San Francisco

San Francisco is a bustling and cosmopolitan city in California, set in rolling and scenic countryside. Both locals and tourists often call them Frisco, S.F. and San Fran. City is particularly known for her liberal attitude.

Built on more than 40 hills, San Francisco, unlike any other city in the world, exudes a unique and endearing character. Associated with the name "San Francisco" are images of the cable cars and the two Bay Bridges, Golden Gate and San Francisco-Oakland. The best travel times are September and October, when there is hardly any fog.

This is a neighborhood with one of the largest and most diverse gay communities in the United States. There is also a large Chinese and an Italian quarter. The City has a rather sad notoriety because of its numerous and historically often catastrophic earthquakes.

The city is located on the northern tip of a peninsula that separates San Francisco Bay from the Pacific and has a population of about 750,000. The surface area is about 125 km².

The city originated as a Spanish mission station and a U.S. Army post office. In 1848 it experienced an upswing due to a gold rush. Today, residents simply call it "The City"

Chronicle of the city
1848 - Gold rush and thus large influx to San Francisco.
1869 - The Central Pacific Railroad completes railroad construction from the East Coast to San Francisco. This event is enthusiastically celebrated in the city.
1870 - The city government decides to build Golden Gate Park.
1873 - On August 2, the cable car, the brainchild of Andrew Hallidies, makes its first journey the 100-yard stretch of Clay Street between Kearny Street and Jones Street.
1875 - Pacific Stock Exchange opens.
1876 - The Southern Pacific Railroad completes construction of the line from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
1877 - In July there are serious riots against the Chinese. A Citizen Safety Committee restores law and order.
1887 - February 5 is remembered for being the only day that snow fell in all of San Francisco.
1903 - Fifteen new banks are opened within a month. The following year saw the formation of the Bank of America, now the largest bank in the United States.
1906 - A major earthquake on April 18th destroys four-fifths of the city. Much worse than the destructive power of the earthquake (8.25 on the Richter scale) is the ensuing, rapidly expanding fire, which firefighters are unable to fight due to the burst water main. Around 28,000 houses are destroyed and 500 people lose their lives. Influenced by the Chicago Exhibition of 1893, many buildings are designed in the neoclassical style during the rapidly progressing reconstruction.
1907 - A plague epidemic is successfully brought under control after a few months.
1912 - James Rolph becomes mayor, achieving the longest serving tenure in the city at 19 years. The city's first streetcar line begins service on Geary Street.
1915 - The grand Panama-Pacific International Exposition opens in Lincoln Park several months after the first ship to take the new route through the new Panama Canal docked in San Francisco. Completion of the current town hall.
1921 - M.H. de Young Memorial Museum opened in Golden Gate Park.
1933 - Alcatraz Island near San Francisco becomes a federal penitentiary.
1934 - A general strike paralyzes San Francisco for weeks.
1936 - November 12, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opens to traffic.
1937 - Opening of the Golden Gate Bridge designed by Joseph B. Strauss.
1945 - April 24: First UN Conference held at War Memorial Opera House. Two months later, the United Nations Charter was signed there.
1951 - September 18: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshida signs the treaty ending hostilities between Japan and the United States at the War Memorial Opera House.
1963 - March 23: Alcatraz Penitentiary closes. A year later, the island is occupied by the Sioux Indians who claim Alcatraz. But in 1971 they are forced to leave the island.
1967 - April 15: One of the first major anti-Vietnam War peace marches takes place on Market Street. Others follow at regular intervals.
1978 - Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk, one of the 11 inspectors, are shot dead at City Hall by an ex-colleague who was fired by Milk. The sentence to seven years in prison led to protest demonstrations. A week later, Dianne Feinstein, chief executive officer of the inspectors, is appointed to succeed Moscone. With her, a woman is moving into the town hall as mayor for the first time.
1983 - Dianne Feinstein is re-elected mayor by an overwhelming majority.
1984 - After a two-year closure, cable cars resume service on June 21.
1986 - Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa establishes a convent in San Francisco. On the seventh try, eligible voters approve a building restriction for downtown San Francisco. In the future, no more than 4.4 hectares of buildings can be built annually.
1987 - While the cityscape was transformed in the early 1980's by a few new skyscrapers, there are now more than half a dozen new hotels changing the face of the Union Square area. About 16% of the existing office space is empty. Rents are falling for the first time.
1988 - After ten years as mayor, Dianne Feinstein is replaced by Art Agnos. Artifacts are unearthed during excavations to create the foundations for a new bank building at the corner of Kearny and Sacramento Streets, showing that the Chinese settled in San Francisco before the 1850s.
1989 - For economic reasons, the Pentagon decides to close the Presidio. The citizens protest. At 5:04 p.m. on October 17 (during rush hour), San Francisco is hit by the worst earthquake since 1906 (6.9 points on the Richter scale). The marina district is the worst affected. A lot of houses fall victim to the fire, which ignites due to escaping gas from broken gas pipes. A 2 km section of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge collapses, burying scores of cars.
1990 - June: Large fires, some started intentionally, cause widespread devastation in Southern California.
1991 - Two new museums, the Friends of Photography (Ansel Adams Center) and the Museum of the City of San Francisco, open.
1995 - Start of the dot-com boom. The district of SoMa, which up until now has mainly been a run-down industrial area, is being developed and is taking on construction projects that are not allowed to be built in the financial district due to restrictive building regulations.
2000 – March: The dot-com bubble bursts. Many startups go bankrupt. However, the market is recovering and the explosion in San Francisco real estate prices is unstoppable.



