San Francisco, also known as the City by the Bay, is one of the top travel destinations in the United States. Famous for bridges, fog, Lombard Street, Painted Ladies, Alcatraz, and the Haight Ashbury, the city has plenty of visually appealing tourist offerings.
While San Francisco’s skyline isn’t skyscraper heavy like New York City or other large metropolitan areas, it’s full of beautiful, iconic landmarks. Here are San Francisco’s five best skyline structures, including one megaproject.
1. Golden Gate Bridge
• The Golden Gate Bridge was designed by Chicago-based engineer Joseph Strauss and his team. It cost $35.5 million to build.
• The bridge is 1.7 miles long and 90 feet wide. Construction started in 1933 and was opened to the public in 1937. They had to excavate 3.25 million cubic feet of dirt to build the bridge’s 12-story-tall anchorages.
• Painted “International Orange,” the Golden Gate Bridge is believed to be the most photographed bridge in the world and was named one of the seven civil engineering wonders of the United States by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
2. Coit Tower
• Coit Tower is named after Lillie Hitchcock Coit, a patron of the city’s firefighters. When Coit died in 1929, she left one-third of her fortune to be used to build a tower dedicated to volunteer firefighters who lost their lives in San Francisco’s five fires.
• Coit Tower was designed by the firm of Arthur Brown, Jr., the same architect that designed San Francisco’s City Hall.
• The tower sits on Telegraph Hill, is 210 feet tall, and provides 360-degree views of the city and bay.
3. Transamerica Pyramid
• The Transamerica Pyramid was designed by William Pereira & Associates. The pyramid shape was chosen to allow natural light and fresh air to filter down to the streets below.
• At 48 stories and 853-feet-high, the Transamerica Pyramid was the tallest building in San Francisco until the completion of the Salesforce Tower. It’s the 35th-tallest building in the United States.
• It’s no longer the headquarters of Transamerica Corp., but the company still occupies a small portion of the building. Its current headquarters is in Baltimore, Maryland.
4. Sutro Tower
• Sutro Tower is named after Mount Sutro, the hill it sits on. It was originally the site of a smaller tower, but in the 1960s, residents starting complaining about poor reception.
• In 1971, construction began on a new 977-feet-high tower that was 68% higher than the original one. It was designed and built by Kline Towers and contains 15 million pounds of cement and 3.5 million pounds of steel.
• Today, Sutro Tower broadcasts 13 local television stations and three FM radio stations.
5. Salesforce Tower
• The 61-story tower is 1,070-feet-tall, making it the second-tallest building west of the Mississippi River, behind only Wilshire Grand Center in Los Angeles. The Salesforce Tower is only 7 feet shorter than the Eiffel Tower.
• The “Ohana Floor,” the 61st floor of Salesforce Tower, is open to Bay Area community groups and other national and international charitable and NGO organizations.
Honorable mention — Karl the Fog
Fog is as much a part of San Francisco as any building, bridge, or park, and sometimes is the only thing visible in the skyline. In 2010, a Twitter account was created about San Francisco’s fog. It was named Karl the Fog as a reference to the giant in the movie “Big Fish.”