway revolt it was cancelled in a series of battles that lasted until 1966.[8][9] The Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC) was formed at the time of the 1959 revolt.[10] HANC is still active in the neighborhood as of 2008.
    [11]The Haight-Ashburys elaborately detailed, 19th century multi-story wooden houses became a haven for hippies during the 1960s, due to the availability of cheap rooms and vacant properties for rent or sale in the district; property values had dropped in part because of the proposed freeway.[12] The bohemian subculture that subsequently flourished there took root, and to a great extent, has remained to this day.
    Summer of Love

    The mainstream medias coverage of hippie life in the Haight-Ashbury drew the attention of youth from all over America. Hunter S. Thompson labeled the district Hashbury in The New York Times Magazine, and the activities in the area were reported almost daily.[14] The Haight-Ashbury district was sought out by hippies to constitute a community based upon counterculture ideals, drugs, and music. This neighborhood offered a concentrated gathering spot for hippies to create a social experiment that would soon spread throughout the nation. [15] The opening of the Psychedelic Shop on January 3, 1966 offered hippies a spot to purchase marijuana and LSD, which was essential to hippie life in Haight-Ashbury. [16] With the Psychedelic Shop located in the heart of Haight-Ashbury, the entire hippie community had easy access to drugs which was perceived as a community unifier. Thus, groovy and beautiful relationships could be formed by the binding experience of drugs. [17] The neighborhoods fame reached its peak as it became the haven for a number of the top psychedelic rock performers and groups of the time. Acts like Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin all lived a short distance from the intersection. They not only immortalized the scene in song, but also knew many within the community as friends and family. Another well-known neighborhood presence was The Diggers, a local community anarchist group known for its street theatre who also provided free food to residents every day.
    During the Summer of Love, psychedelic rock music was entering the mainstream, receiving more and more commercial radio airplay. The Scott McKenzie song San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair), written by John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, became a hit single in 1967. The Monterey Pop Festival in June further cemented the status of psychedelic music as a part of mainstream culture and elevated local Haight bands such as the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company and Jefferson Airplane to national stardom. A July 7, 1967, Time magazine cover story on The Hippies: Philosophy of a Subculture, an August CBS News television report on The Hippie Temptation[1] and other major media interest in the hippie subculture exposed the Haight-Ashbury district to enormous national attention and popularized the counterculture movement across the country and around the world.
    The Summer of Love attracted a wide range of people of various ages: teenagers and college students drawn by their peers and the allure of joining a cultural utopia; middle-class vacationers; and even partying military personnel from bases within driving distance. The Haight-Ashbury could not accommodate this rapid influx of people, and the neighborhood scene quickly deteriorated. Overcrowding, homelessness, hunger, drug problems, and crime afflicted the neighborhood. Many people simply left in the fall to resume their college studies.[18] On October 6, 1967, those remaining in the Haight staged a mock funeral, The Death of the Hippie ceremony. [19] Mary Kasper explained the message of the mock funeral as follows:
    We wanted to signal that this was the end of it, dont come out. Stay where you are! Bring the revolution to where you live. Dont come here because its over and done with.
    Recent history

    After 1968, the area went into decline due to an influx of hard drugs and a lack of police presence,[21][22] but was improved and renewed in the late 1970s.
    23]Throughout the 1980s the Haight became an epicenter for the SF Comedy Scene when a small coffee house off Haight Street called The Other Cafe (currently the restaurant Crepes on Cole) became a full-time comedy club helping to launch the careers of Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, and Whoopi Goldberg.[24] Also in the 1980s through to the early 1990s the I-Beam nightclub on Haight Street became a hot spot for modern rock dance music in San Francisco, and a popular venue for live performances by a litany of the worlds best known new wave, punk, industrial, and indie bands.
    Attractions and characteristics

    The area still maintains its bohemian ambiance. It is also home to a number of independent restaurants and bars, as well as clothing boutiques, booksellers, head shops and record stores including Amoeba Music. The cohabitation between throw-backs to the Fifties lounge scene, organic and spiritual New Age ambiance of the Sixties, rock and roll politics and computer culture is one of the neighborhoods most interesting and endearing aspects socially and artistically.
    The Red Victorian hotel is also a popular attraction. An independent theater of the same name operated about a block away from the hotel from 1980 to 2011.
    [25]The neighborhood is home to many restored Victorian houses. Painted Lady Victorians are a common sight throughout the neighborhood.
    The Tubes performing at 2012 Haight-Ashbury Street Fair. The Haight-Ashbury Street Fair is held on the second Sunday of June each year attracting thousands of people, during which Haight Street is closed between Stanyan and Masonic to vehicular traffic, with one sound stage at each end. .....
    Hyde Street Pier
    20. Part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, Hyde Street Pier is the perfect tourist attraction for lovers of boats and sea-faring history. Several of the historic ships moored here are open to the public.
    About the Pier

    Hyde Street Pier, located at the National Park Service-operated Maritime National Historic Park, is situated in the Fishermans Wharf area of San Francisco. The pier and the historic vessels berthed there are all an important part of Pacific Coast maritime history.
    The pier attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year and a visit to this attraction provides not only a chance to climb aboard historic ships but also wonderful views of the San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and other nearby attractions. Be sure to bring a camera!
    Historic Ships

