Today, San Francisco is renowned for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks.

The only consolidated city-county in California, it encompasses a land area of about 46.9 square miles on the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, giving it a density of about 17,179 people per square mile. It is the most densely settled large city in the state of California and the second-most densely populated major city in the United States after New York City.

San Francisco is the fourth most populous city in California and the 14th most populous city in the United States, with a population of 805,235 as of the 2010 Census. The city is also the financial and cultural hub of the larger San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland metropolitan area, with a population of 7.4 million.

After three-quarters of the city was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco was quickly rebuilt, hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later.

San Francisco (Spanish for “Saint Francis”) was founded on June 29, 1776, when colonists from Spain established a fort at the Golden Gate and a missionnamed for St. Francis of Assisi a few miles away. The California Gold Rush of 1849 propelled the city into a period of rapid growth, increasing the population in one year from 1,000 to 25,000, and thus transforming it into the largest city on the West Coast at the time.

After three-quarters of the city was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco was quickly rebuilt, hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later. During World War II, San Francisco was the port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater. After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, massive immigration, liberalizing attitudes, and other factors led to the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, cementing San Francisco as a center of liberal activism in the United States. Among major U.S. cities, the city has the largest percentage of gay, lesbian and bisexual residents, at 15.4%.