San Francisco, which has second largest population density in the United States surpassed only by New York City, has been a resilient and unique city as part of the American story. Settled by the Spanish in the late 18th century, San Francisco became part of Mexico in 1821, and was made part of California during the Mexican-American War in 1846. Officially ceded to the United States after the war, San Francisco saw a legion of treasure hunters descend upon the city in 1849 during the California Gold Rush. During that time, there was a population explosion, California was granted statehood, and work began on the transcontinental railroad, which brought in a huge wave of Asian immigration. Still, despite the meteoric rise of the city, in 1906 over three quarters of it were destroyed, though San Francisco quickly bounced back.
Today, the city is well known for its cool summers, its beautiful architecture, and its multicultural population. The city is also seeing a renewed gold rush of sorts, with many tech companies calling the city home. Things to see include the towering Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay, and the city’s Chinatown, which, naturally, is one of the oldest in the United States. The city also is next to the notorious federal penitentiary at Alcatraz, which was shut down in 1963 and is now open for tours.
Getting around the city is easy enough, and San Francisco has a large public transport system which is one of the most widely used in the United States. More interesting for visitors, the famous cable cars are still maintained and operational, and are a national landmark as well!