    The centerpiece of Hyde Street Pier is the historic ships that are located there.However, the best first stop to make when visiting Hyde Street is the Visitor Center. Here you can pick up maps, and purchase souvenirs, books, and other items pertaining to San Franciscos long and proud maritime history. At the Visitor Center, guests can also arrange for guided tours.The Hyde Street Pier, at 2905 Hyde Street, is a historic ferry pier located on the northern waterfront of San Francisco, California, amidst the tourist zone of Fishermans Wharf.
    Prior to the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco .....
    St. Marys Cathedral
    21. This striking cathedral was built in 1967 by renowned architect/engineer Pier Luigi Nervi and partnering architect Pietro Belluschi. The church is one of the citys architectural highlights.
    Officially named the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption but better known simply as St. Marys Cathedral, this stunning San Francisco church has become an easily recognizable landmark for those who frequent the city.
    The Building

    Completed in 1971, this Roman Catholic cathedral - the Mother Church of the Archdiocese of San Francisco - soars 190 feet (58m) into the air and is topped with a 55-foot-tall (17m) golden cross. It is the third St. Marys to serve the people of San Francisco. The oldest - dubbed Old St. Marys - still sits at California and Grant Street, at the border of Chinatown. The other was destroyed in a fire.
    The architectural style of this cathedral is usually described as Expressionist Modern. Designed by Pier Luigi Nervi and Pietro Belluschi, the cathedral flows upward in graceful lines from each of its four corners, meeting in the middle to form a cross.The reinforced concrete roof is covered with white Italian marble.
    The four corner pylons support the cupola, which rises to 19 stories. The pylons extend down 90 feet (27m) into the bedrock in order to provide more stable support. According to architects records, the inner surface of the cupola is made up of 1,680 pre-cast triangular coffers of 128 different sizes, designed to distribute the weight of the cupola.

    The windows are huge and provide wonderful views of the city of San Francisco, and the red brick floor - which may seem out of place to some - is meant to reflect Californias Spanish Mission heritage. A kinetic sculpture by Richard Lippold sits above the altar. Fifteen stories high and weighing one ton, this modern piece consists of 14 tiers of triangular aluminum rods.
    A Contemporary Church

    The plans for this modern cathedral were drawn up not too long after the suggested reforms of the Second Vatican Council had been put into place, and the architect, Pier Luigi Nervi, called it the first cathedral truly of our time and in harmony with the liturgical reforms of the Council.
    The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, also known locally as Saint Marys Cathedral, is the principal church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco in San Francisco, California. It is the mother church of the Catholic faithful in the California counties of Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo and is the metropolitan cathedral for the Ecclesiastical province of San Francisco. The rector of the cathedral is Msgr. John Talesfore.
    The cathedral is located in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption replaced one previous church (1891-1962) of the same name. The first original Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception was built 1853-1854 and still stands today and is now known as Old Saint Marys Church.
    Second Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption on Van Ness Avenue

    In 1883, Archbishop Patrick W. Riordan purchased the northwest corner of Van Ness Avenue and OFarrell Street in Western Addition. Riordan broke ground in December 1885. On May 1, 1887 the archbishop placed the cornerstone. Archbishop Riordan dedicated the edifice to Saint Mary of the Assumption on January 11, 1891. The second cathedral served the Archdiocese of San Francisco for seventy-one years. During the episcopal terms of Archbishops Riordan, Edward J. Hanna and John J. Mitty. Papal Secretary of State Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, (future Pope Pius XII) said Mass at the High Altar in October 1936. April 3, 1962 Joseph T. McGucken, installed as the fifth Archbishop of San Francisco in the cathedral on Van Ness Avenue, five months later the landmark was destroyed by arson the night of September 7, 1962.
    The New Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption 1971

    The present-day cathedral was commissioned just as Vatican II was convening in Rome. Prescriptions of the historic church council allowed the Archdiocese of San Francisco to plan boldly in the building of its new cathedral. That resulted in the modern design of the present structure. Monsignor Thomas J. Bowe served as first rector of the new cathedral, 1962-1980. The cornerstone was laid on December 13, 1967, and the cathedral was completed three years later. On May 5, 1971, the cathedral was blessed and on October 5, 1996, was formally dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the name of Saint Mary of the Assumption. The first papal mass was celebrated by Pope John Paul II in the cathedral in 1987.
    It ran the private all-female Cathedral High School, in a building adjoined to the present-day cathedral itself. CHS merged with nearby all-male private Sacred Heart High School in 1987. St. Marys Cathedral still has close ties to the resulting Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, which uses the cathedral as its principal church for masses and other special events, such as graduation.

