Known as the center of world-class high-tech companies, San Francisco is a symbol of modern day innovative and free spirited culture. The California Gold Rush of 1849 brought rapid growth to the city. It is also the birthplace of the United Nations, when the UN Charter was signed in 1945. San Francisco is known for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, cable cars and landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Fisherman's Wharf, and its Chinatown district.
Union Square refers to the central shopping, hotel, and theater district that surrounds the plaza for several blocks. The area got its name because it was once used for rallies and support for the Union Army during the American Civil War, earning its designation as a California Historical Landmark.
Alcatraz Island is located in San Francisco Bay, 1.25 miles (2.01 km) offshore from the city. The small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison (1868), and a federal prison from 1934 until 1963. Alcatraz Cruises is the official source for ferry tickets to Alcatraz Island.
In American architecture, painted ladies are Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings painted in three or more colors. One of the best-known groups of "Painted Ladies" is the row of Victorian houses at 710–720 Steiner Street, across from Alamo Square park. It is sometimes known as "Postcard Row." The houses were built between 1892 and 1896.
Opened in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate strait, the one-mile-wide (1.6 km), one-point-seven-mile-long (2.7 km) channel between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the most internationally recognized symbols of the city.
The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of San Francisco, California, is a monumental structure originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in order to exhibit works of art. In addition to hosting art exhibitions, it remains a popular attraction for tourists and locals.