One of the reasons for San Francisco’s popularity is the City’s frequent choice to shoot popular movies and legendary television shows. Besides the City’s popular destination in the 1960s and ’70s, the choice for many a legendary movie made SF’s landmarks recognizable on a worldwide scale. Tourism is the true backbone of San Francisco’s economy with over 18 million people visiting the City each year and making Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf the third most popular tourist attraction in the U.S.
The climate of San Francisco has made it ideal for outdoor activities with more than 320 km of bicycle paths and bike lanes throughout the city. Skateboarding has two homes in San Francisco at Marina Green & Embarcadero and on the San Francisco Bay its all about Sailing, Windsurfing, and Kitesurfing.
The city’s Major League Baseball team “San Francisco Giants” can be found playing at Oracle Park just next to South Beach Park which was opened in 2000 as part of a redevelopment of the area.
There are more than 200 parks within the San Francisco area but the biggest and best-known park is Golden Gate Park which reaches from the Pacific Ocean east to the center of the city. The most famous of the national parks is the island of Alcatraz which is located 1.5mi (2.4km) offshore from Pier 33.
Alcatraz island which is often referred to as “The Rock” was officially designated as a US Military Prison on the 21st March 1907, and the construction began on the main cell block in 1909 and was completed in 1912. Robert F Kennedy closed Alcatraz penitentiary on the 21st March 1963 and it has now no longer a federal prison but is still the site of the oldest operating lighthouse of the west coast of the USA.
The island of Alcatraz was declared as a National Historic Landmark in 1986 and has appeared a number of times in popular culture and media as official no prisoner has ever successfully escaped and the island is just one of many tourism pointers that make the City by the Bay so popular.
San Francisco was established in 1776 by the Spanish with a fort at the Golden Gate and set up a mission for Francis of Assisi on the site. In 1848 the Gold Rush swept through California and grew the cities population from 1,000 to 25,000 in just one year turning it into the largest city on the west coast. 3/4 of San Francisco was destroyed in the great quake in 1906.
During World War 2 it was the embarkation port for US service members shipping out to fight the Japanese in the Pacific. But due to massive immigration and returning servicemen the area turned into a center of liberalism and activism that lead to the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement.
The weather of San Francisco is more characteristic of a coolish Mediterranean summer climate as the City’s weather is influenced strongly by the Pacific Ocean’s cool currents. Surrounded on 3 sides by water, the Bay Area is characterized by a mild climate year-round and moderate temperatures with only limited seasonal variations.
San Francisco does feature a number of distinct micro-climates due to its maritime influences and sharp topography. San Francisco is sunny with an average of 260 clear days a year and the rainy period runs from November to April.
Getting around in San Francisco is best done by the City’s public transportation system. Around 1 in 3 commuters of San Francisco use public transport and the public transport provided within the city of San Francisco is provided by the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) and operates both a combined light rail & subway system and a bus network of diesel motorcoaches, diesel hybrid buses & trolleybuses.
Long-range bus services such as Greyhound and regional bus systems AC Transit, SamTrans & Golden Gate Transit operate from Transbay Terminal. Amtrack runs a shuttle bus service from San Francisco to its railway station in Emeryville.
The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system has a station at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) for passengers wanting to quick access the San Francisco area. BART Trains on each line typically run every 15 minutes on weekdays and 20 minutes during the evenings, weekends and holidays. Since a BART station might be served by as many as four lines, it could have a service as frequently as every 3-4 minutes.
BART service starts around 4 am on weekdays, at 6 am on Saturdays, and at 8 am on Sundays and its service ends around midnight, every day. The train fares are varying by distance traveled. If you need to travel outside these hours you have to look at options such as Shuttles, Limos/Towncars or Taxis.