San Francisco Has Lots to Offer for the Holidays

"Good Morning America" weather anchor Sam Champion visited San Francisco as part of the annual "GMA Lights Up America" series.

The historic city has a lot to offer.

San Francisco: City of Art, Culture and History

VIDEO: Diane unveils the second window which features the Golden Gate Bridge.
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The Golden Gate Bridge. Historic cable cars. Fisherman's Wharf. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The San Francisco Zoo. These destinations all evoke the essence of the metropolis that's known as the City by the Bay.

Situated on California's northern coast, San Francisco offers history, art and architecture, culture, spectacular vistas, ethnic diversity and culinary delights.

The settlement that eventually became San Francisco was established in 1776 and was named after Saint Francis of Assisi. In the 1800s, gold was discovered near the city. Gold seekers flooded the area, and the population soon exploded.

In 1906, a major earthquake and subsequent fire leveled most of the San Francisco, leaving many residents homeless. The city was quickly rebuilt, but it had been irrevocably changed.

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San Francisco has weathered financial upheavals, urban construction and other natural disasters, but the city has thrived, making a name for itself as a bastian of culture and art, and as the center of the gay rights movement in America.

Today, San Francisco's population is an estimated 800,000 people, which makes the city the 12th most populated in the United States.

The City by the Bay is a major banking center, and a mecca for domestic and international tourists who flock to the city for its diversity of attractions that include festivals, eclectic neighborhoods, panoramic views, performing arts and a plethora of outdoor recreational activities.

Many Holiday Activities to be Found in City by the Bay

Holidays are a special time in San Francisco, and visitors and residents alike have a wealth of options for marking the season.

A few of the timeless San Francisco holiday traditions include holiday lightings, in which trees and buildings are outlined in blazing lights for a dazzling seasonal light show.

Notable lighting events are at the Golden Gate Park, Bayview Opera House, the Presidio national park, as well as the Union Street Fantasy of Lights, the Holiday Boat Parade at Fisherman's Wharf, which features a flotilla of festooned boats on the waterfront, and the Santa Cruz holiday light train.

Visitors can also check out a raft of outdoor activities, including ice skating at the Yerba Buena garden or at the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square, or taking in a leisurely stroll at the Victorian Home Walk.

The longest musical revue in the nation, 'Beach Blanket Babylon', is staging special performances for the holidays. The show is marking its 35th anniversary.

'Beach Blanket Babylon' is among numerous performing arts productions of the season. Other productions include 'Wicked', 'Jubilee' and 'Christmas with Walt Disney.'

To learn more about San Francisco and its holiday calendar, visit www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com or click HERE.

Click here to return to the "Good Morning America" Web site.

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