Home to hippies, techies and one of the largest and most prominent LGBT communities in the world, San Francisco is a diverse metropolis situated along America’s Pacific coast. With a metropolitan population of 4.6 million, the former gold rush city of the 1800s has a booming tech scene within the city centre — it’s home to the headquarters of employers like Pinterest, AirBnb, StubHub and Salesforce — while countless global tech giants have their headquarters in the Bay Area.
The city is also a popular tourist destination drawing crowds of visitors for its moderate climate, rolling hills, and famous and photogenic landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, heritage cable cars and the former Alcatraz Federal Prison.
The Transamerica Pyramid is the tallest and most prominent skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline rising 260 meters (853 feet) above the city. Designed by American architect William Pereira, the tower’s most distinctive feature are the two “wings” that flank the sides of the building from the 29th floor. These were necessary to accommodate an elevator shaft and stairwell near the top of the building since elevators cannot run at the angle of the pyramid.
San Francisco has some of the steepest streets in US with Lombard Street in the city’s northeast as perhaps the most famous. With eight hairpin turns within a one block section, cars can be seen twisting past flower beds as they coasting along at 5 mph.
With roots dating back to the 1850s, San Francisco’s cable car system is the last manually operated cable car system in the world. It was also named a National Historic Monument in 1964 making it the only mobile heritage structure in the world transporting over nine million people through the streets of San Francisco annually.
Located 1.5 miles (2.4 km) off the coast of San Francisco, Alcatraz — aka the Rock — was a federal prison from 1933 to 1963 and is known for some of its notorious inmates including Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and “Birdman” Robert Stroud. The prison closed Today, Alcatraz is managed by the National Park Service and is a popular tourist destination attracting over 1 million visitors each year.
Golden Gate Bridge
One of the world’s most recognizable structures, the Golden Gate Bridge spans the Golden Gate Strait connecting north San Francisco to the Marin County. The three mile long (4.8km) suspension bridge is a popular spot for tourists and photographers and is especially stunning when it’s shrouded by the city’s infamous rolling fog.