    The cathedral was designed by local architects John Michael Lee, Paul A. Ryan and Angus McSweeney,[1] collaborating with internationally known architects Pier Luigi Nervi and Pietro Belluschi at the time, the Dean of the School of Architecture at MIT. Its saddle roof is composed of eight segments of hyperbolic paraboloids, in such a fashion that the bottom horizontal cross section of the roof is a square and the top cross section is a cross. The design is reminiscent of St. Marys Cathedral in Tokyo, which was built earlier in the decade. Due to its resemblance to a large washing machine agitator, the cathedral has been nicknamed Our Lady of Maytag or McGuckens Maytag. The building was selected in 2007 by the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects for a list of San Franciscos top 25 buildings. .....
    Bay Bridge
    22. The San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge is a complex of bridges spanning San Francisco Bay of the U.S. state of California. As part of Interstate 80 and the direct road route between San Francisco and Oakland, it carries approximately 240,000 vehicles per day on its two decks.It has one of the longest spans in the United States.
    The toll bridge was conceived as early as the gold rush days, but construction did not begin until 1933. Designed by Charles H. Purcell, and built by American Bridge Company, it opened for traffic on November 12, 1936, six months before the Golden Gate Bridge. It originally carried automobile traffic on its upper deck, and trucks and trains on the lower, but after the closure of the Key System transit lines, the lower deck was converted to road traffic as well. In 1986, the bridge was unofficially dedicated to James B. Rolph
    The bridge consists of two sections of roughly equal length; the older western section connects downtown San Francisco to Yerba Buena Island and the newer eastern section connects the island to Oakland. The western section is a double suspension bridge. Originally, the largest span of the original eastern half was a cantilever bridge. During the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, a section of the eastern sections upper deck collapsed onto the lower deck and the bridge was closed for a month. Reconstruction of the eastern section of the bridge as a causeway connected to a self-anchored suspension bridge began in 2002; the new bridge opened September 2, 2013 at a reported cost of over $6.5 billion and is currently the worlds widest bridge, according to Guinness World Records. .....
    Yerba Buena Gardens
    23. The Yerba Buena Gardens are the result of the revitalization of a seedy area around Mission street that started with the construction of the Moscone convention center. Built on top of the convention center, the gardens have become the center of a lively recreational and entertainment area. The original block, built on top of Moscone North, comprises the Yerba Buena Esplanade, the Metreon and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.The esplanade is essentially a large green space with several small gardens, often used by the office workers to relax during breaks. Theres also a colorful terraced garden, known as the sister cities garden. The garden features plants from San Franciscos 13 sister cities around the world. From the terrace, a waterfall flows into a small pool at the esplanade level. The waterfall hides a memorial dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. Behind the water curtain you find excerpts from Martin Luther Kings speeches, etched in glass panels.
    The second block, on top of Moscone North, is known as the Rooftop at Yerba Buena Gardens. This paved area is mostly oriented towards children with a large playground, a historic hand- carved carousel, a labyrinth made of hedges, the Childrens Creativity Museum, an outdoor amphitheater, an ice rink and a bowling center.
    The Moscone center is San Franciscos largest convention center with more than two million square feet or almost 200,000 square meters of building area with six exhibit halls in three buildings.Thanks to the vision of city authorities the convention center has become the basis for a lively recreational area instead of a monumental obstacle in the center of San Francisco.

    Yerba Buena Gardens is the name for two blocks of public parks located between Third and Fourth, Mission and Folsom Streets in downtown San Francisco, California. The first block bordered by Mission and Howard Streets was opened on October 11, 1993. The second block, between Howard and Folsom Streets was opened in 1998, with a dedication to Martin Luther King, Jr. by Mayor Willie Brown. A pedestrian bridge over Howard Street connects the two blocks, sitting on top of part of the Moscone Center convention center. The Yerba Buena Gardens are owned by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and were planned and built as the final centerpiece of the Yerba Buena Redevelopment Area which includes the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. .....
    24. The iconic building features an enormous circular skylight situated on a turret, which lights the enormous central atrium below.The turret the buildings most noticeable feature, is decorated in alternating bands of polished and rough Canadian granite, which can also be found on the lower columns and the atrium floor.The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art houses more than 26,000-piece collection of works,including photographs, paintings, sculptures, architecture and design pieces, and media art. In addition to being used for permanent exhibits within the museum, many pieces are organized into traveling exhibits that are loaned to other art museums throughout the world.
    The museum has a large number of works by American artists as well as a fine selection of Mexican and European Art. It is best known for its large collection of Expressionism but it also includes many other styles such as Fauvism, Surrealism and visual art. Some of the most famous artists featured here include Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Diego Rivera, Henri Matisse and Andy Warhol.
    San Francisco is a great place to live, if you can afford it.Like any other economic problem, we can boil this one down to supply and demand.
    San Francisco is a great place to live, if you can afford it.
    The only problem is, many cant. Median rent in the city is more than $1,463 per month. Thats higher than every other major city in the US. Like any other economic problem, we can boil this one down to supply and deman With all of the recent fervor over employees at tech giants moving to the city, most attention has been placed on the demand side of the problem: people are upset that well-paid software engineers are moving to their city and driving up their rents.But theres also a supply side to the issue that needs to be considered: maybe there isnt enough housing in the city to go around. If people want to live in San Francisco, and they dont want rent to go up, then we need to build more units for people to live in.With all of the recent fervor over employees at tech giants moving to the city, most attention has been placed on the demand side of the problem: people are upset that well-paid software engineers are moving to their city and driving up their rents.
    But theres also a supply side to the issue that needs to be considered: maybe there isnt enough housing in the city to go around. If people want to live in San Francisco, and they dont want rent to go up, then we need to build more units for people to live in. .....
    Fort Mason
    25. San Franciscos Fort Mason Center, located amidst the historic piers and buildings of Lower Fort Mason in the citys Marina District, is a one-of-a-kind project that attracts both locals and visitors. The center, which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, houses about 30 non-profit organizations and hosts more than 15,000 conferences, meetings, exhibits, and arts performances each year.
    For visual arts lovers, Fort Mason Center hosts myriad annual art events, including frequent displays by some of the areas best artists. Guests can often meet and greet the artists and enjoy learning about their works firsthand.Many non-profit organizations sponsor classes or workshops at Fort Mason, suitable for a variety of ages. Everything from Tai Chi to piano lessons to classes on real estate can be found here during the course of a week. Many are free and the others cost little.

