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San Francisco city

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At just 49 square miles, San Francisco packs as much into its tiny waterbound area as most cities three times its size. From a history rich with moneygrubbing, gun slinging and prostitution, to a present abundant with culture, food, and, um, moneygrubbing, San Francisco’s is a tall tale – only it’s all true and it’s still being told.

The city of San Francisco was established in the mid 1700s by Spanish explorers, who sailed through the Golden Gate, eventually displacing the Ohlone Indian population who had lived here for hundreds of years. Originally a sleepy port town called Yerba Buena (‘good herb’), things really got spirited in the 1840s when gold was discovered in the foothills of California. The population swelled and the city, now San Francisco, became a veritable den of iniquity, teeming with disillusioned prospectors, wayward sailors and put-upon immigrants.

This chapter in history can be relived by strolling the streets of Chinatown, along Grant Avenue or Stockton Street between Pine Street and Pacific Avenue. Stop in at the Chinese Culture Center (750 Kearny Street, CA 94108, +14159861822, www.c-c-c.org) for guided tours. Chinatown’s next-door neighbor is North Beach, where the Barbary Coast history can be traced along Columbus Avenue and great coffee and Italian food can be had at nearly any café or restaurant.

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San Francisco city
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