Situated on a peninsula separating San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco is a uniquely picturesque city, whose scenic attractions include the largest cultivated urban park in the country, Golden Gate Park.
Its notoriously steep streets, traversed by the famous cable cars, are home to a remarkably diverse ethnic population, and the city's reputation for tolerance and diversity is also evident in its history as a mecca for the gay community.
Known for sophisticated cultural innovation and experimentation, San Francisco was the gathering place of the "beat" generation in the 1950s and a focal point of the 1960s counterculture, a hotbed of political protest and the birthplace of the "San Francisco Sound". Still known for its cultural attractions, today the Bay Area is also famous for its concentration of cutting-edge high-technology firms, which have drawn even more new residents to this populous region.
Great ethnic and cultural diversity shows itself in the city's varied neighborhoods, from the crowded and exciting streets of Chinatown to the eclectic attitudes of the Castro and the gleaming condominium towers built on the city's more recently gained tech-savvy reputation.
And yet San Francisco is just one of the cities which makes up the entire San Francisco Bay Area. At the center of a metropolitan area of 7.6 million people, the city is a fantastic base to explore the treasures of San Francisco's neighbors to the east across the Bay Bridge, to the north past the Golden Gate Bridge, and to the south down the peninsula. There's enough to see that one could devote a lifetime to exploring the region, and it'll become clear why people continue to make their way to this special place.