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Photos of San Francisco California

san francisco map

San Francisco, California
Known for Victorian architecture, Alcatraz, cable cars, Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf, steep hills and trademark fog, San Francisco sits on the shores of its namesake bay, bridged by its most famous landmark - the Golden Gate Bridge.

The city of San Francisco was built on 43 hills, and that's reflected in its incredibly steep and curving streets; Filbert is steepest at 31.5 degrees, but Lombard is the most popular with its seductive, winding curves.

The San Francisco Bay Area has a history of cultural diversity and tolerance. The first San Francisco residents included a diverse population of Ohlone Indians, New Zealanders, Spanish Californians, Americans, Chinese, Hawaiians, South Americans and Europeans, and that diversity is the city's charm.

san francisco
sea gulls san francisco

Where there's water, seagulls are always close by.

aquarium by the bay san francisco

Aquarium of the Bay is a public aquarium at the edge of Pier 39 in San Francisco, California. The Aquarium is focused on local aquatic animals from the San Francisco Bay and neighboring waters. It has over 50 sharks on display.

san francisco gift shop

The Alcatraz giftshop at Pier 39.

san francisco houses

Stylish row-type houses in the center of San Francisco.

golden gate bridge

The massive North Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge.

golden gate bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening of the San Francisco Bay (left) into the Pacific Ocean to the right. The structure links the city of San Francisco (center left in the background) on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, to Marin County, from which this photo was taken today. It is one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco, California, and the United States. It has been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
cable car san francisco
As a cable car makes it to the top of a very, very steep hill on Hyde Street in San Francisco, you can see Alcatraz in the background in the city's namesake bay, and note how the cable car is at a much higher elevation then Alcatraz. I've taken this somewhat scary ride before, and take it from me, it can surely make your hair stand on end.
alcatraz san francisco
Alcatraz Island is located in San Francisco Bay, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) offshore from the city. Often referred to as "The Rock," the small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison (1868), and a federal prison from 1933 until 1963. Beginning in November 1969, the island was occupied for more than 19 months by a group of Aboriginal Peoples 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. A tour to Alcatraz is highly recommended for the entire family.
san francisco
This a shot of downtown San Francisco taken from the top of Coit Tower, a California landmark. Centered in this photo is the Transamerica Pyramid, the tallest skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline and one of its most iconic. Did You Know? An observation deck on the 27th floor was closed after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and replaced by the virtual observation deck; so live tours today are not available.
golden gate bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening of the San Francisco Bay (left) into the Pacific Ocean to the right. The structure links the city of San Francisco (center left in the background) on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, to Marin County, from which this photo was taken today. It is one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco, California, and the United States. It has been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
cable car san francisco
As a cable car makes it to the top of a very, very steep hill on Hyde Street in San Francisco, you can see Alcatraz in the background in the city's namesake bay, and note how the cable car is at a much higher elevation then Alcatraz. I've taken this somewhat scary ride before, and take it from me, it can surely make your hair stand on end.
alcatraz san francisco
Alcatraz Island is located in San Francisco Bay, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) offshore from the city. Often referred to as "The Rock," the small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison (1868), and a federal prison from 1933 until 1963. Beginning in November 1969, the island was occupied for more than 19 months by a group of Aboriginal Peoples 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. A tour to Alcatraz is highly recommended for the entire family.
san francisco
This a shot of downtown San Francisco taken from the top of Coit Tower, a California landmark. Centered in this photo is the Transamerica Pyramid, the tallest skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline and one of its most iconic. Did You Know? An observation deck on the 27th floor was closed after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and replaced by the virtual observation deck; so live tours today are not available.
lombard street san francisco
See the little red car at the top of this photo? It is about to decend Lombard Street in San Francisco, best known for the one-way section on Russian Hill where the road has eight sharp turns (or switchbacks) that have earned the street the distinction of being the crookedest (most winding) street in the world. The design, first suggested by property owner Carl Henry, was born out of necessity in order to reduce the hill's natural 27ยบ (51%) grade, which was too steep for most vehicles.
pier 39 san francisco
Pier 39 is a shopping center and popular tourist attraction built on a pier in San Francisco, California. At Pier 39, there are shops, restaurants, a video arcade, street performances, an interpretive center for the Marine Mammal Center, the Aquarium of the Bay, virtual 3D rides, and views of California sea lions hauled out on docks on Pier 39's marina. This family-oriented entertainment and presence of marine mammals make this a popular tourist location for families with kids.

California Sea Lions have been always present in San Francisco Bay. They started to haul out on docks of Pier 39 in September 1989. Before that they mostly used Seal Rock for that purpose. Ever since September 1989 the number of sea lions on Seal Rock has been steadily decreasing, while their number on Pier 39 has generally increased. Some people speculate that sea lions moved to docks because of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, but the earthquake occurred months after the first sea lions had arrived at Pier 39. It is likely that the sea lions feel safer inside the Bay. These two are gently sparing for dock space.
coit tower
Coit Tower is a 210-foot (64 m) tower in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, California. The tower was built in 1933 using Lillie Hitchcock Coit's bequest to beautify the city of San Francisco. The iconic art deco tower, built of unpainted reinforced concrete, offers a great view of much of San Francisco.
relaxing at fishermen's wharf

On a sunny, warm day, relaxing along Fishermen's Wharf in San Francisco is a popular activity.

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This page was last updated on July 13, 2016.