Includes Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown and North Beach (with Telegraph Hill), Nob Hill and Russian Hill, Union Square and Financial District, and Civic Center and Tenderloin (with Polk Gulch)

Fisherman's Wharf
Highly touristic area in the extreme north-east, part of the historic port. Good place to eat clam chowder (clam chowder) from the bread bowl or admire the sea lions that have made their home at Pier 39. Street performers, souvenirs and shopping galore, eateries and some truly top notch museums such as the SF Maritime National Historical Park, the Maritime Museum and the Musée Mécanique. The tour boats to the Alcatraz Prison Museum also depart from here.

Chinatown-North Beach
Historic Chinatown and Little Italy

Nob Hill-Russian Hill
The cable car hill and the luxury residential area of Russian Hill

Union Square - Financial District
This is where the heart of downtown beats: office towers and elegant shopping facilities

Civic Center - Tender Loin
With the opera district

Golden gate
The Marina, Pacific Heights, Cow Hollow, Presidio Heights, The Presidio

Western addition
Western Addition, Lower Pacific Heights, Laurel Heights, Lone Mountain, Anza Vista, Alamo Square, Panhandle, Cathedral Hill

The historical center of the flower power movement

The avenues
The Golden Gate Park and the parts of the city north and south of it (Richmond, Sunset), which are now heavily influenced by China. Golden Gate Park is home to the California Academy of Sciences, with its remarkable natural history museum, planetarium and aquarium.

South of Market Street, Mission Bay

Castro-Noe Valley
The gay district of San Francisco. The Castro, Corona Heights, Eureka Valley, Dolores Heights

Mission District
The traditional Latino district. Mission Dolores, Mission District, Glen Park

Bernal Heights
Quarters south of the Mission District.

Twin Peaks-Lake Merced
Group of residential areas in the southwest of the city.

Potrero Hill, Dogpatch, Hunters Point, Visitacion Valley, Outer Mission, Crocker-Amazon.


Getting here

By plane
Located about 15 miles south of San Francisco, San Francisco International Airport (IATA: SFO) is the region's busiest airport and one of the busiest in the United States. It consists of three national and one international terminal and is served by numerous national and international destinations. The airport can be reached either with the numerous shuttles that run directly to the hotels in the city or with the BART light rail. As of 2023, there are direct flights to San Francisco from German-speaking countries from Frankfurt am Main (Lufthansa, United Airlines & seasonal Condor), Munich (Lufthansa & United Airlines) and Zurich (SWISS & seasonal United Airlines).
Oakland International Airport (IATA: OAK) is approximately 20 miles away across the bay and is easily accessible via monorail and BART transfers from San Francisco. However, mainly domestic flights start in Oakland - with the low-cost airlines Southwest Airlines, Frontier and Spirit based here, it is worth comparing prices for flights within the USA.
San Jose Airport(IATA: SJC) is located approximately 75 km (50 miles) south of San Francisco in the Silicon Valley and also serves destinations in the United States and Mexico. British Airways only has one route from Europe via London-Heathrow.

Transportation from SFO to Downtown San Francisco
Public transport with fixed stops
The BART currently offers the easiest and fastest transport option, at least for those travelers who don't mind moving their luggage themselves. Here is a brief summary of the most important things you need to know about driving from the airport to San Francisco:

Colors are assigned to the individual lines of this S-Bahn system. The San Francisco International Airport stop on the Yellow line is 350 meters west of the airport terminal.
If you don't want to walk the distance between the terminal and the BART station, you can use the AirTrain, a service train that circulates around the premises. The BART station is located at the AirTrain stop "International Garage G", 1 flight down. The use of the small train is free of charge.
Upon arrival at the BART station, purchase the required BART tickets from the machine, one per passenger. These have magnetic strips and can be charged with any amount. The required amount can be seen from a list attached to the machine. Payment is made in cash or by credit card. Standard tickets (BART Blue tickets) cost between $9.60 and $10.15 one way (as of January 2020), depending on how far you want to travel into San Francisco. Validation then takes place automatically at the barrier that separates the platforms from the general area. The ticket must be held until exiting the BART system and is swallowed by the barrier and kept at the exit if the calculation is correct and the credit has been used up.
The trains run every 15 minutes. When boarding, be careful that you are traveling in the northbound direction San Francisco/Antioch and not accidentally in the opposite southbound direction (Milbrae, "Purple" line). The journey takes between 18 and 32 minutes, depending on how far you drive into San Francisco.
Those planning to ride the BART more often can save some money by getting a Clipper Card from the start.

Alternatively, if you are not in a hurry or prefer to travel the entire route above ground, you can also use a bus. If you only have a small piece of luggage, take the San Mateo County Transit (SamTrans) Bus KX express ($5,-, 2015). It departs from the lower level every half hour and reaches the city in about 40 minutes. Bus 292 allows more luggage, but takes one hour (every 30 minutes, 5:30am to 1:00am, $2,- (day pass $5), children under 17: $1.50 (day pass $3) , 2015). []

Means of transport that bring customers directly to the hotel
Shuttle: Shuttle operators include SuperShuttle (415-558-8500; 800-258-3826), San Francisco City Shuttle (888-850-7878), American Airporter (415-202-0733 or 800-282-7758), and Bay Shuttle (415-564-3400).
Taxi: You only take a taxi if you are more than one person or if money is not an issue. The trip to the city center costs about $40 (plus tip) and takes about 30 minutes. Look for taxis on the lower level outside baggage claim. Current fare estimates are posted on the yellow columns in all boarding zones. Taxi starters are on duty between 8 a.m. and 1 a.m. to help passengers with questions or problems.
Uber: Is much more common in the USA than in Germany and can save money compared to regular taxis.

Transportation from OAK to Downtown San Francisco
Fast Transport: The AirBART shuttle bus will take you to the Coliseum BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station. It departs from Terminal 1 every 15 to 20 minutes from 4:00 a.m. to midnight. On Sundays it runs from 8:00 a.m. to midnight.
Shuttle: Try Airport Connection (415-282-7433), Airport Express (800-327-2024), or RBJ Airporter (510-562-3434).
Taxi: There are taxi ranks at the junction between Terminals 1 and 2. The journey to downtown San Francisco takes between 30 and 40 minutes (longer at peak times) and costs between $45 and $50.

