San Fierro is the second largest city in population and smallest in area in San Andreas, but the most urbanized, and is situated on a peninsula on the western part of the state. South of the city lies the massive Mount Chiliad and the small town of Angel Pine in Whetstone. To the north of the city, across a re-creation of the famous Golden Gate Bridge (Gant Bridge), lies the town of Bayside, and northeast of the city lies the county of Tierra Robada. San Fierro is a moderately sized city with the beautiful San Fierro Bay to the north and The Panopticon to the east. San Fierro is connected to Los Santos and Las Venturas by road, rail and air.
Supposedly of Spanish foundation like San Francisco, Fierro is old Spanish for Hierro (Iron), not a likely name for a saint. The name derives from the motto for the city of San Francisco, "Oro en Paz, Fierro en guerra", Spanish for "Gold in Peace, Iron in War".
There is a sizeable country club complete with a golf course within San Fierro. In addition to this, San Fierro has a district marked by rainbow signs that is meant to emulate San Francisco's famous Castro District, home to a sizeable homosexual population. San Fierro is also home to the football team, the San Fierro 69ers, a double entendre referring to both the San Francisco 49ers and the "69" sexual position. Furthermore, in a crude reference to anal sex, the city's baseball team, the San Fierro Packers, is sponsored by none other than Fierro Fudge.
The city bears visible scars of an earthquake, a likely reference to the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989, 3 years before the game takes place, though dialogue suggests that an earthquake has occurred just recently. The most obvious sign of the intense damage is the crumbled section of freeway lying to the immediate west of Garver Bridge's San Fierro approach, which is an apparent emulation of the damage done to San Francisco's Embarcadero Freeway or even the Cypress Street Viaduct in Oakland California, whose remnants could be seen for years after the earthquake. The freeway section does not seem to have any visible connection to the existing freeway, however. The city's infrastructure and buildings are not visibly damaged from the earthquake, the only such damage being in the Doherty area.
San Fierro commonly experiences rainstorms. These, combined with the frequent late-night and early-morning fog, can make driving and flying difficult because of reduced visibility. To further complicate the city's weather patterns, the Tierra Robada sandstorms occasionally blow into the northeastern parts of San Fierro, making flying near the Garver Bridge and Downtown skyline extremely treacherous. The weather is very similar to that of San Francisco except for sandstorms.
Districts and Places of Interest
Because San Fierro is meant to emulate San Francisco, many of its districts are re-imaginings of real neighborhoods in San Francisco:
- Battery Point - Fort Point
- Gant Bridge - Golden Gate Bridge /US101, SR1
- Garver Bridge - San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge /I-80
- Juniper Hollow - Cow Hollow
- Paradiso - The Presidio
- Esplanade North - Fisherman's Wharf
- Esplanade East - Embarcadero
- Downtown/Financial - Financial District
- Calton Heights - Pacific Heights
- Chinatown - Chinatown
- Juniper Hill - Russian Hill/Nob Hill
- Palisades - Presidio Heights/Panhandle/Sea Cliff
- Santa Flora - Twin Peaks
- City Hall - City Hall/Civic Center
- Queens - The Castro
- Corvin Stadium - Candlestick Park
- King's - Noe Valley (and Pierre Valley)
- Easter Basin - China Basin/Hunters Point
- Doherty - Dogpatch
- Cranberry Station - Caltrain Depot
- Garcia - The Mission/Portrero Hilll
- Hashbury - Haight-Ashbury
- Ocean Flats - Ocean Beach
- Avispa Country Club - Cliff House/Olympic Club
- Missionary Hill - Mount Sutro
- Foster Valley - Foster City/Burlingame/San Mateo
- Easter Bay International Airport - San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
- Sunnyside - Parkside/Sunset (due to a coding error this zone does not appear within the game, instead appearing as part of Ocean Flats)
Highways and Intersections
- San Fierro Highway - Cabrillo Highway/SR-1
- Unnamed Intersection west of Easter Bay Airport - Intersection between US-101 and SR-92
- San Fierro Bypass - Bayshore Freeway/US-101
- Las Venturas Highway - Eastshore Freeway/ I-80
LandmarksAs with every other city in San Andreas, there are emulated landmarks. In San Fierro, these include:
- The Golden Gate Bridge makes an appearance as the Gant Bridge. This bridge links San Fierro and the town of Bayside. The bridge appears to have functioning tollbooths, as evidenced by the fact that cars heading into San Fierro stop at the toll plaza. However, the player is apparently immune to the toll, not having to pay it. Gant Bridge extends over San Fierro Bay, which is a re-creation of San Francisco Bay, and physically separates San Fierro from Bayside and Tierra Robada.
- The San Francisco Bay Bridge makes an appearance as the Garver Bridge. This bridge links San Fierro and Tierra Robada near Las Venturas. Alongside the Garver Bridge is the Kincaid Bridge, which is modelled after the Forth Rail Bridge, which itself sits beside the Forth Road Bridge outside Edinburgh, Scotland. This may also be a reference to the home of Rockstar North, where the original bridges are located. The Forth Road Bridge and the western span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge look remarkably similar.
- The Transamerica Pyramid is re-created as the Big Pointy Building, the base of the building surrounded by somewhat humorous signs. One can travel to the top for a bird's eye view of San Fierro. One parachute (and only one, so exercise caution) is provided, in case players have the urge to jump off.
