San Francisco Bay is a shallow, productive estuary through which water draining from approximately forty percent of
California, flowing in the
Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers from the
Sierra Nevada mountains, enters the Pacific Ocean. Technically, both rivers flow into Suisun Bay, which flows through the Carquinez Strait to meet with the Napa River at the entrance to San Pablo Bay, which connects at its south end to San Francisco Bay, although the entire group of interconnected bays is often referred to as “San Francisco Bay”.
The San Francisco Bay Area has the 2nd most Fortune 500 Companies in the United States, and is known for its natural beauty, liberal politics, entrepreneurship, and diversity.
San Francisco Bay is located in the U.S. state of California, surrounded by a contiguous region known as the San Francisco Bay Area (often simply "the Bay Area"), dominated by the large cities
Francisco, Oakland, and
Jose. The waterway entrance to San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean is called Golden Gate. Across the strait spans the Golden Gate Bridge.
The San Francisco Bay Area, commonly known as the Bay Area, is a metropolitan region that surrounds the
San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California. The region encompasses metropolitan areas such as San Francisco-Oakland (12th largest in the country), San Jose (31st largest in the country), along with smaller urban and rural areas. Overall, the Bay Area consists of nine counties, 101 cities, and 7,000 square
miles. The nine counties are Alameda,
Clara, Solano, and
The United States Census Bureau considers the Bay Area a Combined Statistical Area (CSA) with approximately 7.4 million people, including the nine counties bordering San Francisco Bay as well as Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties, making it the sixth largest CSA in the United
States. The Bay Area hosts many cities, towns, military bases, airports, and associated regional, state, and national parks, connected by a massive network of roads, highways, railroads, bridges, tunnels and commuter rail. The combined urban area of
San Jose and
San Francisco is the 50th largest urban area in the world.
The Bay Area is anchored by three major cities. San Francisco
is the cultural and financial center of the metropolitan area and Northern California and is famous for its iconic skyline, steep hills, cable cars and historic streetcars,
Wharf, and the Golden Gate Bridge. It has the sixth-highest population density of any city over 500,000 people in North
America. The largest city in the Bay Area in terms of both land area and population is
Jose, which is located in the South Bay and is part of the world renowned technology hub known as Silicon Valley.
Oakland, the third most populous city, is a central hub for the East Bay, major industrial center and contains the Port of
Oakland, the fifth busiest container port in the United States. The region's northern counties encompass California's famous Wine Country, home to hundreds of vineyards and wineries while the region's Pacific Ocean coastline hosts numerous beaches.
The San Francisco Bay Area is renowned for its natural beauty, liberal politics, affluence, diversity, and new age reputation.
In 1934, Alcatraz became the infamous maximum security prison for members of organized crime and high-risk convicts. Famous island residents have included “Machine Gun” Kelly, Al Capone and Robert “Birdman” Stroud.