By train
Caltrain operates a rail line that arrives in San Francisco from rural Gilroy via San José. The main train station is called San Francisco 4th Street/King Street. Two other San Francisco train stations are located in the southeast of the city. Caltrain provides hourly service between San Jose and San Francisco, which is a high frequency of trains by American standards. The two largest airports in the metropolitan area of San Francisco are also on the train route.

Amtrak primarily serves the suburb of Emeryville, from where a bus (provided by Amtrak) can travel the rest of the way to San Francisco. A new train station in San Francisco and a new (faster) rail line from San Francisco to Los Angeles are currently under construction.

By boat
San Francisco has 2 cruise terminals:
the Pier 27 Terminal opened in 2014
the older terminal at Pier 35 near Fisherman's Wharf.
In exceptional cases, Pier 30 next to the Bay Bridge is used.


Transport around city

San Francisco is one of the major cities in the US where you can easily get almost anywhere without a car as SF has a very good public transportation network. However, the two major operators BART and MUNI have separate tariffs, even for season tickets. A cable car ride is $5 one-way. A Muni Weekly Pass and attraction tickets can also be purchased together with the City Pass. Even if you don't have any wheels, you can get around very easily, at least in downtown San Francisco - the route from the Tenderloin/ Civic Center to the piers can be covered in 20 minutes for experienced pedestrians.

In the street
You don't need a car in San Francisco unless you want to see other parts of the Bay Area. Finding street parking in the city center can be unbearable and illegally parked cars are almost always fined and sometimes towed away. As always in major American cities, a look at the Parkopedia can help. However, multi-storey car parks are often full and you also have to consider the horrendous parking fees that are incurred in the most frequented areas. That's ten dollars an hour. However, you can usually find free parking spaces just a few minutes’ walk away. Parking spaces in the 'South of Market' area are usually cheaper. When parking the car downhill in a parking lot, turn the wheels toward the sidewalk. When parking upwards, the wheels must be turned away from the curb. If this is not observed, you will be warned. The colors of the curb must also be taken into account. Unless otherwise indicated, you can park in front of the clear or gray-painted curbs. Green curbs only allow 10-minute parking. White curbs allow only brief stops. Only handicapped people are allowed to park at blue curbs. The red and yellow curbs are to be avoided. Driving under the influence of alcohol is severely punished.

Taxi service is generally quick and courteous, although fees ($2.85 base, $2.25 per additional mile, plus $0.45 per minute) are high and it's often difficult to hail a cab on the street. Large hotels have taxi ranks. You can also order a taxi by phone. The main companies are: Yellow (415-626-2345), Veteran's (415-552-1300), Luxor (415-282-4141) and Pacific (415-986-7220).

Public transportation
San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI), operator of the subway, bus and trolleybus, streetcar (underground in downtown and aboveground in neighborhoods), historic F-line streetcar and cable cars. The MUNI has been in operation since 1912, making it the oldest functioning tram system in the country. The MUNI transports an average of 700,000 people daily. Some lines are served 24 hours. A single trip for bus and tram costs $ 3 from the driver (as of 01/2020). The exact amount is required or there is no change. For MUNI, a one-day pass is $21, a three-day pass is $32, and a seven-day pass is $42. These are valid on all bus, tram, and cable car routes and offer discounts on some entrance fees. These passes are not sold at machines, only at authorized outlets (a bit difficult to find) and at the cable car terminal at Powell. 949 Presidio Avenue, Room 238, San Francisco, CA 94115-3399 Route Map

A means of transport that is now only found in San Francisco worldwide is the cable car. A cable car is not an ordinary tram that has its own drive machine, but a passive cable tram. The cables run in a channel in the street, are constantly in motion, and when the cable car is to run, it is clamped to the cable; to stop it is uncoupled again. The process was patented in 1869 and was temporarily used all over the world. Because conventional streetcars could not run on the hills of San Francisco, 23 cable car lines were built here from 1873 to 1890, three of which have been preserved for sentimental reasons. All three lines are located downtown and are now used almost exclusively by tourists. See the Downtown article for more information on this extraordinary mode of transportation.
The Bay Area Rapid Transit, or BART for short, is a type of rapid transit system that serves the Bay Area with 81 miles of track, of which approximately 19 miles are underground. It connects San Francisco to communities south and the airport, as well as the east side of the bay. There are connections e.g. B. to Berkeley, Oakland and to the airports of San Francisco and Oakland. There are 37 stations. The A line from Fremont to Lake Merritt is 23.4 miles, the M line from Colma to Oakland West is 16.6 miles, the R line from Richmond to MacArthur is 10.3 miles; the C line from Bay Point to Rockridge is 25.3 miles; and the RK line from Rockridge to Oakland West is 5.2 miles. Downtown stations are along Market Street at the Civic Center, Powell Street, Montgomery Street and the Embarcadero. On weekdays, trains run from 4:00 a.m. to midnight, and every three to four minutes during rush hour. On Saturdays, trains run from 6:00 a.m. to midnight and on Sundays from 8:00 a.m. to midnight. Approximately 250,000 passengers use the BART each week. Prices vary depending on the distance from $1.75 to $10.55 per trip (e.g. San Francisco Downtown - Airport $8.25, travel time about 30 minutes, 2014). Tickets are purchased from machines located at each station. There are magnetic strips on the tickets, which are used to debit the costs for each journey. The top-up amount can be freely selected, so that a purchase can also be made for a specific journey. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)

Caltrain, 1250 San Carlos Ave. San Carlos, CA 94070-1306 Phone: 800.660.4287 Caltrain connects San Francisco to Silicon Valley and San Jose International Airport
Ferries - Several passenger ferries cross the San Francisco Bay from various destinations in Marin County, the East Bay, and the North Bay. For more information contact: Golden Gate Ferries (415-455-2000 or 511-toll-free), Red & White Fleet (415-673-2900 or 800-229-2784), Blue and Gold Fleet (415-705- 5555) and Harbor Bay Maritime (510-769-5500).

