San Francisco is one of the few North American cities to achieve a place in the pantheon of great urban centers around the globe. Sophisticated, cosmopolitan, often foggy and infamous for its high-priced real estate, "San Fran" ranks well up the list of cultural "it" spots on the West Coast. While collisions - of Mexican, Asian, and American cultures, of the cold north Pacific Ocean with the sunny California mainland, of 18th-century Spanish missions with modern skyscrapers and of course, the rattling slide of the San Andreas Fault's earthen sides - may have shaped this city, it's the multi-cultured populous and atmospheric setting that makes it such a desirable destination in its current form.
This water-framed city's most recognizable sights might range from architectural landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge to steep streets, cable cars, and salty Fisherman's Wharf, but San Francisco is also home to world-class museums, a zoo, an aquarium and an expansive urban park. When the fog lifts, find here neighborhoods that range from high society Nob Hill to historic Chinatown, the Mission District to the Castro or up-and-coming Deco Ghetto.
San Francisco and the surrounding area have expanded tremendously over the past century, creating an urban metropolis known as the Bay Area. Centered around the 50-mile long San Francisco Bay, the area is connected by an extensive public transportation network and a series of impressive bridges. San Francisco itself is located on a peninsula; San Jose is at the south end of the bay and Oakland is on the mainland side to the east.
San Francisco is located on the west coast of central California, about 90 miles southwest of Sacramento.