In addition to Hollywood and the rest of LA, San Francisco is one of the most popular tourist destinations in California and the whole of the United States. It offers many unique sights and attractions, including its world-famous Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and its cable car system.
Tourists visiting the city for the first time will also often pay a visit to Golden Gate Park, drive down the legendary twisting Lombard Street, and admire the views from Dolores Park. SF is a center for arts and culture, so many take advantage of its many museums and galleries, as well as seek out its beautiful colored stairways, each with its own unique designs.
Of course, San Francisco is the home of America’s tech sector, with many global giants locating their headquarters in Silicon Valley. This has helped to make the city a beacon of modernity that leads the rest of the world into the future.
But San Francisco is much more than that. It’s a city built on a rich history, much of which is just waiting to be explored by interested visitors. So, if you enjoy learning about the past and want to visit The Golden City, then here are some sites you need to visit.
Site of the Liberty Bell Slot Machine – 406 Market Street
Today, slot games are enjoyed by players right around the world. In addition to the huge banks of one-armed bandits found just over the border in Las Vegas casinos, they’re also accessible to millions of people over the internet.
Online casinos have built huge catalogs of casino games, including hundreds of different slots. Using modern technologies, the creators of these games have augmented them with bonus features, multiple paylines, and eye-catching animations. They’ve also created a very diverse range of titles that cover themes from the world’s oceans to Ancient Egypt.
However, these modern slot games wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for a German-born inventor who made San Francisco his home. Charles Fey was the creator of the first-ever automatic slot machine, a mechanical device that he named the Liberty Bell.
Today, a memorial plaque can be found at 406 Market Street. It was on this site that Fey built the world-changing Liberty Bell in his workshop.
Fort Point – Underneath the Golden Gate Bridge
We all recognize the Golden Gate Bridge. After all, it’s photographed by almost every tourist that visits San Francisco. In addition to its historical significance, it’s both a work of art and a marvel of engineering, so the immense interest in the bridge is understandable.
But underneath the Golden Gate Bridge sits Fort Point, a National Historic Site operated by the National Park Service. It was constructed before the bridge and has stood on the site since 1853. For almost 100 years, its job was to protect San Francisco from foreign attacks. Although no such incidents occurred, it was a serious concern at the time of its inception due to the Gold Rush taking place in the area.
When plans to build the Golden Gate Bridge were put forward in the 1930s, Fort Point was earmarked for demolition. However, the Chief Engineer altered the designs so that an arch would allow the two marvels to coexist, just as they do today.
The Fairmont San Francisco – 950 Mason Street
The Fairmont San Francisco is a luxury hotel that has earned its place in the city’s history for several reasons. Firstly, although it hadn’t actually opened at that time, it was one of few structures left standing after the 1906 earthquake in the city.
The hotel was also the first in the United States to offer concierge services to its customers. The concept was pioneered by Tom Wolfe, an American who was trained in hospitality while in Europe. The concept was alien to Americans so, in the early years, Wolfe spent a lot of his time explaining his role to customers, though the concept soon caught on.
But perhaps the most monumental moment in the Fairmont’s history was when it held the first-ever United Nations meeting in 1945. It was in the hotel’s Garden Room that the United Nations Charter, the international treaty that founded the organization, was finalized. Visitors to the Fairmont today can find a plaque commemorating this special piece of history.