San Francisco's Financial District
San Francisco’s Financial District, a triangular section of prime real estate, crammed with skyscrapers (the ones that dominate the city’s skyline) housing major banks and financial institutions, lies immediately to the north of Market Street, or south of Chinatown. This is in many ways the financial hub of the West Coast, and also one of the city’s most historic quarters that rose from the devastation of the 1906 earthquake to flourish anew.
Montgomery and California Streets
Montgomery Street is the heart of the district, dubbed “Wall Street of the West.” A majority of the city’s financial powerhouses are located here, creating a glass, steel and concrete skyscraper-lined canyon. Here you’ll find some of the city’s most recognizable buildings, among them the 48- story Transamerica Pyramid which has an observation deck with bird’s-eye views of the city; the 52-story Bank of America Center, also with panoramic views from its top- floor cocktail lounge; and the 31-story, Gothic Revival Russ Building, one of the district’s oldest “towers,” dating from 1907. Also try to visit the Wells Fargo History Museum, housed in Wells Fargo’s corporate headquarters and filled with displays and artifacts tracing the bank’s history from the Gold Rush days. On California Street, which runs perpendicular to Montgomery Street, are the 14-story, turn-of-the-century Merchants Exchange Building, now housing maritime exhibits; the historic Bank of California building, dating from 1907, where you can visit the Museum of Money of the American West; the California Center, comprised of a pair of futuristic, angular towers, linked by a glass sky- bridge; and a glass silo at 101 California Street, which features a three-story glass atrium.
Jackson Square and Embarcadero Center
Jackson Square, situated along Jackson Street between Montgomery and Sansome streets, is perhaps the city’s oldest commercial neighborhood, which once formed the heart of the lawless Barbary Coast and is now home to upscale stores and galleries and design and law firms. The Embarcadero Center, at the east end of the district, approached from Davis Street, is the largest office and commercial complex in the city, consisting of four monolithic office towers that also house a three-level shopping center. One Embarcadero Center has a bonus: a SkyDeck on the 41st floor with superb views of the Financial District and San Francisco Bay.
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