The San Francisco experience is not an encounter you can enjoy in an hour or a day or at a particular time or location. It is a composite of innumerable experiences over long periods of time in the entire region around the bay. San Francisco as a social and cultural entity long ago spilled over the political boundaries that were drawn up a century ago for another era. Nearly one-third of the people who during the day work and shop within the city limits go home at night beyond the bay or down the Peninsula. Nearly all of the tourists and visitors who come to the city also visit the far shores. Even the relatively few who do not venture across the bridges experience something of the far shores when they gaze across the bay from Nob Hill or Russian Hill or through the big windows at the Top of the Mark or the Crown Room of the Fairmont.
—from the Preface
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