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Travel + Leisure Magazine Readers Name San Francisco The World's
                Best City And Best City In The United States
 

                The readers of Travel + Leisure magazine have named San Francisco the World's Best
                City and the Best City in the United States. San Francisco was previously named World's Best City in North America every
                year since the magazine started the readers' poll in 1996. 

                Travel + Leisure Editor-in-Chief Nancy Novogrod announced the results of its annual World's Best Awards readers' poll,
                which is featured in the September issue of the popular upscale travel magazine, as well as on their website,
                www.travelandleisure.com.
ourism Statistics

                Total visitor and convention participants staying in 
                San Francisco hotels and motels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4,200,000

Leading attractions visitedd:

1) Fisherman's Wharf 
2) Chinatown 
3) Golden Gate Bridge 
4) Union Square 
5) Cable Car Ride
City of San Francisco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 789,600

Population of the nine Greater Bay Area counties (Alameda, 
Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara,
Solano and Sonoma) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.7 million

History and Geography

Total area in square miles in the city of 
San Francisco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47.335 miles

Miles of shoreline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29.5 miles

Miles of waterfront . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.5 miles

Square miles in San Francisco Bay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .496 miles

Fog signals around the San Francisco Bay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 signals

Bridges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 bridges

Length of San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.5 miles

Average number of vehicles crossing the Bay Bridge yearly . . . . . . . . . 52,000,000

Length of Golden Gate Bridge in miles, including approaches . . . . . . . . . . 1.7 miles

Average number of vehicles crossing Golden Gate Bridge yearly . . . . . 41,267,000

Number of years it took to construct the Golden Gate Bridge . . . . . . . . . . .4 years
FOUNDED 
Presidio of San Francisco established on Sept. 17, 1776; incorporated on 
April 15, 1850

GEOLOGY 
San Francisco for the most part rests on a foundation of sandstone, shale 
and volcanic rock

GOVERNMENT
Mayor (4-year term) and Board of Supervisors (11 members)

HILLS 
There are 43 hills within San Francisco, major ones are: Twin Peaks
(910' and 903'), Nob (376'), Russian (294') and Telegraph (248')

ISLANDS 
Fourteen islands lie in the San Francisco Bay, 12 within city limits: Alcatraz; 
the Farallones, a group of seven islands; Treasure Island; Yerba Buena; Angel 
Island, shared with the city of Tiburon; and Red Rock

Sutro Tower is the tallest structure at 981 feet, (its base stands 830 feet 
above sea level); Transamerica Pyramid is the tallest building at 853 feet; 
Mission Dolores, dedicated on Aug. 2, 1791 is the oldest
THE SEA LIONS ARE BACK

Visit Pier 39 to see hundreds of sea lions basking in the sun, swimming and just plain having fun. January 19th marked the eleventh anniversary of the arrival of the internationally famous sea lions at what has now become their permanent home, San Francisco's Pier 39. After the 1989 earthquake, the sea lions arrived in droves because of the available dock space, a plentiful herring supply in the Bay and the protected environment. The California Watchable Wildlife Project has declared Pier 39's K-Dock a “Watchable Wildlife” viewing area. The Marine Mammal Center continues to offer free, guided talks at the sea lion habitat on weekends from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. K-Dock in the Pier 39 West Marina. For more information, call 705-5500 or visit www.pier39.com. Media contact: Alicia Vargas, 705-5500.

Historic Streetcars (Trams): 

You can travel back in time on our distinctive worldwide collection of historic streetcars which have been gracing The City with regular service since 1995. Each car is painted in its original livery, be it from Boston, Chicago or Milan. You can find these beautiful streetcars running along the center of Market Street from the Transbay Terminal in downtown to the Castro District. They are collectively known as line F-Market. 
Marina District
The Marina was developed on the site of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Marina Green, a grassy playground with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay, attracts joggers, sunbathers and kite fliers. The terracotta Palace of Fine Arts is home to the hands-on science museum, Exploratorium. Off Marina Boulevard, streets are dominated by grand stucco houses and flats. Chestnut Street brims with inviting stores, restaurants and watering holes. Click here for a map. 

Geography 

Surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, San Francisco's compact 46 square miles (125 sq. km.) crowd the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula. 

Population 

"The City" has a population of 723,959; nevertheless it looms large in the imagination as the hub of the greater Bay Area. The nation's fifth largest metropolitan region registers a population of 6 million and hosts over 16 million visitors, conventioneers and business travelers each year. 

Weather 

The San Francisco Bay Area has some of the best weather in the nation. For year-round temperatures and a comprehensive five-day weather forecast, click here. 

  
   Windsurfers sail the Bay
   Photo by Phil Coblenez  
San Francisco Bay, a 500-square-mile cleft in the California coastline, has a split personality. It is both a major center for water-borne commerce and a delightful excuse to just go play. 

From the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada, 16 California rivers flow into San Francisco Bay. A steady stream of container ships, freighters and cruisers docked at more than 40 deepwater piers attest to its role as a major shipping lane. But it is the fun side of the bay, that lures mariners about and aboard, to skirt the Golden Gate Bridge where ebb tide meets west wind or happily paddle single kayaks in Richardson Bay. Scheduled ferry service, sightseeing and dining cruises offer another opportunity to ply the bay. However, for those who don't trust their sea legs, landside pursuits on the edge of the water can be just as engaging. 

