Where Is San Francisco? See Its Map Location and State

San Francisco is picturesque when the spring cherry blossoms are in bloom.
© iStock.com/SerrNovik

Written by Patrick MacFarland

Updated: September 28, 2023

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San Francisco is one of the most well-known cities in the United States, and probably even the world. Everyone in the world can point to the Golden Gate Bridge and know where it is. Although only about 800,000 people are living in the city, San Francisco has become very famous to the rest of the world. The city has been made famous because of its iconic landmarks, its fascinating history, and the role Hollywood has played in putting San Francisco on the map.

Many people know about San Francisco and what it is known for, but do people know where it is? Do people know how far it is away from other major cities in California? If you are wondering where San Francisco is, let’s take a look at where it is on the California map. We’ll also explore San Francisco’s geography, what the city is known for, the climate in the city, and other facts about Frisco.

Where is San Francisco Located on the Map?

San Francisco is a city in the state of California, which is a state in the Southwest United States. The city is roughly in the northwestern part of the state, right next to the Pacific Ocean. It sits on the northern part of the San Francisco Peninsula and its surrounding waters are the San Francisco Bay.

But where is San Francisco on the map? Let’s take a look below.

How Far Is San Francisco from Other Major Cities in California?

San Francisco is more in the northwest of the state of California, however, it is easily accessible to other major cities in the state and surrounding states. Let’s take a look at how far San Francisco is from other cities.

CityPopulationDistance from San Francisco
Los Angeles, California3.8 million381.9 miles
San Diego, California1.3 million502 miles
San Jose, California971,23347.6 miles
Long Beach, California451,307405.2 miles
Reno, Nevada268,851219 miles
Las Vegas, Nevada646,790562 miles
Portland, Oregon641,162634.7 miles
Irvine, California313,685426.5 miles
Sacramento, California528,00187.9 miles
Bakersfield, California410,647283.1 miles

Is San Francisco a Good Place to Live?

View of a residential district of San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge and the bay in background at sunset

The Spanish named the city Yerba Buena before it was changed to San Francisco in 1847.

©AlbertPego/iStock via Getty Images

San Francisco’s climate makes it a desirable place to live for many people. The median age in San Francisco is also 38 years, which makes it a young city. That’s perfect for millennials and Gen Zers. There are many parks in San Francisco and its surrounding areas. San Franciscans can go on hikes and enjoy the city and region’s biodiversity. The city is also hilly and slopey, which is quite difficult to maneuver with a car, but they are part of its charm. There are famous landmarks, monuments, and a rich, cultural diversity. For those who love beaches, there are several you can explore.

With all good things, however, there are also cons. San Francisco is an expensive city to live in, and one of the most expensive in the entire nation. Because of its popularity, everything has been inflated. The city also has a housing and homelessness problem. There are traffic problems in the city, but luckily it has a pretty developed public transportation system. If you are visiting the city, you can choose to use a car or use public transit.

What Is the Climate in San Francisco?

A view of the conservatory of flowers in San Francisco

People may think Central Park is bigger, but in actuality, Golden Gate Park is more enormous.

©coleong/iStock via Getty Images

San Francisco has a Mediterranean climate, but it usually has cool summers and its winters aren’t that cold, thankfully. Because of this, many people flock to the Bay Area as an ideal place to live. One weather phenomenon unique to the area is its fog, colloquially called Karl. The Pacific Ocean is a leading contributor to why it’s so foggy in the city. Unfortunately, climate change has affected the commonness of fog in recent years.

In terms of record temperatures, San Francisco’s hottest temperature was 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius) on September 1, 2017. The city’s coldest temperature was 27 degrees Fahrenheit (-2 degrees Celsius) on December 11, 1932.

San Francisco is not immune to natural disasters. The city is extremely prone to earthquakes. Because there isn’t much nature, unless you go to surrounding regions outside the city, there isn’t much of a risk of wildfires. One such natural disaster was the Great Earthquake of 1906. The earthquake affected the city’s gas lines and fires popped all over the city, nearly destroying it completely and becoming the country’s deadliest earthquake.

The Geography of San Francisco

San Francisco’s elevation varies to where you are in the city, but it’s roughly 52 feet above sea level. The area, however, is very hilly with a lot of slopes throughout. Twin Peaks and Mount Davidson are the city’s highest hills. The city known as Frisco is only 46.9 square miles, which is quite small for an American city. 

What Is San Francisco Most Known For?

Dragon’s Gate, entrance to Chinatown San Francisco

There is a large Chinese community in the city and you may not believe it, but the Chinese fortune cookie was invented here.

©Ralph Navarro/iStock via Getty Images

The city known as San Fran is arguably one of the most famous cities in the world. It’s known for its amazing and vibrant Chinatown, its trolleys, and its historical landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Frisco, a colloquial nickname for the city, is also very near Napa Valley, California’s wine-growing region.

The city is also known for enacting some of the most progressive policies in the nation. Frisco is ahead in many things politically and has been described as a mini European enclave within the United States.

In terms of leisure and fun, Golden Gate Park, one of the largest city parks in the country, grants you access to nature, relaxation, and a place to exercise. There are also great beaches, tons of restaurants, cafés, and bars to go out to with friends and family.

Facts About SF

Classic panoramic view of famous Golden Gate Bridge seen from scenic Baker Beach in beautiful golden evening light on a sunny day with blue sky and clouds in summer, San Francisco, California, USA

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay politician in California and served on the city’s Board of Supervisors from January 1978 until he was assassinated in November 1978.


  • Population: 808,437
  • Mayor: London Breed
  • Board of Supervisors President: Aaron Peskin
  • City animal: Wild parrot
  • Incorporated: April 15, 1850


San Francisco is truly a majestic city. Its 800,000 people are diverse in many ways and bring so much to the city to make it special. Sure, the city may have some problems and it may have its critics, but at the end of the day, it’s California’s golden city and one of the best places to live in the country. The city offers so much to its residents and tourists alike.

The tech industry has revolutionized the city and its surrounding areas, along with the state, which positioned California as a worldwide powerhouse. San Francisco has been a leader in progressive politics, being one of the first cities in the nation to issue same-sex marriage licenses in 2004 when Gavin Newsom was its Mayor.

Apart from being an influential city, San Fran also has good weather. It may be foggy and sometimes it rains, but its year-round weather is temperate and Mediterranean. This in turn makes it desirable to so many people. That’s why the rents are so high and home prices are soaring every day. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has a full plate in addressing many issues. 

At the end of the day, San Fran is still an amazing city full of opportunities for its many residents. San Francisco is still a place full of historical and cultural wonders for visitors of all ages. San Francisco, the city that has the Golden Gate Bridge and is known as Frisco, after all, is a golden city.

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About the Author

Patrick Macfarland is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel, geography, and history. Patrick has been writing for more than 10 years. In the past, he has been a teacher and a political candidate. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from SDSU and a Master's Degree in European Union Studies from CIFE. From San Diego, California, Patrick loves to travel and try new recipes to cook.

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