10 Facts About San Francisco You (Probably) Didn’t Know

If there’s one thing that San Francisco has, it’s everything! At least, a little bit of everything. Whether you’re a resident, a frequent visitor or a first-timer to the Bay Area you can be sure of a warm welcome and plenty of things to do. 

There are, of course, some very famous things to see and do in San Francisco. Practically everyone, whether they’ve visited or not, is familiar with sites such as Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, the cable cars, the Painted Ladies and Fisherman’s Wharf.  

They’re all worth a visit regardless and all are easily accessible from the furnished apartments in San Francisco available from thesqua.re. 

But what else is there to know about San Francisco? Away from the obvious, is there anything about this fantastic city that not everybody is aware of? 

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1. San Francisco used to be called ‘Good Herb’. No, really! But it was actually the more catchy Spanish translation, ‘Yerba Buena’. The city was founded in 1776 but wasn’t renamed San Francisco until 1846. The town square of Yerba Buena was where Portsmouth Square now stands in Chinatown. 

2. The Golden Gate Bridge took just four years to construct. Work began in 1933 and was fully completed by 1937, despite not having the technology we have today. Compare that to the Bay Bridge. The Oakland side of that began refurbishment in 2002. A mere eleven years later the refurbishment was complete. 

3. San Francisco has perhaps the most famous Chinatown outside of Asia in the world. That’s not a startling revelation. However, did you know that it is also the oldest Chinatown to be found in the US? Also, it is the most densely populated area of San Francisco with over 100,000 inhabitants crammed into an area just a mile long and a mile and a half wide. Did you also know that San Francisco is also the home of the oldest and largest Japantown in the US? 

4. There are some very popular items that were actually invented in San Francisco. A man called Joseph Friedman was with his daughter in the city, when he observed her struggling to consume a drink through a straight straw. He went on to invent the bendy straw in 1937. The fortune cookie also made its debut in San Francisco. A late 1890s tea garden owner, Makoto Hagiwara, used to serve them up. 

5. San Francisco is a pretty small city in comparison to most. Only 830,000 people live within the 7×7 square miles. This makes it even more popular with tourists who can visit large parts of it within a day. No car required! If you rent corporate housing in San Francisco from thesqua.re you can stay in the centre and make your excursions even easier. 

6. San Francisco is famous for having had one of the most devastating earthquakes of modern times in 1906, which left 90% of buildings damaged. However, it wasn’t actually the earthquake which did the majority of the damage, it was the fires that followed. 

7. Everyone knows that San Francisco is hilly. Who hasn’t seen a movie featuring a car chase in the city where the cars are flying over the hills? However, most people don’t know that the city was built on more than fifty hills. The more famous of these hills are called Nob Hill, Telegraph Hill and Russian Hill. 

8. Some people believe that the prisoners who famously escaped from Alcatraz were probably eaten by the man-eating sharks that populate the bay. In fact, the bay isn’t home to any man eating sharks. The ones that live there are small and fairly tame. Although Great Whites are known to live and hunt very close by in the Pacific Ocean and their presence in the bay would not be astounding! 

9. If you die in San Francisco you can’t be buried there. This is because all burials within city limits were banned in 1902. Up until this time, it was possible to be buried in one of numerous cemeteries, but the Gold Rush saw a big boom in population and the city struggled to find room for its living population, let alone it’s dead. Today there are just two old cemeteries that remain. The rest were dug up and the bodies moved elsewhere after the ruling! 

10. The Golden Gate Bridge could have looked very different had the US Navy got its way. They wanted it painted in black and yellow stripes, so it was easier to spot through the city’s famous fog. 

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