By bicycle
In addition to the usual bicycle rental options, Bay Area Bike Share in San Francisco is a rental system with fixed locations that can be used by everyone (similar to the Call-a-Bike system in Germany). Here you need a credit card with which you can make the booking at the machines, you pay USD 9 for 24 hours or USD 22 for 72 hours and can then use a bike anywhere within this time for a maximum of 30 minutes and at any time return the station. Surcharges apply for longer use in one go. Rentals lasting several hours (i.e. for bicycle tours outside the station area) are therefore unattractively expensive. The next bike can be borrowed from 2 minutes after a successful return. Attention: With use, a security deposit of 101 USD will be blocked on the credit card per bike! Station density is medium and the area served includes the area near the Oakland Bay Bridge. A road map with cycle paths and all stations is available at each station, so that you can also plan longer tours through the city, including changing bikes.

A maximum of two bicycles can be rented with one credit card. Groups should therefore have several credit cards with them.

Caution: when returning the bike to the station, make sure that the bike clicks into place correctly (first yellow, then green light and confirmation tone), otherwise the bike will not be considered returned and it can get really expensive. Sometimes it helps to lift the bike up at the back.



Golden Gate Bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge has a total length of 2737 meters and spans 227 meters above the water of San Francisco Bay. The east side offers fabulous views of downtown San Francisco, while the west side overlooks the Marin Headlands and the Pacific Ocean. Walking the bridge is free. Parking and access is in the Presidio area
The city's most prominent skyscraper is the Transamerica Pyramid in the Financial District. The 260 meter high needle was built in 1969-1972 and contains mainly office space.
Fisherman's Wharf (Downtown) has everything a tourist likes and just so happens to have some really good photo opportunities and museums.
The Alcatraz prison island, which was discarded in 1963, is now a museum and can be visited with excursion boats (see Downtown). Few visitors know that 14 km to the north-east is the high-security prison of San Quentin, where people are still executed to this day. Attending a vigil just outside San Quentin is certainly a more immersive experience than gazing at Alcatraz. Information is available in the local media.
Lombard Street Curves in Russian Hill (Downtown) and the Painted Ladies at Alamo Square (Western Addition) are other popular photo opportunities.

Districts with character
One of the top non-tourist attractions in San Francisco is downtown Chinatown. Chinese immigrants, who came in their thousands after civil wars and famines, founded this settlement in 1848. Chinatown was completely destroyed by the 1906 earthquake but was subsequently rebuilt and remains a center of Chinese life in San Francisco to this day.
The Mission District has been populated predominantly by Latinos since the mid-20th century. Since the 1970s, the LGBTQ community has been pushing; the Latin American influence is still strongly present.
The Castro has been San Francisco's gay neighborhood since 1967. Bars, clubs, restaurants, boutiques, bookstores and lots of colorful street life.
Downtown's North Beach neighborhood became Little Italy after the 1906 earthquake. Other influences came later, but North Beach still has a high density of Italian restaurants and cafes.
Haight-Ashbury has been the world capital of hippie culture since the 1960s. The world's first head shop opened on Haight Street in 1966 and was home to Janis Joplin and the members of Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. Other residents have since moved in, but traces of the Summer of Love (1967) can still be found, for example at Amoeba Music, which claims to be the largest independent music store in the world.
Japantown is just 6 blocks in the Western Addition. Not quite comparable to Chinatown, but still a must-visit for lovers of Japanese cuisine.
The Financial District is San Francisco's traditional banking district. Today, six Fortune 500 companies have their headquarters here. Sights include the Transamerica Pyramid and a few other interesting skyscrapers that were built here before strict building codes halted the neighborhood's growth in height in the late 1980s.
Fashion lovers will find classy department stores, boutiques and jewelers around Union Square. Architecture fans will also find some sights here, such as the Hallidie Building or the rotunda on the top floor of the Neiman Marcus department store.

For prospect addicts
Atop Telegraph Hill downtown is Coit Tower, a 210-foot (64-meter) observation tower that many city hikers visit.
The Twin Peaks are a 276 and 277 meter high double hill in the center of San Francisco, which is conveniently accessible by car. Well-trained climbers can also climb it on foot or by bike. The view is overwhelming and goes in all directions.
Mount Davidson in southwest San Francisco is less famous than Twin Peaks but slightly taller at 283 meters. A hiking trail leads to the summit.
Grand View Park is also rarely visited by tourists. Part of the Golden Gate Heights, the 203-meter hill offers 360-degree views of Golden Gate Park, the Twin Peaks and the Sunset district.
For the most famous cityscape you have to leave San Francisco and head over the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands. Hendrik Point can be reached via Conzelman Rd and has geo-coordinates 37.827636, -122.481666.
The best vantage point in Golden Gate Park is the De Young Museum's 44-meter Hamon Tower. Unlike the museum, the tower offers free entry, and then a 360-degree view of the park.


Churches and religious sites

The small church of Mission San Francisco de Asís, better known as Mission Dolores, is the oldest structure in the city. It's in the Mission District.
A must-do for jazz fans is attending a service at the small Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church in Western Addition.
In the Tenderloin is Glide Memorial Church, a Methodist church opened in 1930 that has the most stunning gospel choir in town.
The Saints Peter and Paul Church in North Beach offers the most beautiful confectionery architecture. Marilyn Monroe married baseball idol Joe DiMaggio here.
The most notable Buddhist temple in San Francisco is the Hua Zang Si Temple in the Mission District. It is housed in a former church.
St. Dominic's Catholic Church in the Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood (Western Addition) is little known to travelers, but it is one of the most beautiful in the city.
Grace Cathedral in the Nob Hill neighborhood is another wonderful neo-Gothic church building.