    Fort Mason can be split into two distinct areas. The upper area, sometimes called Fort Mason, is situated on a headland and was the site of the original coastal fortifications. The lower area, Fort Mason Center, is situated close to water level to the west of Upper Fort Mason, and is the site of the former military port, with its piers and warehouses. The Marina Green lies to the west of Fort Mason, while Aquatic Park is to the east.

    A proposal exists to extend the F Market & Wharves historic streetcar line to a terminal at Lower Fort Mason. This extension would run from the vicinity of the existing terminal near Fishermans Wharf, westward alongside the San Francisco Maritime Museum and Aquatic Park, and then through the existing, now unused, San Francisco Belt Railroad tunnel under Upper Fort Mason.A technical feasibility study, under the aegis of the National Park Service and San Francisco Municipal Railway, was completed in December 2004. An Environmental Impact Statement for the extension, involving the San Francisco Municipal Railway, National Park Service and Federal Transit Administration, commenced in May 2006. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement was completed in March 2011, and was scheduled to be reviewed by December 2011. .....
    Japanese Tea Garden
    26. Located in San Franciscos Golden Gate Park, the harmonious Japanese Tea Garden is one of the parks most popular attractions. The garden is decorated with beautiful statues and structures, including a large pagoda.One of San Franciscos most prominent Japanese citizens, Baron Makoto Hagiwara, a wealthy landscape designer, asked the city if he could make the garden permanent. They agreed. Hagiwara devised a traditional design not unlike the gardens in his native country and turned the small garden into a two-hectare (five-acre) permanent exhibit complete with exotic animals, statues, and other structures important to the make-up of a classic Japanese garden.

    The garden was maintained by Hagiwara and his descendants until World War II, at which time the landscapers family was moved to one of the many interment camps built to house Japanese-Americans during the turbulent war years. During that era, the garden became known as the Oriental Tea Garden.Today, the Japanese Tea Garden is an important and much-visited part of the Golden Gate Park and attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year.
    In Japan, gardens are considered the highest form of art and great thought was put into the design of this garden. With winding paths, a number of water features, bridges, and - of course - plants and trees, the garden promotes a feeling of tranquility. The main pond is surrounded by dwarf trees and a magnificent Buddha sits near the Long Bridge. The Sunken Gardens are adorned with stone lanterns and rhododendron and the Zen Garden - a dry landscape - is a miniature mountain scene with stone waterfall and white gravel river.
    A colorful pagoda sits in the center of the garden near the Temple Gate, surrounded by a traditional rock garden, and the Tea House beckons guests to come and enjoy a quiet moment and a warm beverage.
    The first evidence of fortune cookies in the United States is in connection with this tea garden. The descendants of Makoto Hagiwara lay claim to introducing the fortune cookie to the United States from Japan. Visitors to the garden were served fortune cookies made by a San Francisco bakery, Benkyodo.It is now known that fortune cookies originated in Japan as early as 1878. .....
    555 California Street
    27. Originally built as the headquarters of the Bank of America, San Franciscos 555 California Street was once the tallest building west of the Mississippi. Today the skyscraper remains a landmark on the citys skyline.The design for the building called for literally thousands of bay windows, which were not only attractive but also served to increase the rental values of the offices located within. At the base of the skyscraper on the north side, a large plaza was planned, which now bears the name of Bank of Americas founder, A.P. Gianinni, and is frequented by locals on their lunch break. The skyscraper, the banking hall, the plaza, the stairways, and the sidewalks were all clad with very expensive Carnelian granite and an exclusive restaurant named The Carnelian Room was planned for the top floor.

    When it was completed in 1969, the tower held the title of Tallest Building West of the Mississippi until another financial corporation, Transamerica, completed their famous pyramid building in 1972. It does, however, remain one of the largest buildings on the West Coast.Vornado Realty Trust has signed a blockbuster new lease with the Bank of America at 555 California St., a deal that will ensure that the financial institution will remain the anchor tenant in the tower that has long bore its name.

    The Bank of America lease totals 260,000 square feet, 205,000 of which is in the tower with another 55,000 in the adjacent historic 315 Montgomery building. While the deal is far smaller than the 600,000 square feet the BofA has had under lease for decades, it actually represents an expansion as most of the BofA space has been sublet to other tenants since 1998 when the bank merged with NationsBank Corp and its headquarters moved to North Carolina.
    The BofA will move some of its private wealth management executives to the tower, but the bank will give up its two-story, 60,000 square-foot flagship retail branch. Instead bank will likely establish a much smaller retail branch at 315 Montgomery St. BofA, which was represented by Mark McGranahan and Mark Anderson of Cushman & Wakefield, had looked at a slew of options, including buildings that are under construction like nearly-complete Foundry Square III and 222 Second St. .....
    Washington Square
    28. Washington Square is the green heart of San Franciscos North Beach district thanks to the grassy park that takes up most of the square. The park is popular with locals who come here to do tai chi, have a picnic, walk their dog or just relax.First laid out in 1955, the park originally had a rectangular shape but after the construction of Columbus Avenue in 1872, a triangular section in the southeast corner of the park was cut off, creating a now fenced off traffic island.

