Flag Spotting Around San Francisco

Ana Picazo - San Francisco Bay Area
September 11, 2017

Children love seeing flags hoisted up on flagpoles. The sight of Old Glory fluttering in the breeze is enough to get them ooh-ing and ahh-ing and dancing along with the flag! You'll find plenty of American Flags and California state flags around the Bay Area, flying from auto dealerships, the odd house of two, and schoolyards. But if you want to show your little one something other than the Stars and Stripes, your best bet is San Francisco.

Here are places around San Francisco where you'll find a variety of interesting and unique flags:

The Westin St. Francis 

The Westin St. Francis is one of San Francisco's Grande Old Dames. It's the second oldest hotel in the city, and it has seen more than its share of celebrities and foreign dignitaries over the years. A large American flag always flies from one of the two balconies overlooking the hotel's main entrance on Powell Street. If a flag from another nation is flying from the second balcony, it means a foreign dignitary from that country is staying at the hotel.

Foreign Consulates 

There are almost three dozen foreign consulates in San Francisco, and each one has its national flag flying outside the building they are located in. Over half are located within a mile of each other, around Union Square, Market Street, and the financial district. Search for consulates on Google, print out a map of the results, and drive around to see if you can spot flags from Australia, Barbados, Brazil, Ecuador, France, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Romania, Singapore, Sweden, Tonga, Ukraine, and Uruguay.

Pier 39 

Even a lost tourist won't be able to miss Pier 39. Four giant flagpoles mark the entrance to this popular tourist attraction. Two Pier 39 flags are raised on each pole, along with several brightly colored streamers. Since there's almost always a breeze, visitors are treated to a riot of color fluttering in the wind.

The Castro 

The Castro district is one of the most well known gay neighborhoods in the country and one of the most prominent symbols of the gay rights movement, a fact that is celebrated throughout the neighborhood in the form of the rainbow flag. A symbol of the gay community's diversity, inclusion and pride, the flag is flown on street lights, stores and apartments to celebrate LGBT diversity and pride. The biggest flag in the district by far is located at the Jane Warner Plaza on the corner of Castro and Market. A 70-foot flagpole flies a huge rainbow flag that can be seen for miles!    

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