More buildings

The Palace of Fine Arts is a complex of buildings built for the 1915 World's Fair. The adjacent exhibition hall housed the Exploratorium until 2013; today it serves different purposes, including a theater.
Built in 1907, the Columbus Tower (Sentinel Building) in the North Beach district now houses the film production company of Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas.
In the SoMa district, on the corner of Mission St and 1st St, the city's tallest building, the Salesforce Tower, is currently being built at 326 meters.
The only Victorian home that can currently be visited as a museum is the Haas-Lilienthal House in Pacific Heights.
One of the city's most notable new structures is the California Academy of Science, located in Golden Gate Park and completed in 2008, which houses a large natural history museum.
The City Hall belonging to the Civic Center, the city hall of San Francisco, was built from 1913 to 1915 in the Beaux-Arts style. In 2004, by order of then-Mayor Gavin Newsom, same-sex couples were married here for the first time in the country's history.
Completed in 2005, Curran House in the Tenderloin is an example of progressive social housing.
At Union Square you will find the V.C. Morris Gift Shop, the only structure left in San Francisco by cult architect Frank Lloyd Wright (see also: California/Frank Lloyd Wright). The building, designed in 1948, has a spiral exhibition space that Wright used 11 years later for New York's Guggenheim Museum.



There are more than 50 museums in San Francisco, catering to a wide variety of subject areas and tastes. For details see: San Francisco/Museums. Here are some of the most notable:

Exploratorium, The Embarcadero & Green St, Downtown. The Exploratorium, which has moved to Pier 15, is a must-see for families with preschool and elementary school children. The permanent exhibitions include several hundred interactive and sometimes extremely creative exhibits on scientific and technical topics. The museum is considered the best of its kind in the world.
California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr. Located in Golden Gate Park, the California Academy of Sciences is one of the largest natural history museums in the world and includes natural history exhibits (Kimball Natural History Museum), the Morrison Planetarium, an artificial tropical rainforest and the very large Steinhart Aquarium.
Walt Disney Family Museum, WDFM; 104 Montgomery St. The Walt Disney Family Museum, which only opened in 2009, is considered one of the most entertaining museums in the city and provides information about the life and work of the film producer and pioneer of the American entertainment industry. The museum is housed on the newly designed Presidio site.
Legion of Honor Museum, 100 34th Ave, Lincoln Park. The most popular art museum in San Francisco is the very spacious Legion of Honor Museum. Ancient and European art is on display, including works by El Greco, Rubens, Rembrandt, Rodin, Braque and Picasso, as well as many works of French Impressionism.
Cable Car Museum, 1201 Mason St, Nob Hill. The small Cable Car Museum lures San Francisco visitors with free admission and explains why this means of transport is unique in the world.
Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St, Civic Center. San Francisco is the most Chinese of all North American cities. For that reason alone, the Asian Art Museum deserves a visit.
Musée Mécanique, Fisherman’s Wharf = Pier 41. The small Musée Mécanique looks like a tourist trap at first glance. In fact, it hides one of the world's largest collections of historical slot machines and slot machines.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, SFMOMA; 151 3rd St, SoMa. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is one of the most important museums in the world for American and European art of the 20th century.


Parks, gardens and beaches

The city's largest park - Golden Gate Park in The Avenues - offers several world-class museums, a botanical garden and arboretum, a historic greenhouse, a picturesque Japanese tea garden and much more. Many nearby shops rent in-line skates.
The San Francisco Zoo is off the beaten track in the southwest of the city. One of its special features has been a large insect zoo since 1979.
Locals consider Marshall's Beach to be the most beautiful beach in town. The beach is on the edge of the Presidio, allows - a rarity in the US - nudism and offers views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Unfortunately, the water is too cold for swimming.
If you ask locals which park is the most beautiful in San Francisco, you will occasionally get the answer: Fort Funston. Completely unknown to tourists, this park is located in the southwest of the city, between Lake Merced and Pacific Beach. Wonderful sunsets.
Sutro Heights Park is also a little off the beaten track on the edge of the "Avenues". Close by are the Cliff House and the ruins of Sutro Baths.


What to do

In the Civic Center between Japantown and SoMa you will find the Performing Arts Center consisting of Davies Symphony Hall, War Memorial Opera House (where the treaty establishing the United Nations was signed in 1945), Veterans Building/ Herbst Theatre, City Hall and the Main Library.

Various bike rentals offer a bike for around USD 20/day, with which you can, for example, make a detour over the Golden Gate Bridge in the much warmer Marin County. If you have enough stamina, fitness and the right bike, you can also halfway around the bay or climb one of the mountains and enjoy the view. Only a trip to the Burning Man Festival should not be made by bike - the rental companies expressly point out that the bikes are irreparably soiled by the desert dust. Some of the lenders offer guests of the youth hostels special conditions - just ask in the hostel.

festivals and events
Folsom Street Fair. Always on the last Sunday in September, a colorful meeting of friends of the most diverse fetishes takes place on Folsom Street between 7th and 9th Street. With mostly fine weather at this time of year, around 300,000 visitors of all sexual preferences come together and sport what is otherwise unwearable on the street. A donation of US$ 5 is expected as entry, event time approx. 11.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.
Edit Christopher Street Day parade info
Edit Chinese New Year info
Moscone Center (Moscone Convention Center), 747 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103. Tel: +1 415-974-4000. A downtown convention center containing 700,000 square feet of exhibit space, 106 meeting rooms and nearly 123,000 square feet of lobby.
Lincoln Park Golf Course, 34th Ave and Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121. Tel: +1 415-750-4653. Perched on bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this golf course has views of the Golden Gate Bridge from many of its 18 holes. This short, hilly, tree-lined, tight course is operated by the City of San Francisco and hosts the City Golf Championships.
Viewpoint on Conzelman Road