    The rest of the park is still intact and consists of not much more than grassland with some poplars, cypresses and plane trees. At the center of the park stands a small bronze statue of Benjamin Franklin. The statue was donated to the city by Henry Cogswell, a dentist whose investments in stocks and real estate during the gold rush made him one of the citys first millionaires. When it was installed here in 1879, a time capsule was placed under the statue. The capsule, which mostly contained objects from Henry Cogswell, was opened in 1979 and replaced with a new one, to be opened in 2079.Another statue, in the northwest corner of the park, honors San Franciscos firefighters and was funded with a bequest from Lillie Hitchcock Coit, whose legacy was also instrumental in the construction of the Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill, which was named after her.Washington Square is dominated by the twin spires of the Saints Peter and Paul Church, an Italianesque structure erected here in 1924.The church was long known as the Italian Cathedral of the West, for the many Italian immigrants that congregated here. One of them was Joe DiMaggio, a baseball player who for a short time was married to Marilyn Monroe. They posed in front of the church for their wedding photographs.The church was created by architect Charles Fontani, who also designed the magnificent marble high altar. The apse painting above the altar depicts Christ and was created by the Italian artists Ettore (Hector) and Giuditta Serbaroli. Also of interest are the stained glass rose window and the Piet .....
    Haas-Lilienthal House
    29. The Haas-Lilienthal House is a beautiful example of the magnificent Victorian houses that were common in San Francisco. The wooden villa was built in 1886 for William Haas, a German immigrant.

    The Victorian Age - the second half of the 19th century - was San Franciscos hey-day. The city prospered and grew into the largest city west of Chicago. The affluent built elegant Victorian mansions at Pacific Heights and Nob Hill; some of these wooden buildings resembled small palaces.One of the Victorian buildings that survived the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake is the Haas-Lilienthal House. With 24 rooms and a surface of approximately 12,000 sq ft (1,100sq m) this was considered an average house for this area.The house was built in 1886 for William Haas. Haas was born in Bavaria, Germany and emigrated to New York in 1865. He eventually ended up in San Francisco, where he became a successful entrepreneur. His daughter Alice, who married Samuel Lilienthal, lived here until 1972, when the building was donated to the San Francisco Architectural Heritage Foundation.The house is a nice example of the then very popular Queen Anne style. Characteristic for this style is the round tower and the asymmetrical layout of the building.

    The Haas-Lilienthal House is now a museum. The one-hour tour, led by a volunteer of the Architectural Heritage Foundation, gives a good insight of how the well-off used to live, especially since all the furniture is authentic. Photos on the lower floor illustrate the history of the building and many other Victorian mansions. For more information on the tour, check out San Francisco Architectural Heritage Foundations website.

    Hundreds of cars zip along Franklin Street every day heading for the Marina district, for the Golden Gate Bridge and points north. It is a very busy street and driving along you might take a quick glance at the big gray Victorian on the west side of Franklin, just past Washington Street.This is the Haas-Lilienthal House, which has just been named one of 31 national treasures by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.But to the people passing by, it is just another pretty face in a city full of beautiful buildings. Though the house has been open for tours for nearly 40 years and draws visitors from all over the world, this 126-year-old beauty is something San Franciscans seem to take for granted.

    I think most San Franciscans have never been inside, said Mike Buhler, executive director of San Francisco Architectural Heritage, the nonprofit that owns the building. We are undiscovered.There is a lot to discover in the Haas-Lilienthal House. It is striking from the outside, a Victorian in the famous Queen Annestyle, all gables and decoration, three stories with an attic, topped by a tower in the form of a witchs hat 67 feet tall.It is huge on the inside: 11,500 square feet, 24 rooms. There is a ballroom, a parlor, a dining room, bedrooms, a playroom (where three elderly stuffed bears sit at a childs table), a kitchen last modernized 85 years ago. Theres even a room full of Lionel toy trains.

    man who lived in the basement.Once the neighborhood was crowded with Victorian houses. Only a few are left; the rest torn down years ago and replaced by apartment houses of no particular architectural distinction.The Haas-Lilienthal House also has a considerable cultural history. It was built by William and Bertha Haas, who were of Bavarian Jewish descent. The Haases were part of an extended family with major roles in the development of San Francisco and the West. They were involved in all kinds of institutions: Wells Fargo Bank, MJB Coffee, Levi Strauss and Co., Mount Zion Hospital, the Firemans Fund Insurance C0., Sigmund Stern Grove.Crossing the threshold, a visitor steps back into another time. It evokes what this town must have looked like 100 years ago, said Jack Comerford, who took a tour last week.

