Is San Francisco Liberal or Conservative?

San Francisco

Travel report, back to the travel page, homepage

The city of San Francisco

San Francisco is located on the US west coast. The two bays that formed an ideally protected harbor basin were discovered here around 200 years ago. The connection between the bays and the Pacific is the Golden Gate. San Francisco was built on the headland south of the Golden Gate.
Neighboring towns are e.g. Berkley, Oakland, Palo Alto, Sacramento (145 km) and Sausalito.

In 1846, San Francisco was still a small town with around 500 inhabitants, but the gold rush led to the city's rapid development.

Residents:750 000
Number of hills:40
Land area:120 km2
Water surface:212 km2

The human

San Francisco is the most liberal American place I know. Almost every kind of life is tolerated here. As a result, SF became a collecting tank for bon vivants, homosexuals and actually everyone who comes across intolerance in the more conservative America.

The international mix is ​​also striking here. This has the great advantage that you can escape the typical fast food eating culture of the Americans. In SF there is real food (in many national variants) and even really good coffee (e.g. at the Italians). You can get a beer almost anywhere in the restaurant, which is unusual in much of the United States.
San Francisco is the first major American city where whites are no longer in the majority if you don't count the Latinos among the whites. In the summer of 2000, the census announced that 49.9% of the population were white. Latinos, Chinese and blacks follow with over 10%. The next larger groups are English, Irish, German, Italian, Filipinos, Mexicans and Russians.

The largest Chinese settlement outside of China is in SF. A detour to Chinatown is always worthwhile, because next to the more touristy Grant Avenue you can still find genuine Chinese culture and way of life in Stockton Street. The Chinese came to SF in the last century as railway track builders and stayed there. After the great earthquake of 1906, they were denied any state aid for reconstruction. It was hoped that the Chinese would emigrate from SF. But then the calculation was made without the Chinese and their internal solidarity. Chinatown was rebuilt by the Chinese on their own.

About 20,000 Russians live in SF.

About 100,000 homosexuals live in SF. Gay couples walking hand in hand are part of the normal street scene. Same-sex marriages are largely equal. The homosexuals have emancipated themselves through decades of struggle and also have an influence on local politics. Of course, with such ideal conditions, lesbians and gays from more conservative corners of America are drawn to SF.

SF is right on Silicon Valley. The boom in ".COM" firms quickly spawned a new class of wealthy people who settled in SF. Since the land prices are always based on the available money, the prices for houses and apartments in the SF area have increased many times over in recent years. This sets in a process of displacement that drives the traditional residents out of SF. They have realized that they can never afford their own house in SF and are moving to regions with normal property prices. Through this process, SF could lose much of its typical character in the future.

travel Guide

I used the travel guide "California" from V. Mehnert and M.Velbinger and the "San Francisco" from Baedeker. The former covers all of California and provides extensive background information and insights into history. The other concentrates entirely on San Francisco and guides the tourist through the tourist highlights with pictures and tips.

general travel tips

Unlike most American cities, San Francisco has a well-developed public transportation network (called MUNI). It can only be used on trips to the city center, as parking in Downtown-SF is more expensive than a ticket for the tram or bus.
The old-fashioned "cable car" is also particularly recommended. The use of these funiculars is not only a great experience, they also open up a part of the city center that is even more mountainous than one would suspect after watching crime films set in SF. It really goes up and down here all the time.

Outside of the city center, you can also get around easily by car. But if you have to park on a mountain, it is legally required to turn the wheels in addition to the handbrake on so that the car cannot roll onto the road in the event of an accident. Anyone who does not pay attention to this will get a hefty parking ticket.

The weather is a little colder and wetter than you would actually expect from California. At an average of 20 ° C, it quickly becomes too cold in a T-shirt. A steady wind blows inland on the Atlantic coast. It can be uncomfortable and cold. So don't forget your jacket on trips to the piers.


SF is located in an extremely earthquake-prone area. In 1906 a great earthquake almost completely destroyed the city. The wooden buildings and the modern steel frame houses survived the actual tremors relatively well. Only the brick houses collapsed. But fire broke out, and since the quake had destroyed the water pipes, the residents could only watch helplessly from the neighboring hills as in the following 3 days 80% of the city was destroyed by large fires.

Today SF has an extensive extinguishing water network that can cope with the failure of individual lines. Building regulations are tailored to the risk of earthquakes. Nonetheless, another major quake is likely to claim victims.


English of course. But you could also get by with Chinese, Italian, Spanish or Russian ;-)

my trip 2000

I visited San Francisco in the spring of 2000. Below is a brief impression about
back to the travel page, homepage