Financial District

During the latter half of the 19th century, when San Francisco was a brawling, extravagant gold-rush town, today's Financial District (FiDi, for short) was underwater. Yerba Buena Cove reached all the way up to Montgomery Street, and what’s now Jackson Square was the heart of the Barbary Coast, bordering some of the roughest wharves in the world. These days, Jackson Square is a genteel and upscale neighborhood wedged between North Beach and the Financial District, but buried below Montgomery Street lie remnants of those wild days: more than 100 ships abandoned by frantic crews and passengers caught up in gold fever rest under the foundations of buildings here.

The Financial District of the 21st century is a decidedly less exciting affair: it's all office towers with mazes of cubicles now. When the sun sets, this quarter empties out fast. The few sights here will appeal mainly to gold-rush history enthusiasts; others can spend time elsewhere.

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