    But that is the problem. Most historic homes open to the public are operated like the Haas-Lilienthal House. They have that musty smell of the past and they do not use the marketing tools of the 21st century. They offer tours.The Haas-Lilienthal tours are on Wednesday and Saturday, noon to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The tours only draw 4,000 to 5,000 visitors a year. At $8 a head, thats only $40,000 in a good year, hardly enough to maintain a 126-year-old wooden house.It has maintenance needs that far exceed the revenue generated by visitors, the National Trust for Historic Preservation says. Worse, visitors from the Bay Area are in a decided minority.We need a new business plan, Buhler said. We need to reinvent the house to ensure its survival for another 126 years.San Francisco Architectural Heritage is working on new marketing ideas, new ways to present the house to the public, increased fundraising, and ways to bring the image of the past up to 21st century standards - to make the past part of peoples daily lives, said Brian Turner, field officer for the National Trust field.A formal plan is still a work in progress. But it has national significance. The National Trust sees an improved business model for the Haas-Lilienthal House as a template for other historic houses around the country. .....
    Civic Center
    30. San Franciscos Civic Center area, which encompasses a number of excellent classical-style buildings and well as some modern structures, is a real treat for lovers of architecture.After much of San Francisco was flattened by the 1906 earthquake and fire, plans were made for a new center for government institutions, built in the fashionable Beaux-Arts style.The driving spirit behind the project was mayor Sunny Jim Rolph, elected in 1911. He made the creation of the new Civic Center one of his priorities and in 1915, the first building - the Civic Auditorium - was completed. It was followed by a new city hall, opera house and concert hall. Even more governmental and cultural buildings were added later.

    Civic Center is laid out around a large symmetrical square, the Civic Center Plaza. The plaza is flanked on the south by the areas first post-1906 building, the Civic Auditorium. Bordering the Civic Center Plaza to the west side is Civic Centers most impressive building: the palatial City Hall.At the other, east end of the plaza is the beautiful Old Library Building (now the Asian Art Museum) and the 1995 San Francisco Main Public Library, designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.Between the two library buildings is the Pioneer Monument, created by Frank Happersberger in 1894. One of the few structures that survived the 1906 earthquake, the monument depicts a statue of California surrounded by several figures, including an Indian, gold diggers and a Spanish monk.

    One further block east is another plaza, the United Nations Plaza. The name is a reference to the United Nations Charter of 1945 that was signed in the nearby Veterans Building.Some of the most important buildings in the area are located on the west side of Civic Center, where youll find the State Building, Veterans Building, Opera House and Symphony Hall.The present City Hall in San Francisco was built in 1915 and replaced a previous building that was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. A Beaux-Arts structure designed by architect Arthur Brown, City Hall is massive at 390 feet long (119m) and about 273 feet wide (83m). It covers about 500,000 square feet (46.000 m2) or nearly two city blocks. Its dome is one of the largest in the world.The exterior is faced with granite and the inside uses various marbles and sandstone to cover the walls. Statues of former mayors can be found inside as well.

    War Memorial Opera House

    This beautiful 3,146-seat opera house has been home to the San Francisco Opera Company since 1932. Considered to be one of the last Beaux-Arts buildings constructed in America, the opera house boasts beautiful Roman Doric columns and arch-headed windows. The building was designed by Arthur Brown and G. Albert Lansburgh. Inside, the building is quite ornate, featuring lovely coffered ceilings, beautiful staircases, massive chandeliers, and lots of gilded sculpture. The building suffered severe damage in the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 and required extensive renovation.

    Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall

    One of the newer buildings in the Civic Center complex, Symphony Hall was built in 1980 and gave a permanent home to the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Modern in design, the building was created by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Pietro Belluschi. The concert venue seats about 2,700 patrons and is also home to a wonderful 5-manual pipe organ. Sculpture lovers should look for Henry Moores Large Four Piece Reclining Figure (1973) outside the theater.

    Earl Warren (California State) Building

    This attractive building is on Californias National Register of Historic Places. Named for the former Chief Justice of the U.S. and designed in the American Renaissance style, the original structure was six stories high and 372 feet long (113m). Two wings were added in the 1930s. The facade is faced in gray California granite and terra cotta-simulating granite. The three-story base is topped by two stories of alternating arched and pedimented windows. Italian Renaissance ornaments also grace the facade and three monumental arches can be found at the McAllister Street entrance. .....
    Ferry Building
    31. A recognizable city landmark for more than 100 years, San Franciscos Ferry Building was once the arrival point for all ferry traffic to the city. Today the historic building houses a food market.

    Opened in 1898 on the site of an old wooden ferry house, the Ferry Building was a hub of San Francisco activity. Visitors from the East arrived via the Transcontinental Railroad in Oakland. This was also the end of the line for commuters who worked in San Francisco and lived in East Bay or nearby Marin County and, until the 1930s, the building served as the ferry terminal for visitors arriving from other locales.

    The Building

    The original building was designed by architect Arthur Page Brown. The length of the building was 201 meters / 660 feet and the foundation was the largest such foundation for a building over water anywhere in the world. The 235-foot-tall (71m) clock tower that Brown designed for the Ferry Building was modeled after the Giralda Tower of the Seville Cathedral in Spain. The tower survived both the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes. Unlike so many other historic buildings in San Francisco, the Ferry Building was saved from the devastating fire caused by the 1906 earthquake as firefighters managed to keep the building wet using water from the bay.

    Heyday and decline

    Arriving passengers stepped off the ferry and were greeted with a beautiful two-story public area with repeated interior arches, mosaic floors, and skylights that allowed the sun to shine into the room. Many days, 50,000 passengers made their way through the Ferry Building to catch one of the many ferries.However, the building of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridges in the late 1930s made ferry travel obsolete and the building was used very little after the bridges began to accommodate most commuter traffic.

    Unfortunately, much of the Ferry Buildings original charm was lost when a development company in the 1950s converted the building to retail and office space, and in that same decade, the building of the double-decked Embarcadero Freeway totally obscured the front view of the famous structure.Fortunately the freeway was eventually torn down in 1991 after it suffered extensive earthquake damage.

