Driving Downtown – San Francisco California USA – Episode 48.
Starting Point: California Street – .
San Francisco is the cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California. It is the most densely settled large city in the state of California and the second-most densely populated major city in the United States after New York City.
A popular tourist destination, San Francisco is known for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Fisherman’s Wharf, and its Chinatown district. San Francisco is also the headquarters of five major banking institutions and various other companies such as Levi Strauss & Co., Gap Inc., Salesforce.com, Dropbox, Reddit, Square, Inc., Dolby, Airbnb, Weebly, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Yelp, Pinterest, Twitter, Uber, Lyft, Mozilla, Wikimedia Foundation, and Craigslist. It has several nicknames, including “The City by the Bay”, “Fog City”, “San Fran”, and “Frisco”, as well as older ones like “The City that Knows How”, “Baghdad by the Bay”, “The Paris of the West”, or simply “The City”. As of 2016, San Francisco is ranked high on world liveability rankings.
The last 20 years have seen two booms driven by the internet industry. First was the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, startup companies invigorated the San Francisco economy. Large numbers of entrepreneurs and computer application developers moved into the city, followed by marketing, design, and sales professionals, changing the social landscape as once-poorer neighborhoods became increasingly gentrified. Demand for new housing and office space ignited a second wave of high-rise development, this time in the South of Market district. By 2000, the city’s population reached new highs, surpassing the previous record set in 1950. When the bubble burst in 2001, many of these companies folded and their employees were laid off. Yet high technology and entrepreneurship remain mainstays of the San Francisco economy. By the mid 2000s (decade), the social media boom had begun, with San Francisco becoming a popular location for tech offices and a popular place to live for people employed in Silicon Valley companies such as Apple and Google.
San Francisco has a diversified service economy, with employment spread across a wide range of professional services, including financial services, tourism, and (increasingly) high technology.
Tourism and Conventions
Tourism is one of the city’s largest private-sector industries, accounting for more than one out of seven jobs in the city. The city’s frequent portrayal in music, film, and popular culture has made the city and its landmarks recognizable worldwide.
Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants have played in San Francisco since moving from New York in 1958. The San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL) were the longest-tenured major professional sports franchise in the city until moving in 2013.
Culture and Contemporary Life
Although the Financial District, Union Square, and Fisherman’s Wharf are well-known around the world, San Francisco is also characterized by its numerous culturally rich streetscapes featuring mixed-use neighborhoods anchored around central commercial corridors to which residents and visitors alike can walk.
Beaches and Parks
Several of San Francisco’s parks and nearly all of its beaches form part of the regional Golden Gate National Recreation Area, one of the most visited units of the National Park system in the United States with over 13 million visitors a year.
Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco Bay
Golden Gate Park
Palace of Fine Arts