Tours, tours, guided tours
The San Francisco City Guides are volunteer city guides who offer dozens of city tours on behalf of the SF Public Library on a wide range of topics - from the 1906 earthquake to the gold rush to the tour of the Civic Center. The quality of the tour varies depending on the guide, but is characterized by a personal touch and is highly recommended on average. The guided tours are free of charge, donations are collected at the end (usually 5-10 USD)



Fans of independently produced rock music, especially those from the hippie era, are best off visiting the Haight-Ashbury area. Friends of exclusive fashion brands visit the district of Union Square. A large number of specialty shops can also be found in the Ferry Building on the edge of the Financial District

Deluxe Distribution, Market Street. For skateboard fans. info edit
Westfield San Francisco Center (San Francisco Shopping Centre), 865 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103. Tel: 415-495-5656. A shopping center opened in October 1988, featuring six spiral escalators and more than 100 shops and restaurants housed in a marble, granite and glass structure with a 150 foot atrium. The mall is located on Fifth St. Open: Hours: Mon - Sat 9:30am - 8pm, Sun 11am - 6pm.
north current Exclusive, sophisticated department store with live piano music.



Boudin SF, 160 Jefferson Street, Lower Level, San Francisco, CA 94133 (Fisherman's Wharf). Tel: +1 415 928 1849. Boudin Bakery was founded in 1849 by Frenchman Isidore Boudin and is famous for its sourdough bread. At the main store (there are other branches in town) on Fisherman's Wharf, you can watch the bread being made, visit the Bakery Museum, shop for sourdough products, or just enjoy the bread. There are sandwiches, baguette beef burgers, or soups, stews, chillies or clam chowder (clam chowder in a sourdough bowl) in hollowed out sourdough bread. Open: daily 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Price: Sandwich or Soup $10.

cafe, bistro
Cafe NOOK, 1500 Hyde Street corner Jackson. The small café in the Russian Hill district is a real tip. The program also includes organic and vegan food. The organic lemonade is highly recommended. Free WiFi.

Blowfish Sushi, 2170 Bryant St. The legendary Blowfish Sushi for sushi connoisseurs, in the upper price range.
La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, Embarcadero Pier 1-1/2 facebook. Specialist in Peruvian raw fish dishes, tiraditos, but also steaks, pasta, risotto, etc., prepared in a sophisticated way, and a bar with a wide range of cocktails. Bay view. Price: Medium to high price range.
Benu, 22 Hawthorne St (SoMa). This upscale restaurant and its chef, Corey Lee, received the 2017 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Award.



Dubbed the Baghdad of the Bay by the later, great columnist Kraut Caen, San Francisco offers a diverse nightlife scene from elegant to extremely eclectic. Whether your heart is set for a night at the opera, ballet or symphony (consult local programs for the War Memorial Opera House or Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall) or you'd rather stay until dusk at one of the many clubs in the South of Market, you will find your niche in San Francisco.

In a city famed for its breathtaking views, it's no surprise that some of the most popular (and most expensive) pubs are rooms with panoramic views. With a seat at the top level of the Mark Hopkins Hotel, which was refurbished in 1996 and now restored to its pre-WWII glory, the Top of the Mark, you can entertain nightly with spectacular views through floor-to-ceiling windows reach to the ceiling, enjoy. For the most sublime bar views, climb to the Carnelian Room atop the 52-story Bank of America Building, which is the tallest in San Francisco. Male guests must wear suits. Fixed price dinners are offered at the inn, which also boasts the largest wine list in the Bay Area (over 1200 wines).

The Tonga Room at the Fairmont Hotel has few views (there are no windows) but a lot of kitsch vibes. At this famous tiki lounge, famous for its sumptuous rum blends, you can sit at a lagoon-style table to enjoy the band floating on a raft inside. Periodic rainstorms add some tropical ambiance.

Profiteers can toast their capital gains in the Clift Hotel's elegant Art Deco Redwood Room. Sit in polished 1933 redwood-clad chairs and sip one of the Redwood Room's famous martinis while enjoying the pianist's repertoire from the '30s and '40s.

A staple in North Beach for more than 20 years, Beach Blanket Babylon is staged at Club Fugazi. This is the longest running musical revue in history. The performances change regularly, parodies are added. A distinctive feature are the largest and most elaborate hats in the theater and possibly the world.

Check out Bimbo's 365 Club on the corner of North Beach for a sleek 1950's nightclub vibe and hip music performances. The club opened in 1935 and has been at its current address since 1951. Bimbo's no longer features the kicking chorus girls, but you can still see Dolfina, the petite girl in the aquarium, swimming in an aquarium behind the bar. (Hint: it is done with mirrors)

Tucked away in the Cannery Complex, near Fisherman's Wharf, Cobb's Comedy Club is the best place to see comedians in a city famous for its comedians. The former Speakeasy Café Du Nord is considered one of the best jazz clubs in the city. Located on upper Market Street, it offers special lounge music programs and salsa or swing nights (including dance lessons) as well as some of the best jazz artists around. Take a cab and head to South of Market for major jazz, blues, R&B and rock concerts at Slim's. This is the best place to listen to music.

South of Market is also a hotbed of trendy dance halls and all-night clubs. The scene is constantly changing. Consult local papers like the Bay Guardian and SF Weekly for up-to-date information.