    The Ferry Building Today

    Beginning in 1999, a massive renovation project began at the Ferry Building and was completed in 2003. It became a mixed-use property with a European-style food markethall on the ground floor and office space above. Restaurants and cafes are situated in the corners and both indoor and outdoor seating is available to customers. All the shops and eateries have a decidedly regional feel, touting wine and produce grown by local farmers and vintners.The Ferry Building is now on the National Register of Historic Places and is a designated San Francisco city landmark. .....
    Octagon House
    32. Originally one of five octagonal houses in San Francisco, the McElroy Octagon House is a quirky architectural gem. Octagonal houses were popular in the 19th century; some believed they were healthier than common rectangular buildings.

    About the House

    San Franciscos Octagon House was built in 1861 by William McElroy. An eight-sided structure with a cupola on top, it is said that McElroy and others of his era chose to build a house in this shape because it was believed that living in an octagonal home resulted in a longer, healthier life - sort of a 19th century feng shui.The house served as a private home for several decades then remained empty until it was purchased in 1951 by the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in California. The society, headquartered in Washington D.C., promotes national heritage through historic preservation and educational projects and runs several museums throughout the country.The Colonial Dames moved the Octagon House to the opposite side of the street onto a vacant lot and restored the home to its original grandeur though some argue that many of the renovations werent done according to original specifications.In 1968, Octagon House was designated an Historical Landmark by the City of San Francisco, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

    The Museum

    Today, guests can visit the Octagon House on selected days. The small museum allow patrons to view a variety of decorative arts from the Colonial and Federal periods as well as documents from Colonial and early American history, including one signed by 54 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence.Tours of the museum are free but donations that go towards the upkeep of the home are much appreciated. Group tours are available with reservations. .....
    USS Pampanito
    33. The USS Pampanito is a historic submarine that saw a lot of action in the Second World War. The submarine is now permanently docked at Pier 45. Visitors can get on board the ship and walk through its cramped spaces.USS Pampanito is a submarine of the Balao class, a type of submarine mainly used during World War II. The ship was constructed at New Hampshires Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and was launched in July of 1943 in the midst of the war. It was commissioned later that year and headed out to the Pacific after conducting training exercises in the waters off New England. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on February 14, 1944.

    The almost 312ft long (95m) ship made six patrols in the Pacific in a little more than a year, usually returning to Pearl Harbor or Hunters Point (San Francisco) for repairs. As she headed out towards her seventh patrol, the war ended. By that time the USS Pampanito had become well known for sinking six Japanese ships and badly damaging four others.

    State of the art

    The USS Pampanito was a state-of-the-art submarine during her heyday. The new Balao class was thick-skinned and this thicker pressure hull allowed for an increased maximum diving depth to over 400 feet (122m), a depth of 100 feet (30m) beyond the earlier Gato class boats. It also boasted much more sophisticated gear for locating targets and carried new electronic torpedoes.

    Visiting the Ship

    Opened to the public in 1982 and chosen for display because of its excellent condition, the USS Pampanito has slowly been restored to its 1945 state. The most recent renovation and restoration occurred in 2006 and the ship returned to its place of honor in February 2007.Visitors who board this fascinating vessel have the opportunity to truly experience what life was like aboard this crowded submarine. Upon entering, guests can visit the main deck as well as the crews mess quarters, the engine and motor rooms, the radio and control rooms, the pump room, the forward battery compartment, and the forward torpedo room. Inside you realise just how cramped it must have been for the submarines 10 officers and 70 seamen.
    The USS Pampanito is located at Pier 45 in the middle of Fishermans Wharf. Guests may visit year round and, for a reasonable fee, enjoy a self-guided tour of the submarine. .....
    Embarcadero Center
    34. The Embarcadero Center is a large mixed-use complex of five distinctive skyscrapers built between 1968 and 1983, later expanded with several more buildings.
    A project nearly 20 years in the making, San Franciscos Embarcadero Center is a multi-tower complex that provides extensive office space and shopping for the citys residents and visitors.

    History of the Center

    The downtown waterfront district where the Embarcadero Center now sits was once known as the Barbary Coast, an area that had a colorful history during the Gold Rush era. This rather raucous area thrived until the second decade of the 20th century, when the mayor decided it was finally time to clean it up.For a while, the waterfront area became the Produce District. By the 1950s, however, urban renewal was in full swing and the idea for a mixed-use center - dubbed a city within a city - was devised.The first five towers of the Embarcadero Center went up slowly, beginning in 1968 and completed in 1983. Further expansion of the center occurred in the late 1980s.

    Embarcadero Center Today

    Today, San Franciscos Embarcadero Center is the largest mixed-use complex in the Western United States.The heart of the Embarcadero is composed of four office towers, designed by architect John C. Portman Jr. in a distinctive but consistent form of the international style. The towers are positioned next to each other with the outer two being the tallest at about 570ft / 173m and 45 stories. The two central towers have 30 and 31 stories respectively and top out at 413ft or 126m. Portman believed in integrating fine architecture with fine art and made sure a wonderful public art collection was part of the Embarcadero Center.
    Currently, some 120 shops and restaurants are located within the walls of the Embarcadero Center, ranging from popular chain stores and eateries to tony boutiques offering todays latest fashions. Theres also a cinema and two hotels with a total of more than 1,100 rooms.The Embarcadero Center is located between the financial center and the waterfront, near the Ferry Building.

