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San Francisco Bay Area Region Profile

This breath-taking region lies on the western coast of Northern California at the state’s distinctive bend along the coast. It’s framed by an unforgettable gateway — the iconic Golden Gate Bridge — spanning the mouth of San Francisco Bay. Explore diverse cities, picturesque hamlets, family-friendly beaches, coastal parklands and wine country, including Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley, one-and-a-half hours' north of San Francisco.


  • The Bay Area Discovery Museum prides itself on its scientific credentials, with its STEM exhibits (science, technology, engineering and maths) that are 'enquiry-driven' and backed by research.
  • California Wine Country, including the world-famous Napa Valley Wine Country and Sonoma Wine Country, reigns as a wine connoisseur’s paradise in a land of elegant tasting rooms, expansive vineyards, quaint towns and picturesque lodgings.
  • Adjacent to iconic surfing spots is the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, lined with classic rollercoasters, arcade games, fair food and a historic carousel.
  • Experience world-class dining in San Francisco, the city with the most three Michelin-starred restaurants in all of America.


There are 10 counties in the San Francisco Bay Area region of California:
  • Alameda County
  • Contra Costa County
  • Marin County
  • Napa County
  • San Francisco County


  • San Mateo County
  • Santa Clara County
  • Santa Cruz County
  • Solano County
  • Sonoma County

Major cities

The San Francisco Bay Area region is moderately to densely populated, with the cities of San Francisco and San Jose’s populations surpassing more than 1 million people.
  • Alameda
  • Benicia
  • Berkeley
  • Calistoga
  • Concord
  • Fremont
  • Half Moon Bay
  • Livermore
  • Marin
  • Napa
  • Oakland
  • Pleasant Hill
  • Pleasanton
  • Richmond
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Santa Clara
  • Santa Cruz
  • Santa Rosa
  • Sausalito
  • Sonoma
  • Tiburon
  • Walnut Creek
  • Yountville

Major attractions

The Bay Area is home to iconic San Francisco, world-famous wine country in Napa and Sonoma, waterfront towns, dramatic beaches and tech-savvy Silicon Valley.

  • Alcatraz: The infamous Alcatraz Island once served as a prison for the most notorious of criminals and is now a popular tourist attraction accessible by ferry
  • Bodega Bay: Home to dramatic beaches and fresh seafood restaurants, this town offers up an ideal coastal getaway for visitors
  • Golden Gate Bridge: With its towers soaring 746 feet into the sky and its span arcing across the mouth of San Francisco Bay, it’s no surprise that visitors from around the world come to walk or ride across this iconic bridge
  • Lands End Lookout (the Sutro Baths): Once a large, privately owned public saltwater swimming pool, the Sutro Baths are now a site for unique photography and fascinating walks
  • Muir Woods National Monument: The last stand of uncut old-growth coastal redwoods in the Bay Area is protected here and is recognised as one of California’s most unforgettable must-sees
  • Palace of Fine Arts: This monumental structure in San Francisco, featuring beautiful domes and detailed statues, was originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition
  • Santa Cruz Surfing Museum: Learn about the history of California surfing, including the story of three Hawaiian princes carving boards out of redwood, in this intimate museum located in the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse
  • Silicon Valley: In the tech-centre of California, get inspired by your proximity to the Google headquarters, take a tour of Stanford University or visit the exciting Tech Museum of Innovation
  • Northern California Wine Country: From the world-famous Napa and Sonoma wineries to Oakland’s Urban Wine Trail, visitors can find an abundance of incredible tastings in the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Winchester Mystery House: This historic mansion in San Jose is known for its extravagant maze of Victorian craftsmanship comprising 160 rooms, staircases that lead nowhere and many other baffling paradoxes



The San Francisco Bay Area region has a Mediterranean climate characteristic of California's coast, with moist mild winters and dry summers. Visitors will often experience fog cover in the early mornings.









California Welcome Centers

The San Francisco Bay Area region has two California Welcome Centers:

Related San Francisco Bay Area Images & Video

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