Metreon, 101 4th Street. The Sony Metreon Entertainment Center is a mixture of restaurants, pubs, the Loews Theaters Metreon multiplex cinema and the Sony Entertainment Center with the latest virtual gaming worlds from Sony. There is free WiFi throughout the complex.

Elbo Room, 647 Valencia Street. The Elbo Room in the Mission District.

Cat Club, 1190 Folsom St. On Thursdays, the Cat Club is a tip for party-goers who love exuberant and boozy parties in a relaxed atmosphere. The clientele is diverse, both locals and visitors of all nationalities are welcome here. Those who come alone usually quickly find nice acquaintances. The drink prices are relatively low, so the mood is boisterous. Two rooms offer hits from the 1970s, 1980s and electronic music.

There are numerous "brewpubs" in San Francisco that offer food as well as home-brewed beers. Highly recommended are e.g. B. 21st-amendment in South of Market and Magnolia in The Haight.



Next to New York City, San Francisco is the city in the USA with the most expensive hotel rooms on average. For example, in the hotels of the Best Western chain, which offers rooms for under $100 in other parts of the country, you pay at least $255 in San Francisco. Thorough research beforehand can ensure that you get at least decent accommodation for the money.

If you choose San Francisco as the starting point for a round trip, you should choose a motel with free bus transfers to and from the airport as your first accommodation. This also saves you the rental car costs for one day, since flights from Europe usually land in San Francisco in the late afternoon. It should also be noted that storing a vehicle in the center is an expensive affair (approx. 20 - 40 US$ per day). Depending on the location of the hotel, a ride on the BART may also be an option.

Shih Yu-Lang Central, 220 Golden Gate Avenue. Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) hotel. Price: Bed in dormitory from US$ 23.50 (winter only; tax included), also single rooms with bath.
Travelodge San Francisco Airport North, 326 South Airport Boulevard, South San Francisco. With free transfers from and to the airport.
Hostelling International. Hostelling International has three youth hostels in San Francisco: City Center on the edge of the Tenderloin, Downtown near Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf north of the city. The hostel in City Center (Ellis Street) is a few steps up the rather rough Tenderloin, but is easily accessible via the street past the Civic Center without incident, even at night. Internet terminals available, regular organized activities (bike rides, going to a baseball game in Oakland, etc.), and the usual HI vibe.

Air Travel Hotel. Price: Single room from US$ 99.00.
The Moser Hotel. Price: Single room from US$ 69.00.



San Francisco is a safe city - but with caution and caution, a trip to the Tenderloin after dark is to be enjoyed.


Practical hints

San Francisco Visitor Information Center, Hallidie Plaza, 900 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102-2804.
San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, 201 Third Street #900, San Francisco, CA 94103-3185. Phone: (415) 391-2000.



Geographical location
The city is located on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, which closes off San Francisco Bay to the southwest. The urban area, which is congruent with the county of the same name (official self-designation of the city: City and County of San Francisco), has an approximately square outline with a side length of about 11 km. The city is bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Golden Gate to the north, and the Bay to the east.

San Francisco is also famous for its hills, which are called hills from thirty meters high; There are 42 of them in the entire urban area. In the center of the urban area are the approximately 275 m high Twin Peaks, which the Spanish missionaries called "Los Pechos de la Chola", in German "The breasts of the Indian girl", because of their appearance. On a ridge that connects the Twin Peaks with neighboring Mount Sutro, the almost 300 m high transmission tower Sutro Tower is located, which dominates the cityscape from afar.

Like many major US cities, San Francisco has a large, strictly rectangular road network, which was generally laid out regardless of geographical conditions. Especially in the older, north-eastern parts of the city, this leads to some very steep road sections, for which Andrew Smith Hallidie developed the cable cars around 1870. Only in the area around the highest of the hills (Twin Peaks, Mount Davidson) were the road courses adapted to the geography.

San Francisco is one of the most important port cities on the west coast of North America. The city gained this importance through the harbor protected from the sea (natural harbour). In the Bay of San Francisco are the well-known prison island Alcatraz, which today only serves as a museum, Angel Island, Treasure Island, Yerba Buena Island and other small islands. The Farallon Islands are in the Pacific off San Francisco.



The city's proximity to the San Andreas Fault puts it at increased risk of earthquakes. On April 18, 1906, the worst earthquake to date occurred. It stretched from San Juan Bautista to Eureka and measured 7.8 on the Richter scale. As a result of fires and explosions, around 3,000 people were killed and three quarters of San Francisco were destroyed or seriously damaged.

The Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 was the last major earthquake in the region to date (7.1 on the Richter scale). It had a significant impact on parts of the city. Many roads and freeways were damaged. The Embarcadero Freeway on the north side of the city was completely destroyed by the quake and has been demolished. Portions of the upper deck of the two-story Bay Bridge fell to the level below.

Experts fear an even stronger earthquake in the future than that of 1906. In 2008 the US Geological Survey and the Southern California Earthquake Center published a study. In it, the researchers predict a severe earthquake in California as part of a 30-year forecast. The probability of an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.7 is therefore 99.7 percent, for a magnitude 7.5 or more it is 46 percent.


City outline

As in many American cities, there is a Japantown and a Chinatown. San Francisco's Chinatown, along with the Chinese in the Sunset and Richmond Districts, forms one of the largest Chinatowns outside of the People's Republic of China. There is also a Vietnamese community in the Tenderloin neighborhood, one of the Filipinos in Crocker Amazon, an Italian community in North Beach, a French Quarter, and an Irish and Russian community in the Richmond District.

The now Hispanic Mission District is one of the oldest parts of the city. It goes back to one of the 21 missions founded by Spanish missionaries. Russian Hill was named after the graves of Russian trappers discovered there during the gold rush. Haight-Ashbury rose to prominence as one of the most prominent hippie gatherings in the 1960s. The Castro is the city's largest gay and lesbian district. The largest African American community is southeast of Bayview and Hunters Point. Richmond, on the west side of the city north of Golden Gate Park, is largely shaped by Asian immigrants. South of Market Street, which is one of the few streets that traverse it, is Soma (South of Market), known for its galleries and arts activity.



