San Francisco is a cultural, commercial, and financial center in Northern California. San Francisco is the 16th most populous city in the United States, and the fourth most populous in California. It covers an area of about 46.89 square miles (121.4 square kilometers), mostly at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second most densely populated large U.S. city. San Francisco was founded on June 29, 1776, when colonists from Spain established the Presidio of San Francisco at the Golden Gate and Mission San Francisco de Asís a few miles away, both named for Francis of Assisi.
In World War II, San Francisco was a major port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater. After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, significant immigration, liberalizing attitudes, along with the rise of the "beatnik" and "hippie" countercultures, the Sexual Revolution, the Peace Movement growing from opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War, and other factors led to the Summer of Love and the LGBT rights in the United States movement, cementing San Francisco as a center of liberal activism in the United States.
- Alphabetized by author or source
- I don't believe that there is a blasé person in the State. Credit that to the earthquake. The catastrophe, too, will be a great factor in the future greatness of San Francisco, just as the fires of London were in the making of that city a world metropolis."
- Gertrude Atherton, "Novelist Rescues Manuscript from Occidental Hotel", San Francisco Call (May 2, 1906, p. 7)
- If I do go to heaven, I'm going to do what every San Franciscan does who goes to heaven. He looks around and says, "It ain't bad, but it ain't San Francisco."
- Isn't it nice that people who prefer Los Angeles to San Francisco live there?
- Chinese children are in American schools in San Francisco. None of our children are in Chinese schools, and probably never will be, though in some things they might well teach us valuable lessons. Contact with these yellow children of the Celestial Empire would convince us that the points of human difference, great as they, upon first sight, seem, are as nothing compared with the points of human agreement. Such contact would remove mountains of prejudice.
- Such was life in the Golden Gate:
Gold dusted all we drank and ate,
And I was one of the children told,
'We all must eat our peck of gold.'
- This ain’t America, this is San Francisco.
- I'd thought it would be something like King's Road [London], only more. Somehow I expected them all to own their own little shops, because I heard they'd all bought out blocks. I expected them all to be nice and clean and friendly and happy.
- George Harrison expressing disenchantment with the "hideous, spotty little teenagers" he found in the "Summer of Love" hippies of San Francisco's famous “hippie haven” i.e., the Haight-Ashbury district, which he visited on 7 August 1967, as quoted in The Love You Make : An Insider's Story of the Beatles (2002) by Peter Brown, Steven S. Gaines, p. 235
- It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness of the late afternoon of time.
- East is East, and West is San Francisco, according to Californians. Californians are a race of people; they are not merely inhabitants of a State.
- O. Henry, in "A Municipal Report"
- San Francisco is not so much a city as a myth. It is in the United States but not of it. It is so civilized, it would starve to death if it didn't get a salad fork or the right wine. It fancies itself Camelot but comes off more like Cleveland. Its legacy to the world is the quiche. People speak in whole sentences, and polysyllabically. It suffers from a superiority complex.
- Jim Murray, "Montana Was Key to The City," Los Angeles Times (April 25, 1993)
- There was a guy who testified before the Un-American Activities Committee that it was at the house of Jack and Tillie Olsen that everybody was ordered to throw their party books into the fireplace. The only thing he goofed on was that we never had any fireplace, let alone the fact that it never happened. I was president of the PTA. A neighbor called one morning and said, "Do you have your radio on?" I said, "No." And she said, "Well, you'd better put it on. It's about you." I said, "About me?" So I turned it on fast and heard I was "an agent of Stalin who'd been empowered to take over the San Francisco school system."
- If I'm the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium, and I say, "Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead. And if Al-Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead."
- Bill O'Reilly, on The Radio Factor (8 November 2005); also quoted at O'Reilly to San Francisco: "If Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. … You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead" at Media Matters for America (10 November 2005)
- As many of you know, I come from San Francisco. We don't have a lot of farms there. Well, we do have one — it's a mushroom farm, so you know what that means.
- Nancy Pelosi, to The Agribusiness Club of Washington (24 July 2006).
- I realized that my gloss as chief economist, head of Economics and Regional Planning... was part of a sinister system aimed not at outfoxing an unsuspecting customer, but rather at promoting the most subtle and effective form of imperialism the world has ever known.... The march had begun and it was rapidly encircling the planet. The hoods had discarded their leather jackets, dressed up in business suits, and taken on an air of respectability. Men and women were descending from corporate headquarters in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, London, and Tokyo, streaming across every continent to convince corrupt politicians to allow their countries to be shackled to the corporatocracy, and to induce desperate people to sell their bodies to sweatshops and assembly lines... a world of smoke and mirrors intended to keep us all shackled to a system that is morally repugnant and ultimately self-destructive.
- If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.
- I was appalled that the San Francisco ethic didn't mushroom and envelope the whole world into this loving community of acid freaks. I was very naive.
- Grace Slick, as quoted in The Routledge Dictionary of Quotations (1987) edited by Robert Andrews
- A city on hills has it over flat-land places. . . . This gold and white acropolis rising wave on wave against the blue of the Pacific sky was a stunning thing, a painted thing, like a picture of a mediaeval Italian city which can never have existed.
- John Steinbeck, in Travels With Charley (1962)
- The winds of the Future wait
At the iron walls of her Gate,
And the western ocean breaks in thunder,
And the western stars go slowly under,
And her gaze is ever West
In the dream of her young unrest.
Her sea is a voice that calls,
And her star a voice above,
And her wind a voice on her walls--
My cool, grey city of love.
- George Sterling, "The Cool, Grey City of Love" in The San Francisco Bulletin, vol. 133, no. 31 (11 December 1920), p. 1, Transcribed by Alan Gullette.
- At the end of our streets is sunrise;
At the end of our streets are spars;
At the end of our streets is sunset;
At the end of our streets the stars.
- George Sterling, "The City By the Sea – San Francisco", in The San Francisco Bulletin, vol. 135, no. 19 (30 November 1922), p. 14, Transcribed by Alan Gullette
- Of all our visitors, I believe I preferred Emperor Norton; the very mention of whose name reminds me I am doing scanty justice to the folks of San Francisco. In what other city would a harmless madman who supposed himself emperor of the two Americas have been so fostered and encouraged? Where else would even the people of the streets have respected the poor soul's illusion? Where else would bankers and merchants have received his visits, cashed his cheques, and submitted to his small assessments? Where else would he have been suffered to attend and address the exhibition days of schools and colleges? Where else, in God's green earth, have taken his pick of restaurants, ransacked the bill of fare, and departed scatheless?
- Sunset greeted them when, after a wide circle to the east and south, they cleared the divide of the Contra Costa hills and began dropping down the long grade that led past Redwood Peak to Fruitvale. Beneath them stretched the flatlands to the bay, checkerboarded into fields and broken by the towns of Elmhurst, San Leandro, and Haywards. The smoke of Oakland filled the western sky with haze and murk, while beyond, across the bay, they could see the first winking lights of San Francisco.
- Well, the girls are frisky in old 'Frisco, a pretty little chick wherever you go.
- The Ramones, "California Sun"