San Francisco Cable Cars

1 July 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

© Runner1928/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Runner1928/cc-by-sa-3.0

The San Francisco cable car system is the world’s last manually operated cable car system. An icon of San Francisco, the cable car system forms part of the intermodal urban transport network operated by the San Francisco Municipal Railway. Of the 23 lines established between 1873 and 1890, only three remain (one of which combines parts of two earlier lines): two routes from downtown near Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf, and a third route along California Street.   read more…

Golden Gate National Recreation Area in California

20 May 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Map of Golden Gate National Recreation Area © nps.gov

Map of Golden Gate National Recreation Area © nps.gov

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) is a U.S. National Recreation Area protecting 82,027 acres (33,195 ha) of ecologically and historically significant landscapes surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area. Much of the park is land formerly used by the United States Army. GGNRA is managed by the National Park Service and is one of the most visited units of the National Park system in the United States, with more than 15 million visitors a year. It is also one of the largest urban parks in the world, with a size two-and-a-half times that of the consolidated city and county of San Francisco.   read more…

San Francisco Ferry Building

1 February 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, House of the Month

Ferry from Sausalito arriving at the Ferry Building © flickr.com - Clay Gilliland/cc-by-sa-2.0

Ferry from Sausalito arriving at the Ferry Building © flickr.com – Clay Gilliland/cc-by-sa-2.0

The San Francisco Ferry Building is a terminal for ferries that travel across the San Francisco Bay, a food hall and an office building. It is located on The Embarcadero in San Francisco, California. On top of the building is a 245-foot-tall (75 m) clock tower with four clock dials, each 22 feet (6.7 m) in diameter, which can be seen from Market Street, a main thoroughfare of the city. San Francisco’s best-known farmers’ market is held on the grounds around the building on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., year round. Outside, a roadway allows pedestrian access to the restaurant and ferry dock behind the building.   read more…

Treasure Island in California

30 January 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Headquarters Building at US Naval Station Treasure Island © Bruce C. Cooper/cc-by-3.0

Headquarters Building at US Naval Station Treasure Island © Bruce C. Cooper/cc-by-3.0

Treasure Island is an artificial island in the San Francisco Bay and a neighborhood in the city and county of San Francisco. Built 1936–37 for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, the island’s World’s Fair site is a California Historical Landmark. Buildings there have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the historical Naval Station Treasure Island an auxiliary air facility (for airships, blimps, dirigibles, planes and seaplanes) are designated in the Geographic Names Information System.   read more…

Salesforce Tower in San Francisco

1 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, House of the Month

© Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz/cc-by-sa-4.0

Salesforce Tower, formerly known as the Transbay Tower, is a 1,070-foot (326 m) office skyscraper in the South of Market district of downtown San Francisco. It is located at 415 Mission Street between First and Fremont Streets, next to the Transbay Transit Center site. Salesforce Tower is the centerpiece of the San Francisco Transbay redevelopment plan. The plan contains a mix of office, transportation, retail, and residential uses. The skyscraper is the tallest in the San Francisco skyline. With a top roof height of 970 feet (296 m) and an overall height of 1,070 feet (326 m), it is the second tallest building west of the Mississippi River.   read more…

California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco

17 August 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions

© Leonard G.

© Leonard G.

The California Academy of Sciences is a research institute and natural history museum in San Francisco, California, that is among the largest museums of natural history in the world, housing over 26 million specimens. The Academy began in 1853 as a learned society and still carries out a large amount of original research, with exhibits and education becoming significant endeavors of the museum during the 20th century. It is California’s oldest museum. Completely rebuilt in 2008, the building covers 400,000 square feet (37,000 square metres) and is among the newest natural history museums in the United States. The primary building in Golden Gate Park reopened on September 27, 2008.   read more…

