San Francisco is home to a wide range of industries. It is the base for some of the nation’s largest banks, numerous international financial institutions, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Pacific Exchange, making the city a significant center for world commerce. A number of Fortune 500 companies are located in the metro, including those in financial services (Charles Schwab Corp.), banking (Wells Fargo & Co.), technology (Oracle) and retail (Gap Inc.). The city is also home to the new headquarters of Twitter of social media fame.
Tourism remains a vital driver of the local economy, with a well-developed infrastructure for tourists and conventioneers alike. Over 16 million people visit San Francisco, bringing an additional $8.5 billion in revenue to the region every year. Also, nearly 200,000 passengers annually sail on cruises from the San Francisco port.
San Francisco has been positioning itself as a biotechnology and biomedical hub and research center. The Mission Bay campus of UCSF fosters a budding industry and serves as headquarters of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
When it comes to venture capital, San Francisco has one of the largest investment communities in the United States. In addition, research sponsored by government and private sectors brings billions of dollars to the region’s economy each year.
The city of San Francisco accounts for all of San Francisco County, an area that encompasses just 49 square miles and is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the San Francisco Bay to the north and east. Several islands including Alcatraz and Treasure Island are part of the city. Marin County is located to the north and San Mateo County to the south of San Francisco. The topography of the region is characterized by a multitude of hills. There are more than 50 hills in the city alone.
The San Francisco metro, with a population of 1.8 million, contains over 60 municipalities within three counties. Only seven cities, however, have populations exceeding 50,000 residents. The city of San Francisco is the largest, with 820,000 inhabitants, followed by Daly City and San Mateo.