    Four Embarcadero Center is a class-A office skyscraper in the Financial District of San Francisco, California. The building is part of the Embarcadero Center complex of six interconnected buildings and one off-site extension. The skyscraper, completed in 1982, stands 174 m with 45 stories. Four Embarcadero Center is the tallest building out of the entire complex, standing at slightly taller than One Embarcadero Center, which is the second tallest in the complex without its flagpole. .....
    Botanical Garden
    35. Part of the Golden Gate Park, San Franciscos Botanical Garden features more than 7500 plants from regions around the world spread out.Located in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco Botanical Garden boasts nearly 7,500 individual plants of varying kinds, including Mediterranean, mild temperate, and tropical cloud forest plants arranged in a variety of habitats.

    Originally designed in the 1890s by Golden Gate Park supervisor John McLaren, funds for the SF Botanical Garden were unavailable until the 1920s, when local socialite Helene Strybing willed funds to the city to get the garden under way. Planting finally began in 1937 and the arboretum/garden opened in May 1940.The best way to take a look at all the San Francisco Botanical Garden has to offer is to grab a map and take a leisurely stroll through its 55 acres (22 ha). Youll want to go slowly so you dont miss a thing.The area is divided into a number of thematical and geographical gardens laid out around a couple of open fields.

    One group of gardens comprises the specialty gardens, which include the Primitive Plant Garden, the Succulent Garden and the Garden of Fragrance - intended for the visually impaired - with flowers chosen for their scent or leaf structure. The Moon-Viewing Garden features East-Asian plants but in contrast with the nearby Japanese Tea Garden, the layout of the garden is informal. The Botanical garden also has a couple of cloud forests - the Mesoamerican and Southeast Asian cloud forests - that can thrive here without a conservatory thanks to the foggy summer mornings in San Francisco,which provide enough moisture for the tropical plants to survive.Some other highlights in the Botanical garden include the South Africa garden, with a diverse number of plants from the southern tip of Africa, and the native California garden, with 100 year-old giant redwood Sequoia trees.
    Visitors can also visit the horticultural delights of New Zealand, Chile, Eastern Australia or travel through a delightful collection of colorful rhododendron. Theres also a lovely childrens garden and a wildfowl pond for all to enjoy.

    On warm days you will often see picnickers and loungers spread out on the Great Meadow. Children in particular love the waterfowl pond, where you .....
    Sutro Heights
    36. This beautiful bayside area is named after Adolf Sutro, a rich entrepreneur who built his estate on a hill overlooking the ocean. The estate was later converted into a public park.Sutro Heights is one of the most beautiful bayside areas in the city. This was once the site of the magnificent Cliff House and the spectacular Sutro Baths, an enormous enclosed swimming pool complex.

    Situated in the Outer Richmond section of the city, Sutro Heights Park was originally the estate of Adolf Sutro, a nineteenth century entrepreneur, philanthrope and San Francisco mayor-to-be. In 1881 Sutro purchased 22 acres (9ha) at the edge of the city with amazing views of the ocean. He called his property Sutro Heights and established an ornate Italianate garden there that was open to the public. After Sutro Heights was handed over to the city in 1938, Sutros estate was demolished and the area was converted into a public park.
    In 1881, Sutro bought the existing Cliff House hotel which sat below the property on Sutro Heights, easily viewed from his estate, hoping to restore this structure to a family-friendly venue. But after it burnt down a decade later, Sutro spent an abundance of money to create a new Cliff House, an amazing Victorian structure that was eight stories tall and boasted art galleries and elaborate dining rooms, not to mention incredible views. That structure survived the 1906 earthquake but was consumed by fire a year later.
    Unfortunately, the next replacement wasnt nearly as grandiose. Opened in 1909 and still in existence today, its a basic structure that has long served as a restaurant. It was acquired by the National Park Service in 1977 and was renovated in 2002. Its still a favorite place to dine in the area thanks to the stunning views of the Pacific and the Seal Rocks below.
    Head just north of the Cliff House and youll spy the ruins of the once-grandiose Sutro Baths. Built in 1896 by Adolf Sutro to the tune of $1 million, the baths were incredible. Guests entered through a Greek-inspired portal to a glass-enclosed area of seven swimming pools kept at various temperatures. There were also springboards, slides, trapezes, and a high dive for daredevils. High tides would fill the massive 1.7-million-gallon (about 64000 hectoliter) pools in just one hour and guests could rent bathing suits and towels and stay all day. Sutro called it Californias Tropical Winter Garden and the complex could accommodate up to 10,000 visitors!Fed by three railroad lines, the baths were a huge success in the beginning. Sutro soon added an expansive amphitheater as well as several restaurants to the complex. Art and natural history exhibits were also added.

    But despite their initial popularity, the baths did not continue to be successful. Even though an ice rink and a few other additions were made in the early 1950s, the Sutro Baths soon closed and fell into disrepair. A fire in 1966 finished the job.
    Today, the ruins of the Sutro Baths are a part of Golden Gate National Recreational Area and may be explored by visitors, who should exercise great caution when climbing through the remains. Visitors have been swept off by large waves and a few drowning deaths have occurred. .....
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