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San Francisco, California

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San Francisco in California.

 

Star for Vacation Rentals Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel - San Francisco Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel, is the preferred choice of downtown San Francisco hotels, and is located just two blocks from Union Square. Convenient to cable cars and accessible to Bay Area Rapid Transit, our AAA Four-Diamond hotel offers unparalleled access to everyone's favorite city! Accommodations include 1, 010 newly renovated guest rooms and 18 suites with panoramic city views. Make use of our modern meeting facilities, complete support services and convenient access to the city's financial district and convention center. Check out the website

Phone: 1.800.595.0507 Price Range: $139 - $500   Size: 1008 Units   Open Season: Jan 01 - Dec 31
Kids Allowed: Yes   Pets Allowed: No   Restaurant Onsite: Yes   Conference Facility: Yes
Nearest Popular City: San Francisco   Nearest Lake/River: N/A   Languages: English   Lodging Types: Family Resorts, Holiday Hotels, Luxury Resorts, Resort Hotels, Romantic Resorts, Spa Resorts   Activities: Beach Activities, Biking or Bicycling, Shopping  

Star for Vacation Rentals Laurel Inn - San Francisco The Laurel Inn is a stylish boutique hotel located in San Francisco's prestigious Pacific Heights neighborhood. Built in 1963, this newly renovated hotel includes classic 1960's architecture and a sophisticated and comfortable interior. Check out the website

Phone: 415-567-8467   Price Range: $76 - $150   Size: 20 - 49 Units   Open Season: N/A
Kids Allowed: Yes   Pets Allowed: Yes   Restaurant Onsite: No   Conference Facility: No
Nearest Popular City: San Francisco   Nearest Lake/River: N/A   Languages: English   Lodging Types: Family Resorts   Activities: Shopping, Sightseeing

San Francisco, officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the fourth most populous city in California and the 13th most populous city in the United States, with a 2010 estimated population of 805,235. The only consolidated city-county in California, it encompasses a land area of 46.7 square miles (121 km2) on the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, giving it a density of 17,243 people per square mile (6,655/km2). It is the most densely settled large city (population greater than 200,000) in the state of California and the second-most densely populated large city in the United States. San Francisco is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of more than 7.4 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland.

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. Among the GGNRA's attractions within the city are Ocean Beach, which runs along the Pacific Ocean shoreline and is frequented by a vibrant surfing community, and Baker Beach, which is located in a cove west of the Golden Gate and part of the Presidio, a former military base. Also within the Presidio is Crissy Field, a former airfield that was restored to its natural salt marsh ecosystem. The GGNRA also administers Fort Funston, Lands End, Fort Mason, and Alcatraz. The National Park Service separately administers the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park — a fleet of historic ships and waterfront property around Aquatic Park.

There are more than 200 parks maintained by the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. The largest and best-known city park is Golden Gate Park, which stretches from the center of the city west to the Pacific Ocean. Once covered in native grasses and sand dunes, the park was conceived in the 1860s and was created by the extensive planting of thousands of non-native trees and plants. The large park is rich with cultural and natural attractions such as the Conservatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Garden and San Francisco Botanical Garden. Lake Merced is a fresh-water lake surrounded by parkland and near the San Francisco Zoo, a city-owned park that houses more than 250 animal species, many of which are designated as endangered. The only park managed by the California State Park system located principally in San Francisco, Candlestick Point was the state's first urban recreation area.

Culture and contemporary life

In recent years, the wealth resulting from the IT boom from the nearby Silicon Valley, as well as from the recent Dot-Com booms has created a high standard of living in San Francisco, attracting white-collar workers to San Francisco from all over the world. Many neighborhoods that were once blue-collar, middle, and lower class have been gentrifying, as many of the city's traditional business and industrial districts have experienced a renaissance driven by the redevelopment of the Embarcadero, including the neighborhoods South Beach and Mission Bay. The city's property values and household income have risen to among the highest in the nation, creating a large, and upscale restaurant, retail, and entertainment scene. According to a 2008 quality of life survey of global cities, San Francisco has the second highest quality of living of any U.S. city. Due to the exceptionally high cost of living, many of the city's middle and lower class families have been leaving the city for the outer suburbs of the Bay Area, or for California's Central Valley.

