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.
Fisherman's Wharf, a popular San Francisco attraction.
The Transamerica Pyramid dominates the city's skyline.
This sign identifies a small alley named after Mark Twain that leads into the city's Transamerica Redwood Park. Mark Twain once asserted "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."
San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf got its name from the city's early days during the Gold Rush when Italian immigrant fishermen settled in the area and fished for the Dungeness crab. From then until the present day it remained the home base of San Francisco's fishing fleet. Despite its redevelopment into a tourist attraction during the 1970s and 1980s, the area is still home to many active fishermen and their fleets.
The Balclutha is a steel-hulled full rigged ship that was built in 1886. She is the only square rigged ship left in the San Francisco Bay area and is a U.S. National Historic Landmark, currently preserved at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Designed as a general trader, Balclutha rounded Cape Horn 17 times in 13 years. During this period she carried cargoes such as wine, case oil, and coal from Europe and the East Coast of the United States to various ports in the Pacific. These included Chile for nitrate, Australia and New Zealand for wool, Burma for rice, San Francisco for grain, and the Pacific Northwest for timber.
The San Francisco cable car system is the world's last manually operated cable car system. An icon of San Francisco, California, the cable car system forms part of the intermodal urban transport network operated by the San Francisco Municipal Railway. The vast majority of the 7 million annual passengers are tourists, and the cars are among the most significant tourist attractions in the city, along with Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Fisherman's Wharf. The cable cars are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The architecture of San Francisco is not so much known for defining a particular architectural style, rather, with its interesting and challenging variations in geography and topology and tumultuous history, San Francisco is known worldwide for its particularly eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture. These homes line a very hilly street in the "Russian Hill" area of the city.
Russian Hill's name goes back to the Gold Rush-era when settlers discovered a small cemetery at the top of the hill which contained Russian colonists who had created a settlement here during the 18th century. This is a telephoto-lens view of the hilly residential neighborhood, and because of the steepness of the hill, several streets are blocked to motor vehicles and replaced by staircases. The most touristy block in Russian Hill is the winding Lombard Street (center right).
"Painted ladies" is a term used for Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings painted in three or more colors that embellish or enhance their architectural details. One of the best-known groups of "Painted Ladies" is the row of Victorian houses on Steiner Street, across from Alamo Square park, in San Francisco. It is sometimes known as "Postcard Row." This Photoshop enhanced photo by Tracy Bumpas-Mongold.
Homes in the Russian Hill area of San Francisco have a certain charm, and this beautiful plant graces the entrance to one.
When visiting San Francisco with family or friends, I suggest you enjoy the comfort, convenience and stress-free experience of ferry travel. No bridge traffic or tolls, just a scenic, calming ride to locations across the Bay, and let's not forget the amazing San Francisco Bay views. On many of them you can even bring your bike on board!