The City and County of San Francisco can be found on the west coast of the United States, on a small peninsula which divides San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Its population is estimated at over 800,000.
The city was founded by Spanish settlers in the name of patron Saint Francis of Assisi, in the very same year that the American Declaration of Independence was signed. It became a part of the United States in 1846 during the Mexican-American War, and had its population massively boosted by the California Gold Rush of the 1850s. A major earthquake in 1906 interrupted what was then becoming a very resourceful city, but the city continued to prosper.
These days San Francisco is an exceedingly popular place to live among free-thinkers; with many culturally diverse interests and a mostly liberal population, the city was home to the counterculture movements during the 1950s, inspiring the works of Ginsberg and Kerouac. This in turn led to the hippy movement of the 1960s which also had a strong presence in San Francisco - and again into the following decades of high-tech revolution which found a home in the neighbouring Silicon Valley; an industry which continues to thrive despite some financial setbacks in the late 1990s. Many of the world's top tech companies are headquartered in this region.
Depicted in many films and television programmes, the many beautiful sights of San Francisco are partly what continues to bring in huge numbers of tourists every year; the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in the world, stretching across the Bay to a nearby county. The structure was completed well beyond the planned schedule, as well as under budget in April 1937. Tourists can walk or bike across the bridge, but clear panoramic views are rare due to San Francisco's foggy reputation, typical to the region. These famous fogs develop over the cold ocean currents and drift across the city to produce, occasionally, much cooler temperatures during summer than would otherwise be expected.
The island off shore that is home to the, now closed, Alcatraz Prison holds an 'Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon' every March. A 1.5 mile swim from the island, followed by an 18 mile bike ride and ended with an eight mile run across the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, finishing at Marina Green.
San Francisco is also home to two major sports teams; the 49ers play American football at Candlestick during the autumn and winter, while the Giants play baseball at AT&T Park; both are distinguished sides who have been represented by some of the world's top players.
Last updated: 6 February 2015