San Francisco Bay Area, California
Welcome to the San Francisco Peninsula, California
The San Francisco Bay Area includes the urban, suburban and rural areas surrounding the city of San Francisco, California and the San Francisco Bay. The population numbers around seven million and has the highest median per capita and household incomes of any urban area in the United States. The San Francisco Peninsula is the area between San Francisco, locally known as "The City," at the north end, and the city of San Jose at the south end of the bay, encompassing the Silicon Valley area well known for innovations in technology. The Peninsula has two predominant areas separated by the Coastal Range mountains, which run from north to south down the middle. The east, or Bay side consists of small cities, including from north to south, the cities of Daly City, Colma, San Bruno, Millbrae, Burlingame, Hillsborough, San Mateo, Foster City, Belmont, San Carlos, Woodside, Redwood City, Atherton, Portola Valley, Menlo Park in San Mateo County. The Peninsula also includes parts of Santa Clara County, including Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Los Altos and Sunnyvale.
On the west, or Pacific Ocean side, usually
referred to as "The Coastside," are the cities of Pacifica and Half Moon Bay, and the towns of Montara, Moss Beach, El Granada, Princeton, Pescadero, La Honda, and San Gregorio. The Coastside is more rural in nature, with farms, ranches, and flower growing operations separating the more developed areas. Many Coastside residents commute to "The City" or over the hill to Silicon Valley for work.
Four bridges connect San Francisco and the Peninsula to the north and east bay communities. The famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco crosses the mouth of the bay to counties in the northern part of the state. The Oakland Bay Bridge connects San Francisco to Oakland in the east bay. The San Mateo Bridge and Dumbarton Bridge join the Peninsula to east bay cities as well.
The Bay Area is home to four universities, including the University of California campuses in Berkeley and San Francisco, Stanford University on the Peninsula, San Francisco State University and San Jose State University. Several smaller colleges and community colleges are located on the Peninsula as well.
Recreational activities enjoyed in the area include the popular water sports of sailing, fishing, and surfing, with the famous Maverick's surfing mecca located in Princeton. Bicycling is popular throughout the Peninsula, and bike lanes and trails are found on both sides of the mountains. Nature preserves and trails abound as well, and throughout the Peninsula are many county and state parks, as well as the Golden Gate Natural Recreation Area, working lighthouses, state beaches running the length of the Coastside, and the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.
Those looking for quieter pursuits enjoy the many museums and art galleries in the area, as well as public gardens, the San Francisco Zoo, numerous activities sponsored by the colleges and universities, unlimited shopping, fine dining, team sports and other urban activities. The Bay Area's thriving ethnic communities provide spectacular festivals during various seasons, including the Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco's Japantown each spring. San Francisco's Chinatown hosts the annual Chinese New Year celebration and parade also in the spring. It is the largest Asian celebration in North America and is attended by hundreds of thousands of spectators and shoppers. On a smaller scale are the Portuguese Chamerita Festival in Half Moon Bay in June, the Kings Mountain Art Fair on Labor Day weekend, and the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival in the fall. Crafts fairs and farmers markets occur year round in various Peninsula communities and are very popular with locals as well as tourists.