Edgy, imaginative, adventurous and full of free spirit, San Francisco has been drawing tourists from around the world for many decades. Its quintessential California charm partnered with established landmarks has made this city — and county by the same name — a top-five destination in the United States among foreign tourists. Whether traveling from within the U.S., as travel blogger Kathy Petrino has done, or visiting good ole’ San Fran from another global region, this seaside port in western North America welcomes one and all, adding to its 25 million annual visitors.
Founded in 1776 by Spanish colonists, it was not until the California Gold Rush of 1849 that San Francisco’s growth expanded more swiftly. It grew into the largest city on the West Coast of the United States for a short time, peaking around 1900. Mere years later, in 1906, much of the city was destroyed by earthquake and fire. Although it was quickly rebuilt, it took significant time for San Francisco to gain its tourist appeal — particularly among the post World War I and World War II immigrations, peace movements, vast liberal culture and more. Now, as an immensely popular international destination, says avid traveler Petrino, San Francisco’s rich history has become a cornerstone as well as its Golden Gate Bridge and other landmarks, its cool climate, its eclectic culture, its rolling hills and its seaside location, including Fisherman’s Wharf. Kathy Petrino says San Fran is a wonder of American growth and contemporary culture that must be experienced.