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15 Wild Things You Don’t Know About San Francisco

SmarterTravel

Sharpen your City by the Bay trivia skills with these fun facts.

  1. The Golden Gate Bridge isn’t really red. (No, this isn’t a joke!) The official paint color is International Orange.
  2. While notorious American gangster Al Capone was imprisoned at Alcatraz, he formed an inmate band called the Rock Islanders. Every Sunday they’d hold a concert where he played the banjo.
  3. The cable car is the only moving National Historic Monument in the world. Built in 1873, they transport 9.7 million people per year.
  4. Fortune cookies originated in San Francisco and were invented by Japanese immigrant Makoto Hagiwara. He’s also the man behind Golden Gate Park’s famous Japanese Tea Garden.
  5. Much of San Francisco is built on top of old Gold Rush ships.
  6. Lombard Street gets all the fame for its slanted slopes, but Filbert and 22nd Streets are the steepest at 31.5 degrees.
  7. San Franciscans flush their toilets with water from Yosemite. Today, 280 miles of pipelines feed water to 2.4 million people in the San Francisco area, and 85 percent of it is pure snow-melt from the national park. No wonder why the tap water tastes so good!
  8. The “Summer of Love” actually started in the winter. It was kicked off in January 1967 at the Human Be-In at Golden Gate Park.
  9. Dogs outnumber children in San Francisco. Named after St. Francis, the patron saint of animals, it makes sense why this city would be overrun with four-legged friends. There are 150,000 dogs in SF, compared to 107,524 residents under the age of 18.
  10. At 60 miles long and up to 12 miles wide, San Francisco Bay is one of the world’s largest landlocked harbors.
  11. The tide is so fast in the Bay that some sailboats end up moving backwards in strong currents.
  12. The popular pedestrian shopping street, Maiden Lane, was formerly the center of the city’s red-light district. In the 1800s, the two-block stretch of brothels housed more than 1,000 prostitutes.
  13. In other NSFW news, there’s an annual charity marathon for, ahem, getting off. The current record? 10 hours.
  14. The warmest month of the year is September. In the summer, while the rest of California suffers in sweltering heat, San Francisco is rolling in fog and cool ocean breezes. Come fall, the temps soar to 70 degrees (versus 60 degrees in June and July).
  15. According to a study in 2014, 29 percent of San Francisco’s pollution comes from China.

—Chelsea Bengier

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This article was originally published by Jetsetter under the headline 15 Wild Things You Don’t Know About SF. It is reprinted here with permission.

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