The centerpiece of the Bay Area, San Francisco is one of the most visited cities in the world, and with good reason. The cultural center of northern California, San Francisco is renowned for its mixture of scenic beauty and unique culture that makes it one of the most vibrant and desirable cities in the nation, if not the world.
Sandwiched between the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean on a small square of land seven miles (11 km) on each side, San Francisco offers a wealth of treasures for the visitor, from the windswept and often foggy bay to the steep hills lined with Victorian homes that overlook the spectacular scenery of the city. 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 9.7 million people (2018), 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.