What Makes San Francisco Unique: 10 Interesting Facts

December 23, 2019
golden gate bridge san francisco
This year is the 10-year anniversary of my American adventure and I didn't want to end 2019 without a little tribute to San Francisco, my favorite city in the world. People who haven't been to the City by the Bay often ask me: "what is it about San Francisco? what makes it so unique?" For me it's all about the vibe and the type of city.

Read more about my experience as an au-pair in San Francisco

San Francisco is very European with its beautiful Victorian houses and quaint neighborhoods. I love the variety of neighborhoods, each so different from the other representing the people who live there. I love that it's not a big city, you can walk pretty much everywhere -despite the hills-, but you can find everything: the best shops, an international airport, huge parks and even a beach.

Everybody knows the hills, the cable cars and the Golden Gate Bridge. However, the beautiful City by the Bay comes with many fascinating curiosities I'm sure you don't know about. You'd have never guessed what was invented in San Francisco or what is buried under the city among other interesting facts. Let's check them out.
embarcadero san francisco pier sea lion
embarcadero san francisco pier golden gate bridge

10 interesting facts about San Francisco

1. It is estimated that there are between 40 and 70 ships buried underneath the streets of the financial district in San Francisco. The vessels brought people to San Francisco during the California Gold Rush, only to be abandoned and later covered up by landfill as the city grew in the late 1800s.

2. The fortune cookie and the Irish coffee were invented in San Francisco.

3. Levi Strauss invented denim jeans in San Francisco for the Gold Rush miners who needed durable yet comfortable clothing.

4. The US Navy planned to paint the Golden Gate Bridge black with yellow stripes. Its world famous, called International Orange, color was supposed to be a sealant.

5. The city’s cable cars are the only National Historical Monument that can move.

6. Before it was called San Francisco, this city was called Yerba Buena which is Spanish for "good herb". Nowadays SF has different nicknames such as "City by the Bay", “Golden Gate City” or “The Golden City.” Other popular names include "San Fran" or "Frisco" but these two are loathed by locals.

7. San Francisco has the second largest Chinatown outside of Asia. More than 100,000 people live in Chinatown. It's the most densely populated neighborhood in the city.

8. It wasn't the earthquake that did most of the damage in 1906. The fires that started after the earthquake caused most of the damage to the city.

9. Mark Twain never uttered the famous quote “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” However, whoever said this was absolutely right. The warmest month of the year is September. In the summer, while the rest of California is really hot, San Francisco has cooler temperatures.

10. During the Great Depression, not a single bank in San Francisco failed. Actually, business was so good that they constructed the Golden Gate Bridge and the Oakland Bay Bridge during this period.

Read more blog posts about San Francisco
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15 comments

  1. These are interesting facts about one of my favorite cities! I've been to the Levi Strauss store. Historic and fun!

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  2. San Francisco is one of my favorite places!

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  3. Being born there and a teacher in SFUSD, it is an interesting place. But I must correct you as the Bay Bridge was built by the state of California. There are seven bridges in the Bay Area and six are state owned and the Golden Gate Bridge was built with private bonds issued by the Bank of Italy (which became Bank of America).

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  4. Thanks for the interesting information about this beautiful city! Merry Christmas!

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  5. Thank you for joining us this week at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2019/12/merry-christmas.html, and have a happy Christmas!

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  6. Hi, Cristina! Hope you're well & Merry Christmas :)
    San Fran is one of those places on my bucket list, looks nothing short of beautiful!

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  7. Celtic Thistle StitchesDecember 26, 2019 at 10:14 PM

    What a fascinating collection of facts about San Francisco my Irish husband will be amazed that Irish coffee was invented there :)
    Thanks for linking up to New to Me too

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  8. http://ladyfi.wordpress.comDecember 28, 2019 at 8:16 AM

    Fascinating! And great shots too!

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  9. Sounds like you have some really awesome memories! We have yet to make across the states to San Francisco.

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  10. I loved San Francisco when I visited. Your photos bring back great memories! One unexpected site was seeing the Tsunami signs as I'm from the east coast where I'm used to seeing the Hurricane signs. I'm visiting from Saturday Sparks Link Party. If you like crafts, I shared a winter craft for kids #36. :)

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  11. Such a beautiful city indeed. Love your photos dear!

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

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  12. I had no idea about most of your 'facts'! I especially love the fact that the bridge never got actually painted :)

    It's so nice to see you at 'My Corner of the World'!

    My Corner of the World

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  13. Your San Francisco facts were so interesting! California is an unexplored part of the states for me. I will go in September now and hope for warmer weather.

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  14. I love San Francisco. It's a magical city that has so much to offer. I try to visit once a year just because I enjoy it so much. These facts are definitely interesting. I sure didn't know a lot on your list but #10 surprised me the most.

    Maureen | www.littlemisscasual.com

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