The San Francisco Bay Area

19 March 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

San Francisco Cable Car on California Street © Fred Hsu/cc-by-sa-3.0

San Francisco Cable Car on California Street © Fred Hsu/cc-by-sa-3.0

The San Francisco Bay Area (referred to locally as the Bay Area) is a populous region surrounding the San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun estuaries in California. Although the exact boundaries of the region vary depending on the source, the Bay Area is generally accepted to include the nine counties that border the aforementioned estuaries: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. Other sources may exclude parts of or even entire counties, or include neighboring counties such as San Benito, San Joaquin, and Santa Cruz. Among locals, the nine-county Bay Area can be divided into five sub-regions: the East Bay, North Bay, South Bay, Peninsula, and the city of San Francisco. Although geographically located on the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, the city of San Francisco is not considered part of the “Peninsula” subregion, but as a separate entity. San Jose is the largest city in the Bay Area, while San Francisco is clearly the culturally dominant one.   read more…

Theme Week San Francisco

19 June 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

Market Street and Downtown from Twin Peaks © Vincent.bloch

Market Street and Downtown from Twin Peaks © Vincent.bloch

San Francisco (Spanish for Saint Francis) officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California. It is the birthplace of the United Nations. Located at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula, San Francisco is about 47.9 square miles (124 km²) in area, making it the smallest county—and the only consolidated city-county—within the state of California. With a density of about 18,451 people per square mile (7,124 people per km²), San Francisco is the most densely settled large city (population greater than 200,000) in 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 13th-most populous city in the United States—with a census-estimated 2015 population of 864,816. The city and its surrounding areas are known as the San Francisco Bay Area, and are a part of the larger OMB-designated San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland combined statistical area, the fifth most populous in the nation with an estimated population of 8.7 million. Several picturesque islandsAlcatraz, Treasure Island and the adjacent Yerba Buena Island, and small portions of Alameda Island, Red Rock Island, and Angel Island—are part of the city. Also included are the uninhabited Farallon Islands, 27 miles (43 km) offshore in the Pacific Ocean. The mainland within the city limits roughly forms a “seven-by-seven-mile square”, a common local colloquialism referring to the city’s shape, though its total area, including water, is nearly 232 square miles (600 km²). San Francisco was founded on June 29, 1776, when colonists from Spain established Presidio of San Francisco at the Golden Gate and Mission San Francisco de Asís 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. 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. In 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, along with the rise of the “hippie” counterculture, the Sexual Revolution, the Peace Movement growing from opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War, 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. A popular tourist destination, San Francisco is known for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Fisherman’s Wharf, and its Chinatown district.   read more…

Theme Week San Francisco – Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay

17 May 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

© BLuP1/cc-by-2.5

© BLuP1/cc-by-2.5

Alcatraz Island is located in San Francisco Bay, 1.25 miles (2.01 km) offshore from San Francisco. The small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison (1868), and a federal prison from 1934 until 1963. Beginning in November 1969, the island was occupied for more than 19 months by a group of Native Americans from San Francisco who were part of a wave of Native activism across the nation with public protests through the 1970s. In 1972, Alcatraz became a national recreation area and received designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. Today, the island’s facilities are managed by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area; it is open to tours. Visitors can reach the island by ferry ride from Pier 33, near Fisherman’s Wharf. Hornblower Cruises & Events, operating under the name Alcatraz Cruises, is the official ferry provider to and from the island. It is home to the abandoned prison, the site of the oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast of the United States, early military fortifications, and natural features such as rock pools and a seabird colony (mostly western gulls, cormorants, and egrets). According to a 1971 documentary on the history of Alcatraz, the island measures 1,675 feet (511 m) by 590 feet (180 m) and is 135 feet (41 m) at highest point during mean tide. However, the total area of the island is reported to be 22 acres (8.9 ha). Landmarks on the island include the Main Cellhouse, Dining Hall, Library, Lighthouse, the ruins of the Warden’s House and Officers’ Club, Parade Grounds, Building 64, Water Tower, New Industries Building, Model Industries Building, and the Recreation Yard.   read more…

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