Although the centralized commerce and shopping districts of the Financial District and the area around Union Square are well-known around the world, San Francisco is also characterized by its culturally rich streetscapes featuring mixed-use neighborhoods anchored around central commercial corridors to which residents and visitors alike can walk. Because of these characteristics, San Francisco was rated "most walkable" city by the website Walkscore.com. Many neighborhoods feature a mix of businesses, restaurants and venues that cater to both the daily needs of local residents while also serving many visitors and tourists. Some neighborhoods are dotted with boutiques, cafes and nightlife such as Union Street in Cow Hollow, and 24th Street in Noe Valley. Others are less so, such as Irving Street in the Sunset, or Mission Street in the Mission. This approach especially has influenced the continuing South of Market neighborhood redevelopment with businesses and neighborhood services rising alongside high-rise residences.

The international character San Francisco has fostered since its founding is continued today by large numbers of immigrants from Asia and Latin America. With 39% of its residents born overseas, San Francisco has numerous neighborhoods filled with businesses and civic institutions catering to new arrivals. In particular, the arrival of many ethnic Chinese, which accelerated beginning in the 1970s, has complemented the long-established community historically based in Chinatown throughout the city and has transformed the annual Chinese New Year Parade into the largest event of its kind outside China.

Following the arrival of the "beat" writers and artists of the 1950s, to the societal changes that culminated with the Summer of Love in the Haight-Ashbury district during the 1960s, San Francisco became an epicenter of liberal activism, with Democrats and Greens dominating city politics. San Francisco has not voted more than 20% for a Republican presidential or senatorial candidate since 1988. In 2006, the Board of Supervisors passed the Healthy San Francisco program, which subsidizes medical care for certain uninsured residents. Healthy San Francisco covers most medical services excluding dental and vision, but only pays providers within San Francisco.

The city's large gay population has created and sustained a politically and culturally active community over many decades, developing a powerful presence in San Francisco's civic life. The most popular destination for gay tourists internationally, the city hosts San Francisco Pride, the largest and one of the oldest pride parades.

Entertainment and performing arts

San Francisco's War Memorial and Performing Arts Center hosts some of the most enduring performing-arts companies in the U.S. The War Memorial Opera House houses the San Francisco Opera, the second-largest opera company in North America as well as the San Francisco Ballet, while the San Francisco Symphony plays in Davies Symphony Hall. The Herbst Theatre stages an eclectic mix of music performances, as well as public radio's City Arts & Lectures.

The Fillmore is a music venue located in the Western Addition. It is the second incarnation of the historic venue that gained fame in the 1960s under concert promoter Bill Graham, housing the stage where now-famous musicians such as the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane first performed, fostering the San Francisco Sound. Beach Blanket Babylon is a zany musical revue and a civic institution that has performed to sold-out crowds in North Beach since 1974.

The American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) has been a force in Bay Area performing arts since its arrival in San Francisco in 1967, regularly staging productions. San Francisco frequently hosts national touring productions of Broadway theatre shows in a number of vintage 1920s-era venues in the Theater District including the Curran, Orpheum, and Golden Gate Theatres.

Museums

The Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) houses 20th century and contemporary works of art. It moved to its current building in the South of Market neighborhood in 1995 and now attracts more than 600,000 visitors annually. The Palace of the Legion of Honor holds primarily European antiquities and works of art at its Lincoln Park building modeled after its Parisian namesake. It is administered by Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, which also operates the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. The de Young's collection features American decorative pieces and anthropological holdings from Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Prior to construction of its current copper-clad structure, completed in 2005, the de Young also housed the Asian Art Museum, which, with artifacts from over 6,000 years of history across Asia, moved into the former public library next to Civic Center in 2003.

Opposite the Music Concourse from the de Young stands the California Academy of Sciences, a natural history museum that also hosts the Morrison Planetarium and Steinhart Aquarium. Its current structure, featuring a living roof, is an example of sustainable architecture and opened in 2008. The Palace of Fine Arts, built originally for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, has since 1969 housed the Exploratorium, an interactive science museum.

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