San Francisco: Introduction

The term "melting pot" is used to describe many American cities and towns. This is indeed true for San Francisco, one of the few truly international cities in the United States. The neighborhoods are varied, yet each features a cohesiveness as unique as its inhabitants. Rows of elegant houses, the famous cable cars, clusters of ethnic neighborhoods, and the colorful waterfront all add to the distinctive international flavor of the city. Nearly half of those who live in the Bay Area were born outside of the United States or have at least one nonnative parent. The city's well-known hills offer stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, and feature a wide array of shops, restaurants, and cosmopolitan nightlife. In addition to its diversity and charm, San Francisco is a major financial and insurance center, an international port, and the gateway to Silicon Valley, America's premier high-technology center. The consistently spring-like weather and unique atmosphere attract corporations as well as visitors, and the solid economic base keeps them there.