The city that houses the world's largest man-made park (Golden Gate Park) and the "world's crookedest street" (Lombard Street) started out as a small mission and presidio on the San Francisco Bay. Established by 18th-century Spanish settlers, the area became a part of Mexican territory when Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821. The mall trading settlement that was established became known as Yerba Buena, named for the mint-like perennial plant that grew abundantly in that area. The US acquired California in 1846 and changed the name of the town to San Francisco on this date in 1847.
"If you're alive, you can't be bored in San Francisco. If you're not alive, San Francisco will bring you to life." — William Saroyan