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Access San Francisco 10e
By Richard Saul Wurman
Harper Collins PublishersCopyright © 2003 Richard Saul Wurman All right reserved. ISBN: 0060530782
The City by the Bay's stature as one of the US's most attractive, welcoming destinations is well deserved. Honeymooners continue to be lured by San Francisco's romantic charm, seasoned travelers like the civilized pace and dramatic views, families appreciate the many attractions for children, gays and lesbians flock to this tolerant town for its vibrant subculture, and executives love to have their conventions here year after year. In light of the economic downturn, travelers are being offered discounts. Check www.sfvisitor.org to see what's currently available.
San Francisco covers only 47 square miles; it is situated on a peninsula, with the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Golden Gate Strait to the north, and the San Francisco Bay stretching north to east. Its 793,600 inhabitants make it the second-largest city in the nine-county Bay Area, a region that continues to thrive. Owing to the booming Internet industry located near San Jose, the city is flush with cash. As a result, many new civic projects and improvements are under way.
Originally inhabited by the Ohlone Indians and reputedly visited by British admiral Sir Francis Drake in 1579, the region saw five flags fly - representing England, Spain, Mexico, the Republic ofCalifornia, and the United States - from 1579 through 1850. This part of the West Coast has been the subject of curiosity ever since gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill in 1848. San Francisco became known as a place to get rich quick - and a place to spend it all, as the miners and other high rollers flooded to the pleasure palaces of the Barbary Coast. When the city was largely demolished by the 1906 earthquake and fire, attention was again riveted on the region. But San Francisco was quickly rebuilt, sowing the seeds of the indomitable image that persists today.
Since then, San Francisco has cultivated its freewheeling reputation and made news on different fronts, from the kitchens of famous restaurants to the violent scenes of labor unrest on the docks and the 1978 assassinations of Mayor George Moscone, along with Harvey Milk, a gay member of the Board of Supervisors (known to many as the Mayor of Castro Street). The city has been in the forefront of social movements since the arrival of the flower children and the "summer of love" in 1967; and today the large gay and lesbian community presses for change as it continues to lobby for homosexual rights. San Francisco ranks in the front lines of culture, with a world-class opera house, symphony, and ballet company, as well as some of the best Asian, European, and modern art museums in the country. Europeans love San Francisco because, in many respects, it is the most European of American cities. Hispanics gravitate to the Spanish-speaking Mission District, and Asians also feel at home, since the city has one of the largest Chinese populations in the country, a substantial Japanese community, and increasing numbers of Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, and Filipino immigrants. Even New Yorkers are comfortable in San Francisco, frequently comparing it to the Big Apple. Locals have been accused of being smug about their city, and the charge is probably valid. San Franciscans know and love the Bay Area, and enjoy sharing its attractions. And, as the visitor quickly discovers, the city they take such pride in is one that shares its many treasures with visitors.
Excerpted from Access San Francisco 10e by Richard Saul Wurman
Copyright © 2003 by Richard Saul Wurman
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.