San Francisco

About the San Francisco Bay Area


Geographic Overview

The San Francisco Bay Area, commonly referred to as the Bay Area, is the metropolitan region surrounding the bays of San Francisco and San Pablo in Northern California. It is comprised of such cities as San Francisco (12th largest in the country), Oakland, and San Jose (31st largest in the country), along with many smaller urban and rural areas. Overall, the Bay Area includes 9 counties, 101 cities, 7,000 square miles and over 7.2 million people.

The Bay Area is well known and admired for its natural beauty, quality of living, diversity and technological and entrepreneurial innovation. These qualities make the Bay Area a very attractive destination for immigrants from all over the world.


Boasting an economy of almost $300 billion, the Bay Area alone ranks 24th in the world when compared with national economies. In fact, on a per capita basis, it ranks number 1, ahead of all national economies, including the United States as a whole. The region is well known for being the frontier of global technology, and is a leader in many key indicators of regional, global and national competitiveness, including:

  • The nation’s largest concentration of national laboratories, corporate and independent research laboratories, and leading research universities.
  • The largest number of top-ten ranked graduate programs in business, law, medicine and engineering in the nation.
  • The highest density of venture capital firms in the world, with 32% of total U.S. venture capital funding invested in the region.
  • More Fortune 500 companies than any region except New York.
  • The highest internet penetration of any U.S. region.
  • The highest level of patent generation in the nation, with more patents generated per employee than any other major metropolitan area.
  • The most highly educated workforce in the nation, with the highest percentage of residents with graduate and professional degrees.
  • A leading position in global trade, with exports larger than all but one U.S. state.
  • The highest economic productivity in the nation—almost twice the U.S. average.

Source: Bay Area Council Economic Institute


Invest In California

Eighth Largest Economy in the World

The State of California, if taken separately from the United States, is a major global economic force. In terms of GDP, California’s economy ranks eighth in the world, representing more than 13% of the total U.S. GDP. California boasts a diverse economy producing a wide range of goods and services. As of 2012, California has a population of over 36 million, a number that continues to grow in both size and diversity. The State’s regions are home to many prosperous industries, including Hollywood (entertainment), Southern California (aerospace), the Central Valley (agriculture), Silicon Valley (Computers and Technology), and the Napa Valley (wine). California stands as a worldwide leader in all these industries.

Bay Area

Ethnic Diversity

The San Francisco Bay Area has a very diverse population and is home to a large amount of different ethnic groups and cultures. In fact, the region is considered by many to be one of the most diverse in the United States.


Pleasant during the summer and mild during the winter, the Bay Area is a very comfortable location year-round. The many mountains, hills, and bodies of water create several different microclimates in the region – for example, the towns of the East Bay can sometimes be up to 15 degrees warmer than downtown San Francisco, and sometimes even 20 degrees warmer than the vicinity surrounding the Golden Gate bridge.






There is a multitude of well regarded and prestigious universities in the Bay Area, including, but not limited to, Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco.






The Bay Area is home to many innovative research centers and companies in the fields of pharmaceuticals and medical sciences. The biotechnology sector is also very prominent in the region. Alongside Silicon Valley, these industries are major contributors to the strong economic growth enjoyed by the Bay Area. The region is proud to be home to one of the world’s largest biotech clusters, comprising more than 1,300 companies with over 100,000 employees. Three world-renowned research universities with approximately $500 million in research funding are also located in the Bay Area: University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), University of California at Berkeley, and Stanford University.


The Bay Area is home to a vibrant array of world-class arts, nightlife, professional sports, wineries, shopping, museums as well as phenomenal restaurants. The city of San Francisco is considered by many as one of the top cities in the world, with one of the richest cultural histories in the United States. People from around the world come to San Francisco to enjoy five-star dining, a vibrant theater scene, and unforgettable outdoor experiences. The surrounding Bay Area offers even more opportunities to explore, including the Headlands of Marin, the world-renowned vineyards of the Napa valley, and many others.

San Francisco

San Francisco offers a wide array of arts, landmarks, nightclubs, museums, art galleries, restaurants, festivals, entertainment and sightseeing tours, among many other attractions. Old World charm, a multi-ethnic demography combined with jaw-dropping natural beauty and an ocean setting make San Francisco a popular destination for people around the world. Visitors and locals alike take advantage of what San Francisco has to offer year-round, including:

  • Alcatraz
  • Twin Peaks
  • Pier 39
  • The Golden Gate Bridge
  • Fisherman’s Wharf
  • The San Francisco Zoo
  • Union Square
  • Coit Tower
  • The San Francisco Giants
  • Chinatown

Bay Area Music & Arts

San Francisco’s reputation for world-class arts and music began with the Gold Rush over a century ago, and continues to this day all over the Bay Area through a multitude of famous museums, galleries, opera houses, renowned theaters, performing arts centers, and lively artist communities.

Outdoor Activities

The Bay Area is home to beaches that stretch from Point Reyes National Seashore in the north, down to the famous surfing beaches of Santa Cruz in the south. In between are countless beach towns, beautiful national recreation areas, majestic mountains as well as the urban beaches and parks of San Francisco. There are seemingly limitless biking trails, both road and off-road, many hiking trails as well as places to enjoy observing sea lions, pelicans, and other wildlife.