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San Francisco, officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the fourth most populous city in California and the 12th most populous city in the United States, with a 2009 estimated population of 815,358.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 17,323 people/mi² (6,688.4 people/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.

In 1776, the Spanish established a fort at the Golden Gate and a mission named for Francis of Assisi on the site.The California Gold Rush in 1848 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.

Today, San Francisco is a popular international tourist destination,renowned for its chilly summer fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture and its famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, and Chinatown. The city is also a principal banking and finance center, and the home to more than 30 international financial institutions,] helping to make San Francisco eighteenth place in the world's top producing cities, ninth in the United States, and fifteenth place in the top twenty Global Financial Centers.

The San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL) are the longest-tenured major professional sports franchise in the city. The team began play in 1946 as an All-America Football Conference (AAFC) league charter member, moved to the NFL in 1950 and into Candlestick Park in 1971. The 49ers won five Super Bowl titles in the 1980s and 1990s behind coaches Bill Walsh and George Seifert & stars Joe Montana, Steve Young, Ronnie Lott, and Jerry Rice.

Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants left New York for California prior to the 1958 season. Though boasting stars such as Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Barry Bonds, and making three appearances in the World Series, the club has yet to win a world championship while based in San Francisco. The Oakland Athletics swept the Giants in the 1989 World Series, after Game 3 in San Francisco was infamously pre-empted by the Loma Prieta earthquake. The Giants play at AT&T Park, which opened in 2000, a cornerstone project of the South Beach and Mission Bay redevelopment.

At the collegiate level, the Dons of the University of San Francisco compete in NCAA Division I, where Bill Russell guided the program to basketball championships in 1955 and 1956. The San Francisco State Gators and the Academy of Art University Urban Knights compete in Division II. AT&T Park hosts college football's annual Emerald Bowl.

The Bay to Breakers footrace, held annually since 1912, is best known for colorful costumes and a celebratory community spirit.[ The San Francisco Marathon attracts more than 21,000 participants.[ The Escape from Alcatraz triathlon has, since 1980, attracted 2,000 top professional and amateur triathletes for its annual race.The Olympic Club, founded in 1860, is the oldest athletic club in the United States. Its private golf course, situated on the border with Daly City, has hosted the U.S. Open on four occasions. The public Harding Park Golf Course is an occasional stop on the PGA Tour.

With an ideal climate for outdoor activities, San Francisco has ample resources and opportunities for amateur and participatory sports and recreation. There are more than 200 miles (320 km) of bicycle paths, lanes and bike routes in the city,and the Embarcadero and Marina Green are favored sites for skateboarding. Extensive public tennis facilities are available in Golden Gate Park and Dolores Park, as well as at smaller neighborhood courts throughout the city. Boating, sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing are among the popular activities on San Francisco Bay, and the city maintains a yacht harbor in the Marina District. San Francisco residents have often ranked among the fittest in the U.S.







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