The prevailing Mediterranean climate is strongly influenced by San Francisco's location on the Pacific coast, particularly by the cold California Current coming from the north. The summers are therefore cooler than in other regions of comparable geographical latitude and almost rain-free. The warmest months are September and October, also unusual for this geographic location.

The winters are comparatively mild and rainy, frost is very rare. The daytime temperature in summer ranges from 15 to 25 degrees Celsius. But the morning wafts of mist that sweep over the hills from the sea are also well known. This advection fog is formed when the relatively warm, humid air transported by westerly winds coming from the open sea cools and condenses over the California Current. The very different microclimates are also well known. So it happens that it is noticeably cool at the Golden Gate and at the same time midsummer warm in the city center.



Indian settlement and first Europeans
Originally, San Francisco Bay was settled by the Muwekma Ohlone Indian tribe, who were nearly extinct by the 19th century.

The Spanish conquerors sent two expeditions to North America in the 16th century to explore the west coast. Hernán Cortés had discovered a "peninsula between the Gulf and the Ocean" and called it California. But the official discovery came ten years later with Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo. The elusive entrance to the bay was not discovered until 1775, although many explorers, including Francis Drake, were exploring the region as early as the 16th century. However, the fog often prevented the view of the strait and the bay. The first Europeans settled in today's city from 1776, a century later. Spanish soldiers and missionaries founded what is now the Mission Dolores church on June 29 on a lagoon they named Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, as well as a presidio at the Golden Gate to secure the mission. The city was later named San Francisco de Asís by the missionaries in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, which later became Saint Francis in English. A nearby settlement was given the name Yerba Buena. (Hierba Buena literally means good herb and is the Spanish name for a locally occurring type of mint.) The Franciscan Father Junípero Serra from Petra/Mallorca led the founding of the missions at the time. He is still greatly revered today.

In 1792, 300 years after Christopher Columbus discovered America, British explorer George Vancouver established a small settlement near Yerba Buena (later downtown San Francisco). It became a base for European and Russian settlers, fur traders and pioneers.

19th century and modern times
In 1846, American explorer and politician John Charles Frémont organized a rebellion among the region's Anglo-American settlers. Hispanic Californians also rose up against Mexico (Junta of Monterey). On June 14, 1846, 33 American settlers proclaimed the Republic of California; little did they know that the Mexican-American War had started a month earlier. In early July, a US Navy frigate and two sloops captured Monterey; after that, Frémont gave up his idea of a separate republic.

San Francisco experienced its first major upswing with the California gold rush that began in 1848. The name Golden Gate is derived from this. The population rose from about 900 to over 20,000 in a single year.

Soon more Irish than Spanish tombstones were erected in the vicinity of the mission. Many ships were abandoned by their owners and wrecked in port. In order to create new space, it was decided to use the shipwrecks and the harbor was filled with earth and rubble. Large parts of today's inner city are built on these landfills. During this time, the city also developed into the economic center of California. Banks - such as Wells Fargo Bank - and many other well-known companies were founded in San Francisco, such as Levi Strauss & Co. and the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company.

To make room in the thriving city, City Hall employed a surveyor, William Mathewson Eddy, who published the only surviving city map of that time in December 1849. Within three months he created about 600 new plots for interested settlers.

The future self-proclaimed Emperor of the United States and Patron of Mexico Joshua Norton immigrated to San Francisco from South Africa in 1849 with a seed capital of $40,000. He gambled away the wealth he had gained through real estate transactions by 1859. Frustrated by speculation and bankrupt, Norton now wanted to take matters into his own hands and on September 17, 1859, in letters to local newspapers and politicians, proclaimed himself Emperor of America and Patron of Mexico. For twenty-one years he issued imperial edicts.

On the morning of April 18, 1906, an earthquake and fire devastated San Francisco. In general, the death toll is estimated at 700, but some sources put the figure three to four times higher. The mission building survived the earthquake without damage, making it the oldest building in the region today.

In the 1930s the Golden Gate Bridge to the north and the Oakland Bay Bridge to the east were completed. This made the city much easier to reach, and the population increased significantly again. In 1939, a world exhibition (“Golden Gate International Exposition”) was held on Treasure Island. The island was raised next to Yerba Buena Island especially for the exhibition. After the exhibition, she was a US Navy base until 1996. Since then, the site has been used as a place of residence again. In 1945 the post-war conference took place, resulting in the Charter of the United Nations and the UN. San Francisco is considered the founding site of the United Nations.

In the 1960s, the city became a center of US movements against the political establishment and the counter-public. The hippie movement culminated in the city in 1967 during the Summer of Love. Janis Joplin and bands like the Grateful Dead or Jefferson Airplane influenced rock music worldwide. This was favored by the proximity of the Berkeley campus of the University of California. Authors such as Timothy Leary, Phil K. Dick and Robert Anton Wilson lived there at the time. Scott McKenzie's recording of the John Phillips-written song San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair) became a worldwide hit.

Since the 1970s, homosexuals have increasingly moved to the city, particularly in the Castro District. The city is still considered “the” city for gay people in the USA, and queer politics has a large influence on city politics. This period is also described in detail in Armistead Maupin's "City Tales". At the end of the 20th century, the city and nearby Silicon Valley were at the center of the information technology boom. During the dot-com boom of the 1990s, more and more software companies, entrepreneurs, and marketers moved to San Francisco, profoundly influencing the social landscape. Formerly poor working-class districts turned into "IN" areas; real estate prices rose sharply.

There are 17 National Historic Landmarks in San Francisco. A total of 185 structures and sites in the city are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.