Portal:San Francisco Bay Area

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The San Francisco Bay Area Portal

California Bay Area county map
SF Bay area USGS.jpg

The San Francisco Bay Area, commonly known as the Bay Area, is a populated region that surrounds the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California, United States. The region encompasses the major cities and metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, along with smaller urban and rural areas. The Bay Area's nine counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. Home to approximately 7.44 million people, the nine-county Bay Area contains many cities, towns, airports, and associated regional, state, and national parks, connected by a network of roads, highways, railroads, bridges, tunnels and commuter rail. The combined urban area of San Francisco and San Jose is the second largest in California (after the Greater Los Angeles area), the fifth largest in the United States, and the 56th largest urban area in the world.

The United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB) does not use the nine-county definition of the San Francisco Bay Area. The OMB has designated a more extensive 12-county Combined Statistical Area (CSA) titled the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area which also includes the three counties of San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, and San Benito that do not border San Francisco Bay, but are economically tied to the nine counties that do. The southernmost portion of Sacramento County has direct access to Suisun Bay, which lies immediately to the east of San Pablo Bay, but is not counted as one of the counties of the Bay Area.

The San Francisco Bay Area is known for its natural beauty, liberal politics, entrepreneurship, and diversity. The area has high incomes, performing above the state median household income in the 2010 census; it includes the five highest California counties by per capita income and two of the top 25 wealthiest counties in the United States. Based on a 2013 population report from the California Department of Finance, the Bay Area is the only region in California where the rate of people migrating in from other areas in the United States is greater than the rate of those leaving the region, led by Alameda and Contra Costa counties. (more...)

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Presidio of San Francisco - Golden Gate National Recreation Area welcome sign.jpg
The Presidio of San Francisco (originally, El Presidio Real de San Francisco or The Royal Fortress of Saint Francis) is a park and former military base on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula in San Francisco, California, and is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It had been a fortified location since September 17, 1776, when New Spain established it to gain a foothold on Alta California and the San Francisco Bay. It passed to Mexico, which in turn passed it to the United States in 1848. As part of a 1989 military reduction program under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, Congress voted to end the Presidio's status as an active military installation of the U.S. Army. On October 1, 1994, it was transferred to the National Park Service, ending 219 years of military use and beginning its next phase of mixed commercial and public use.

In 1996, the United States Congress created the Presidio Trust to oversee and manage the interior 80% of the park's lands, with the National Park Service managing the coastal 20%. In a first-of-its-kind structure, Congress mandated that the Presidio Trust make the Presidio financially self-sufficient by 2013, which it achieved 8 years ahead of the scheduled deadline.

The park is characterized by many wooded areas, hills, and scenic vistas overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It was recognized as a California Historical Landmark in 1933 and as a National Historic Landmark in 1962. (more...)

Selected biography

Matthew Turner.png
Matthew Turner (1825-1909) was an American sea captain, shipbuilder and designer. He went into business with his brother and John Eckley, forming the Matthew Turner Shipyard at Benicia in 1883. He constructed 228 vessels, of which 154 were built in the Matthew Turner shipyard. He built more sailing vessels than any other single shipbuilder in America, and can be considered "the 'grandaddy' of big time wooden shipbuilding on the Pacific Coast." (more...)

Selected city

Sonoma City Hall.jpg
Sonoma is a historically significant city in Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California, United States, surrounding its historic town plaza, a remnant of the town's Mexican colonial past. Today, Sonoma is a center of the state's wine industry for the Sonoma Valley AVA Appellation. Sonoma's population was 10,648 as of the 2010 census, while the Sonoma urban area had a population of 32,678. (more...)

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Recently in the Bay Area

Kearny Street, San Francisco
Protesters against Donald Trump, San Francisco
Oakland "Ghost Ship" warehouse fire
Uber self driving car (October 2016)
Kevin Starr
Trump inauguration protest SF Jan 20 2017
"Bridge Together Golden Gate"
San Bruno explosion and fires, at night
Protesters at San Francisco International Airport, 2017
Representative Mike Honda speaks at a San Francisco protest of Executive_Order_13769 in February 2017
Series of Storms Battering California Tracked by NASA's AIRS Instrument
Third Street, San Francisco
Anderson Lake dam and spillway
Warm Springs BART station on opening day
The United States of America, Arthur Szyk (1945)
Robert Taylor in 2008

The Bay Area by year

I. Magnin building in San Francisco (now Macy's)

Selected historical image

First women to attain rate of Electric Welder, 3rd class, were Alyce R. Sawyers (on the left) and Josephine L.... - NARA - 296887.jpg
"First women to attain rate of Electric Welder, 3rd class, were Alyce R. Sawyers (on the left) and Josephine L. Hollingworth, in 1942. US Navy Yard, Mare Island., CA."

Did you know...

El Cid Campeador
Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel rooftop
"Cheese Cake" by Sheana Davis

 • ... that Charlotte L. Brown was one of the first African Americans to legally challenge racial segregation in the United States, when she filed a lawsuit against a streetcar company in San Francisco in the 1860's, after she was forcibly removed from a segregated streetcar?
 • ... that Bay Area restaurateur Juanita Musson often argued with and insulted her staff and customers, and was involved in a number of physical altercations, but was despite this still well-liked?
 • ... that a copy of El Cid Campeador, a sculpture of El Cid by artist Anna Hyatt Huntington, is displayed at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco? (sculpture pictured)
 • ... that in 1969, artist Alfred Young helped create a public environmental art piece, using a non-toxic yellow dye to spell out the word "OIL" in large capital letters in the San Francisco Bay? (artist's sketch of later work pictured)
 • ... that San Francisco columnist Herb Caen dubbed the Persian Room at San Francisco's Sir Francis Drake Hotel “The Snake Pit” because, he wrote, “You never heard such hissing or saw such writhing"? (rooftop pictured)
 • ... that cheesemaker and restaurateur Sheana Davis produces her cheeses at a cooperative in Berkeley, and provides them to the French Laundry and Kendall-Jackson? (Cheese "Cake" by Davis pictured)

Previous Did you know...

Hua Mulan

September - December 2011

Selected periodic event

San Francisco Boys Chorus, past performers at the festival

Midsummer Mozart Festival is an annual music festival that exclusively features the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The festival was founded by George Cleve in 1974 and is held at various venues across the San Francisco Bay Area. (The San Francisco Boys Chorus, past performers, pictured)


~ Cal announcer Joe Starkey after The Play ended the 1982 Big Game

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Buddha, Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park
credit: "Editor"

Bay Area regions, geographic features and protected areas

Things you can do


GoldenGateBridge-001.jpg You are invited to participate in the San Francisco Bay Area task force, a task force dedicated to developing and improving articles about the San Francisco Bay Area.

Related Portals

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San Francisco with two bridges and the low fog.jpg
San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge
image credit: Brocken Inaglory

San Francisco Bay Area categories

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