San Francisco, California

San Francisco is surrounded by the San Francisco Bay in the east, the Golden Gate in the north and the Pacific in the west on 42 hills with an area of ​​around 125 square kilometers. These hills offer impressive views again and again and fascinate every visitor, even if this also means that San Francisco is a city of stairs.

Nonetheless, San Francisco is a pedestrian city and can therefore be explored very easily on foot and by public transport, especially with the famous cable cars. San Francisco is located at the northern end of a peninsula 30 miles long and 6 miles wide, one of the best natural harbors on earth. Artificial embankments have expanded the urban area, especially in the east (Fisherman’s Wharf).

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About 700,000 people live in San Francisco, it is the third largest city in California after Los Angeles and San Diego. The city is nicknamed “The City”. In no case should one say “Frisco”, that is frowned upon, at best “San Fran”.

In the 1960s, San Francisco was the Mecca of hippies and love-ins. Scott McKenzie’s song “San Francisco” describes this time. Today it is nostalgia and can no longer be felt. Nevertheless, San Francisco is a pulsating metropolis and is open to current developments and changes. Life is active here until the evening, not only in the tourist centers. This makes the city very attractive for young people as well, and the numerous cheap accommodation options offer San Francisco hostels.

This can be experienced in the touristically fully developed districts of Chinatown (allegedly the largest concentration of Chinese outside of China itself) and North Beach, but also in the less touristically developed areas of the Mission District, home of the Hispanics, or Haight Ashbury, the trendy meeting place the 60s. The “stronghold” of the gay community in the area around Castro Street is also known, around 40% of all single men are said to be homosexual here.

The main daily newspapers are the morning Chronicle and the evening Examiner. Both newspapers also appear with Sunday editions.

The combined sales tax (sales tax) of the state and the county is 8.5%, the hotel tax (transient occupancy tax) is an additional 5.5%.


Top San Francisco attractions include:

  • Alamo Square
  • Alcatraz
  • Castro District (Castro Street – Castro Theater)
  • Chinatown (Chinatown Gate – Grant Avenue – Waverly Place – Chinese Historical Society Museum)
  • Civic Center (Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – Public Library – Asian Art Museum – Opera House – Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall – City Hall – Civic Center Plaza)
  • Coit Tower
  • Cable cars
  • Financial District (Sheraton Palace – Bank of America – Embarcadero Center – Justin Herman Plaza – Hyatt Regency Hotel – Market Street – Ferry Building – Transamerica Pyramid – Wells Fargo History Room)
  • Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area (Cliff House – Musée Mécanique – California Palace of the Legion of Honor)
  • Golden Gate Park (Conservatory of Flowers – California Academy of Sciences – Asian Art Museum – Japanese Tea Garden)
  • Haight-Ashbury
  • Mission District (Mission Dolores)
  • Nob Hill (Flood Mansion – Fairmont Hotel – Grace Cathedral – Stanford Court Hotel)
  • North Beach (City Lights Bookstore – Jack Kerouac Street – Vesuvio´s – Coit Tower – Telegraph Hill)
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • Sausalito
  • South of Market (SoMa) (Ansel Adams Center for Photography – US Mint – Cartoon Art Museums – San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)
  • Yerba Buena Gardens (Moscone Convention Center)
  • Telegraph Hill (Statue Christopher Columbus – Coit Tower)
  • Union Square (Saks Fifth Avenue – Grand Hyatt Hotels – Maiden Lane – House 140)

Further information is available on the website The San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau also offers descriptions – in English – for downloading for tours on foot – San Francisco is best visited on foot.

Tip: 2-hour tours guided by locals for the price of $ 18 give an insight into everyday life and the historical background of Chinatown. More details on the website of the organizer as well as in the German-language article in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” from January 17, 2008 ” Dim Sum gives you wings – San Francisco’s Chinatown “And on the website of this organizer Information on the annual Chinese New Year Festival & Parade is available at If you have enough time, you should also plan a harbor tour (Pier 43 of Fisherman’s Wharf) and an excursion to the former prison island of Alcatraz.

Alcatraz Gardens

Every Friday and Saturday, a free walking tour of Alcatraz’s historic gardens begins at 9:30 a.m. at the docks of the former prison island. Visitors are guided through five gardens inspired by the work of previous gardeners. When the prison closed in 1963, the gardens were abandoned. Even so, almost 200 species of plants survived on the rocky ground. The gardens were restored with the help of historical recordings.

Climate and Weather

In San Francisco, water and fog act as a natural air conditioning system, there is a temperate ocean climate all year round, it rarely gets colder than 10 degrees Celsius and warmer than 25 degrees Celsius. Especially in summer, the city and its landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge, are covered in fog due to this “air conditioning”. This fog, which flows through the Golden Gate into the bay with the strongly warmed back country, also allows the beautiful days to cool down significantly, so sweaters and jackets are trendy. Due to these climatic conditions – atypical for the “rest” of the USA – numerous hotels have no air conditioning!

San Francisco is located in an earthquake area, in the catchment area of ​​the San Andreas Trench. So-called micro-earthquakes occur daily, the last major earthquakes were in 1906 and 1989. Another major earthquake (“The Big One”) is expected – now or in several years’ time – but a prediction of the occurrence can be based on current scientific knowledge not be given.

Free entry to museums

Individual museums in San Francisco offer free admission on certain days:

  • Tuesday 9.30am – 5pm: Palace of the Legion of Honor, 34th and Clement Street.
  • First Tuesday of the month: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third Street.
  • First Wednesday of the month until 8.45 p.m.: Asian Art Museum and Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park.
  • First Wednesday of the month from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.: Exploratorium. http: //www.exploratoriu
  • First Wednesday of the month from 12pm to 7pm: ItaloAmericano and African American Museums, Fort Mason.
  • Every Saturday and first Wednesday of the month from 11am to 7pm: Craft and Folk Art Museum, Fort Mason.

San Francisco, California