Historic downtown San Francisco is in the northeast quadrant of the city, bounded by Market Street to the south. This is where the Financial District is centered, with Union Square, the main shopping and hotel district, close by. Trams take residents and tourists up steep slopes to the top of Nob Hill, once home to the city’s moguls, and down to Fisherman’s Wharf, a popular tourist area in the city. Also in this quadrant is Russian Hill – a residential neighborhood where the famous Lombard Street is located -, North Beach- the city’s “little Italy” – and Telegraph Hill, which features the Coit Tower.. Nearby is San Francisco’s Chinatown. The Tenderloin neighborhood is often described as the worst neighborhood in the city by tourist guides.
The Mission district was populated in the 19th century by Californios (people from California before it was part of the United States) and working-class immigrants from Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Scandinavia. In the 1910s, a wave of immigrants from Central America settled in this neighborhood and, in the 1950s, immigrants from Mexico began to predominate. In recent years, rapid gentrification has been experienced mainly along the Calle Valencia corridor, which is strongly associated with the contemporary hipster subculture. Haight-Ashbury, popularly associated with 1960 shippie culture, later became home to expensive boutiques and some controversial chain stores, although it still retains some of its bohemian character. Historically known as the Eureka Valley, the area now called Castro is the center of gay life in the city.
The South of Market, once filled with the decaying remnants of San Francisco’s industrial past, has undergone a major makeover. What was the scene of the dot-com bubble in the late 1990s, began to be full of skyscrapers and condos by 2004. Following the success of nearby South Beach, another neighborhood, Mission Bay, was remodeled, installing a second campus at the University of California at San Francisco. Southwest of Mission Bay is the Potrero Hill neighborhood with wonderful views of downtown San Francisco.
Universities and Institutes
The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is part of the University of California system, but is dedicated exclusively to graduate education in health and biomedical sciences. It is ranked among the top five medical schools in the country, and it also operates UCSF Medical Center, which is ranked among the top 10 hospitals in the United States. The university is a major local employer, second only to city and county government. The Mission Bay campus was opened in 2003, complementing its original facilities in Parnassus Heights. It contains research spaces and facilities to foster the study of biotechnology and the life sciences have doubled the size of UCSF’s research facilities. The University of California Hastings College of the Law, founded at the Civic Center in 1878, is the oldest law school in California and boasts more judges on the state court than any other institution. See topschoolsintheusa for GRE test centers in California.
Founded in 1855, the University of San Francisco, a private Jesuit university located on Lone Mountain, is the oldest institution of higher education in San Francisco and one of the oldest universities west of the Mississippi River. Its curriculum focuses on the liberal arts. The University of Golden Gate, for its part, is a private university formed in 1901and located in the financial district.
It is primarily a graduate institution focused on professional training in law and business, with some smaller degree programs tied to its graduate and professional schools.
With 13,000 students, the Academy of Art University is the nation’s largest art and design institute. Founded in 1871, the San Francisco Art Institute is the oldest art school west of the Mississippi. The San Francisco Conservatory of Music is the only independent music conservatory on the West Coast. It was founded in 1917 and has around 400 students.
The California Culinary Academy, associated with the Le Cordon Bleu program, offers programs in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and hospitality and restaurant management.
Primary school and high school
Public schools are administered by the San Francisco Unified School District, as well as the State Board of Education for some pilot public schools. The Preparatory Lowell, the oldest to the west of the Mississippi, and the smallest Arts School of San Francisco, are two of the specialized schools (school magnet) at the secondary level of the city. Slightly less than 30 percent of the city’s school-age population attends one of San Francisco’s more than 100 private or parochial schools, compared to the rate of 10 percent nationally.
About 40 of those schools are Catholic schools run by the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The largest private school in San Francisco, Cornerstone Academy, is a Christian school.