Portal:San Francisco Bay Area

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The San Francisco Bay Area Portal

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The San Francisco Bay Area, commonly known as the Bay Area, is a populated region that surrounds the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California, United States. The region encompasses the major cities and metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, along with smaller urban and rural areas. The Bay Area's nine counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. Home to approximately 7.44 million people, the nine-county Bay Area contains many cities, towns, airports, and associated regional, state, and national parks, connected by a network of roads, highways, railroads, bridges, tunnels and commuter rail. The combined urban area of San Francisco and San Jose is the second largest in California (after the Greater Los Angeles area), the fifth largest in the United States, and the 56th largest urban area in the world.

The United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB) does not use the nine-county definition of the San Francisco Bay Area. The OMB has designated a more extensive 12-county Combined Statistical Area (CSA) titled the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area which also includes the three counties of San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, and San Benito that do not border San Francisco Bay, but are economically tied to the nine counties that do.

The San Francisco Bay Area is known for its natural beauty, liberal politics, entrepreneurship, and diversity. The area has high incomes, performing above the state median household income in the 2010 census; it includes the five highest California counties by per capita income and two of the top 25 wealthiest counties in the United States. Based on a 2013 population report from the California Department of Finance, the Bay Area is the only region in California where the rate of people migrating in from other areas in the United States is greater than the rate of those leaving the region, led by Alameda and Contra Costa counties. (more...)

Selected article

Pluvialis squatarola in winter plumage at Richardson Bay.jpg

The San Francisco Estuary and delta represents a highly altered ecosystem. The region has been heavily re-engineered to accommodate the needs of water delivery, shipping, agriculture, and most recently, suburban development. These needs have wrought direct changes in the movement of water and the nature of the landscape, and indirect changes have arisen from the introduction of non-native species. New species have altered the architecture of the food web as surely as levees have altered the landscape of islands and channels that form the complex system known as the Delta. (more...)

Selected biography

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Joseph Clifford "Joe" Montana, Jr. (born June 11, 1956), nicknamed Joe Cool and The Comeback Kid, is a retired professional American football player, a hall of fame quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs. After winning a college national championship at Notre Dame, Montana started his NFL career in 1979 with San Francisco, where he played for the next 14 seasons. Traded before the 1993 season, he spent his final two years in the league with the Kansas City Chiefs. While a member of the 49ers, Montana started and won four Super Bowls and three Super Bowl Most Valuable Player awards. Montana was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. in 2000, his first year of eligibility. Montana is the only player to have been named Super Bowl MVP three times. (more...)

Selected city

Cali Mill Plaza
Cupertino /ˌkpərˈtn/ is a city in Santa Clara County, California in the United States, directly west of San Jose on the western edge of the Santa Clara Valley with portions extending into the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. An affluent city, Cupertino is the 11th wealthiest city with a population over 50,000 in the United States with an estimated per-capita income of $51,965 and a median household income exceeding $160,000. The population was 58,302 at the 2010 census. Forbes ranked it as one of the most educated small towns. It is perhaps best known as being the home town of Apple Inc.'s corporate headquarters.

Money's Best Places to Live, America's best small towns, ranked Cupertino as #27 in 2012, the 2nd highest in California. It was also named as the 7th happiest suburb in the United States, ranking highly in the Income, Safety, Marriage, and Education categories. (more...)

Selected image

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AT&T Park, San Francisco
image credit: Coasttocoast

Recently in the Bay Area

Apple Watch
USS Independence in the San Francisco Bay
Tesla's Powerwall
Stephen Curry in 2015
Next Thing Co. logo
Wragg Fire

The Bay Area by year

Phoebe Hearst

Selected historical image

Oakland, California. High School Youth. Two Negro youngsters look over the shoulders of a couple of fortunate enough... - NARA - 532226.tif
Original file information from NARA: "Oakland, California. High School Youth. Two Negro youngsters look over the shoulders of a couple of fortunate enough to own a model plane. The white boys can hope to become aviators." Photograph by Rondal Partridge (1940)

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Selected periodic event

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Bay to Breakers is an annual footrace in San Francisco on the third Sunday of May. The name reflects the fact that the race starts at the The Embarcadero adjacent to San Francisco Bay and finishes at the Great Highway adjacent to Ocean Beach and its "breaking waves". It is well known for many participants wearing costumes, and a few engaging in public nudity. The event was officially the world's largest footrace from 1986 (with 110,000 participants) until it was surpassed in 2010 by City2Surf in Sydney, Australia.


~ George Sterling, "The Cool, Grey City of Love" in The San Francisco Bulletin, vol. 133, no. 31 (11 December 1920), p. 1

Selected multimedia file

Conversation of air traffic controllers and pilots at San Francisco International Airport (KSFO) during the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash landing

Bay Area regions, geographic features and protected areas

Things you can do


GoldenGateBridge-001.jpg You are invited to participate in the San Francisco Bay Area task force, a task force dedicated to developing and improving articles about the San Francisco Bay Area.

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San Francisco Bay Area categories

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