San Francisco has been a popular location for Greeks for quite some time now, and we've established a thriving community in the bay city. So, whether you're visiting San Francisco or are new in town, there is plenty to see and do. Let's take a look at the Greek side of life in San Francisco.
For first time visitors, you should stop by 'The First Holy Trinity Church.' The building still features the original Greek stained glass windows from the time the building was erected. Today, the building represents the start of the Greek community in the area and more than a century of the Orthodox Christian faith. If you pay a visit to the San Francisco City Hall, you will see a statue of one of San Francisco's mayors, George Christopher. He was the first Greek mayor of the city and during his time as mayor, he made an impact on the Greek community and the city as a whole. In 1988, San Francisco, saw the election of its second Greek mayor, Art Agnos. There is also the Hellenic Heritage Institute in San Jose, an historic institute which was founded by Marina Moustakas. It has done a great job of preserving Greek culture and offers a range of programs for visitors.
The streets of San Francisco are known for their beautiful, old Victorian style houses which line the streets. Hayes Street hill is one such area, which attracts photographers looking to get a great shot of these buildings and the surrounding area. This part of the street with its remarkably restored houses is linked to history of Greeks in San Francisco. At the very corner of Hayes and pierce streets, stands a tall, white building, which was the initial site of Saint Sophia Greek orthodox Cathedral dating back to the early 1900's.
Once you're a local, you'll find that many of the Greek orthodox churches have their own Greek language programs, which are popular amongst families in the community. If, however, you would prefer to learn at a language institution, there are several in the bay area. The Fanari Academy of Greek Education, in Sunnydale, offers programs for both children and adults, where you can learn not only the language but other topics as well. If you are interested in literature, classical or modern Greek history, perhaps you'd enjoy some of their courses. Grammar and composition classes are also available, as are classes offering traditional folk songs and Greek art.
For those of you are really into the arts, there is a Greek Film Festival held in San Francisco each year in May. The festival is sponsored by Greek organizations and has been found to be very popular among the local Greeks.
There are also a few groups within the community who meet up regularly. You can socialize and get to meet other Greeks in your area, as they usually meet in local coffee houses. There are also many Greek restaurants around the bay area which are easy to spot and are frequented by both locals and tourists.