San Francisco Facts

Those of us who love San Francisco know it is one of the most interesting and unique places in the world. Knowing its details can deepen your relationship with the city and make for some excellent conversations among friends. For instance, did you know that the fortune cookie, denim jeans, chop suey and Irish coffee were all invented in San Francisco?  Or that San Francisco cable cars are the only rolling National Historic Landmark?

Here are some of our other favorites:

Captain John C. Fremont »

A topographical engineer with the U.S. Army, named San Francisco Bay's entrance Chrysopylae, which is Greek for Golden Gate, because it reminded him of a harbor in Istanbul named Chrysoceras, or Golden Horn.

San Francisco is the fourth richest city in the world »

Following New York, Moscow and London. It’s quite an accolade considering it is only about one-tenth the size of these other cities in terms of population.

With its 1.7-mile span »

The Golden Gate Bridge is so long that a crew of 17 iron workers and 38 painters never stops painting and repairing rust damage. As soon as they finish, it’s time to start all over again.

San Francisco was first called Yerba Buena »

Spanish words meaning good herb, named after a mint plant that grew along the bay’s shore. It wasn’t until 1847 that the city became known as San Francisco, named after Saint Francis.

Angel Island is known as the Ellis Island of the West »

Where 175,000 immigrants from China and Japan first entered America. It inspired many to adorn the walls with poems of hope – carvings can still be seen today at Immigration Station.

Beatles in San Francisco »

The Beatles gave their last full concert at Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966. Paul McCartney of the Beatles will be performming the last concert at Candlestick Park before the stadium closes in the summer of 2014.

Fortune Cookie invented in San Francisco »

The modern fortune cookie made with vanilla and butter was invented in San Francisco by Japanese resident, Makoto Hagiwara, to serve at the Japanese Tea Garden. There was a dispute in the 1980’s that a restaurant owner in Los Angeles invented the cookie and the case went to court, but the courts ruled in favor of the cookie being invented in San Francisco.

The Cable Car is a National Historic Monument »

San Francisco is the only place in the nation that you can ride a moving National Historical Monument, the cable cars.

San Francisco Peaks »

San Francisco is built on 43 hills.

Film shot more than a century ago »

Captured what it was like in the bustling city of San Francisco just days before the great 1906 earthquake. The Miles Brothers Motion Picture Company was making a promotion for San Francisco and mounted a camera on a cable car traveling down Market Street. The film survived because the company sent it to their New York office the night before the quake.

As a contrast to the historical video »

Here is a thoroughly modern-day version. See the Bay Area’s most iconic locations like you’ve never seen them before, presented in 4K/Ultra-HD by Teton Gravity Research.

View the video »

3-Dimensional Printed Model of San Francisco »