Fisherman's Wharf 
Eighty-seven percent of San Francisco's visitors include Fisherman's Wharf on their itinerary. With good reason. Waterfront marketplaces include The Anchorage, The Cannery, Ghirardelli Square and PIER 39. The Wharf's working hub, "Fish Alley," sells thousands of tons of sole, shrimp, salmon, sea bass, squid and other deep sea delicacies annually. During the crab season (mid-November through June) devotees line up for the best of the catch. For an impromptu picnic, order some cracked crab and pick up a loaf of sourdough French bread from a nearby bakery.   
   Taking a break at Fisherman's Wharf
   Photo by Frank DiMarco  

A fleet of historic ships berths at Hyde Street Pier, a component of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, which also includes the Maritime Museum. The USS Pampanito, a WWII fleet submarine, may be boarded at Pier 45. 

On The City's northern waterfront beyond Hyde Street Pier and the lagoon of Aquatic Park (this is a nice side trip from Fisherman's Wharf), the nearly four-mile-long Golden Gate Promenade winds past bocce ball courts through Fort Mason and Marina Green to Crissy Field, a shoreline retreat adjoining the Presidio, terminating at Fort Point. Ahead lies the world's most incredible piece of outdoor sculpture, the majestic Art Deco-style Golden Gate Bridge. Completed in 1937 the bridge links San Francisco to Marin County. For a real aerobic workout, climb the steps near Fort Point that lead up to the bridge and make "the walk of all walks." Click here for a map. 
  Section Index - Click HereGeneral InfoWhats NewExplore The CityWalking ToursFAQsSafety Tips for TouristsHotel DealsHotel ReservationsPreferred Dining GuideRequest for Visitor InfoVisitor Info CenterWedding InfoWeather ForecastNews & PromotionsPublic TransitYellow Pages
 
 
 
  
 Dutch Windmill
 Photo by Phil Coblentz  
It's never just another day in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco's 1,000-acre backyard. The park's trove of attractions includes Strybing Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, a "living library" where 6,000 plant species, including a stunning display of California redwoods, flourish. Each spring endows the park with a new cast of floral favorites: flowering cherry blossoms in the Japanese Tea Garden, a five-acre legacy from the 1894 Midwinter International Exposition; lush magenta colored rhododendrons; and more than 14,000 tulips and daffodils near the Dutch Windmill. 

Located off the Great Highway, the Dutch Windmill is one of two originally constructed to irrigate the park, once a vast wasteland of sand dunes and scrub oak. The long-shuttered Beach Chalet has re-emerged as a visitor center for the park. Located at 1000 Great Highway near the Dutch Windmill, the Willis Polk-designed building was completed in 1929.

Indoors the exceptional collections of the Asian Art Museum, M.H. de Young Memorial Museum (closed until 2005 for renovation) and California Academy of Sciences are rotated on a regular basis and frequently augmented by traveling shows. 

Free guided walking tours of Golden Gate Park are conducted by Friends of Recreation and Parks, 415-263-0991. 
 
Other sure-to-please family favorites include: 

California Academy of Sciences, in Golden Gate Park, is full of wonders: a bird-eating spider, Steinhart Aquarium, a 1,350 pound quartz crystal, and some scenes right out of Jurassic Park. Schedule time to watch the dolphins and seals being fed, every two hours beginning at 10:30 am. 
M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, just across the concourse from the academy, has set aside Gallery One for young visitors. A computer station offers access to over 70,000 prints and drawings; there's also a reading area for children, a guide to works on view entitled, "Do You See What I See?" and a table for writing and drawing. Closed until 2005 for renovation. 
Exploratorium, a playful museum where kids make the discoveries for themselves, activating over 700 exhibits. Combine your visit here with some kite flying on Marina Green or a visit to the Wave Organ at the end of the St. Francis Yacht Club jetty. For lunch or dinner, Union and Chestnut streets offer a number of restaurants. 
The San Francisco Zoo opens new habitats all the time but Gorilla World, Koala Crossing and the Primate Discovery Center are still the top draws here. Youngsters can feed, pet and play with barnyard animals in the Children's Zoo. 
Arthur Brown, Jr., who also designed the newly renovated City Hall, and Coit Tower. 

Coit Tower atop Telegraph Hill is blessed with marvelous views. Murals on its ground floor walls were painted in 1933 by some 30 local artists; each piece depicting a different aspect of the Great Depression. Farther east are the Greenwich Street Steps at the base of Coit Tower, a climb of more than three separate flights of stairs. Despite its length, this stairway is worth every inch of the climb - it winds its way through tall trees, hillside gardens and past some of the best local-area views of San Francisco bay in The City. Benches and wide stone railings are available at different parts on the hill for those who need to rest or just want to enjoy the view. 

Coit Tower
Columbus, Filbert and Stockton Streets
Gift Shop (415) 362-0808.
Washington Square Park
Union, Filbert, Powell and Stockton Streets

Wealthy socialite Lillie Hitchcock Coit so admired firemen that she bequeathed one third of her fortune in 1929 for the beautification of San Francisco. In 1934 Coit Tower (designed as a classic colonnade and never intended to actually represent a fire nozzle) was built as a memorial to her. In 1932 a bronze statue of firemen holding hoses and rescuing a damsel in distress was erected in Washington Square Park, as her tribute to the city's brave fire fighters. Coit Tower caps Telegraph Hill at the top of Filbert Street. Washington Square Park sits in the heart of North Beach and is bound by Columbus, Filbert and Stockton streets. To reach the top of 210-foot Coit Tower, there is an elevator, open daily 10 a.m to 7 p.m.

 

 

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