- Lombard Street, known as the "crookedest street", appears as Windy Windy Windy Windy Street in San Fierro's Calton Heights.
- Fort Point makes an appearance as Battery Point in the game, which sits underneath Gant Bridge. However, the fort has been taken over by the pimp Jizzy B, and is known as Jizzy's Pleasure Domes.
- The Castro district is emulated as "Queens", a tongue-in-cheek reference to the neighborhood as being the heart of San Francisco's gay community.
- San Fierro City Hall, based on the Beaux-Arts styled San Francisco City Hall, is located at the west end of Queens.
- Missionary Hill Radio Tower a replica of Mount Sutro's radio antenna (Sutro Tower) is located atop Missionary Hill, at the south end of San Fierro. An observation area is located nearby, offering a pristine view of the city's southern side.
- Foster Valley, located between Missionary Hill and Easter Bay Airport, may be inspired from planned cities such as Foster City (which may explain the origin of the name as well). The contemporary buildings in the area, as well as a row of identical cylindrical buildings along an artificial lake, mildly resemble Oracle Corporation's World Headquarters at Redwood Shores, Redwood City, which is, coincidentally, also located near Foster City.
- Forth Bridge
- Ferry Building
- Grace Cathedral
- Golden Gate Park
- Fort Mason
- Presidio of San Francisco
- Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption
- San Francisco Opera
- San Francisco cable car system
- Great Highway
- Sutro Tower (on Missionary hill)-Missionary Hill Radio Tower
Although cars are prominent, there are cable cars (trams) that circle San Fierro. Players are, however, unable to ride them, as they are literally unstoppable, and will plow through any obstacle without incurring damage. It is possible for a player equipped with a jetpack to land on top of a tram and ride it, albeit awkwardly.
The Brown Streak Railroad stops at Doherty's Cranberry Station across from Doherty Garage. The Easter Bay Airport is located at the southeast of the city, off Exit 3, the second to last exit, from the Garver Bridge Approach.
StorylineAfter Carl Johnson and The Truth burn down The Truth's weed fields, they flee Flint County via the Mothership and meet up with Cesar Vialpando in San Fierro at the garage he won from Catalina and Claude in a race.
Once there, Carl finds that all is wrong. The garage he won from Catalina is derelict, and he discovers the disturbing truth about the Loco Syndicate, the crime organization responsible for the spread of drugs in Los Santos. The syndicate is run by Mike Toreno, a shady person with a surprising background. T-Bone Mendez, a San Fierro Rifa, serves as the muscle of the organization, along with Ryder, CJ's ex homie from Grove Street, and Jizzy B, the biggest pimp in town. As he is investigating the Loco Syndicate, Carl also discovers that Wu Zi Mu (Woozie) is actually the head of a San Fierro Triad gang, the Mountain Cloud Boys, who are in the midst of a war with the Da Nang Boys, a Vietnamese crime organization.
After many odd jobs and errands for multiple bosses, Carl, Woozie and Cesar decide to take down the Loco Syndicate from the inside. Carl first pays Jizzy a visit, offering Jizzy his services. Jizzy gives Carl some work, during which he meets T-Bone Mendez and Mike Toreno. After being sure that Jizzy didn't suspect him, Carl confronted him at the Pleasure Domes nightclub. A massive shootout was followed by a high-speed car chase, in which Jizzy was killed by Carl. Then, he heads down to Pier 69, and kills T-Bone and Ryder in a massive shootout between Triads, San Fierro Rifa, Ballas, Carl and Cesar. Finally, Woozie informs him that Toreno is getting ready to leave in a helicopter, and Carl shoots him down with a rocket launcher. He then destroys the syndicate's crack lab in Doherty, ending the Loco Syndicate once and for all.
Carl then receives a mysterious call from a "friend" who claims knowledge of Sweet's whereabouts, prompting him to head out to the desert, to find none other than Mike Toreno. From there, a new chapter in the San Andreas storyline unfolds.
Carl also receives a call from Jethro, a mechanic working in Carl's garage. Cesar has received a wish list of most wanted cars and he thinks they can make a profit out of it. After Carl buys the Wang Cars showroom, they get started. So Cesar and Carl steal five cars for the showroom, and it becomes an asset.
Much later, Carl returns to San Fierro to do yet another task for Mike Toreno: To steal a jet plane and bomb spy ships in Tierra Robada. Carl enters the Easter Basin Naval Base and sucessfully steals a Hydra and bombs the spy ships. San Fierro will no longer be seen in the storyline.
Throughout the early 1990's, San Fierro was a major hub for drug-trafficking, especially the crack-cocaine trade. The city itself was one of the major points by which drugs are smuggled into the United States. Due to this, San Fierro became the base of operations to drug cartels such as the Loco Syndicate before their destruction. After the destruction of the Loco Syndicate, and later Big Smoke's cocaine empire; the level of drug-trafficking and drug smuggling in San Fierro gradually decreased.
San Fierro also appears to be plagued by gang violence in various neighborhoods. However, the intensity is not as great as the gang violence in Los Santos. Most of the violence was the direct result of the crack-cocaine trade during the early 1990's. During this time, small-time local street gangs such as the hispanic San Fierro Rifa became affiliated with the Loco Syndicate in the narcotics business and were hired as protection/security.
Other street gangs in San Fierro include the Vietnemese Da Nang Boys. Da Nang Boys were primarily responsible for the human smuggling operations in San Fierro. Considered to be highly violent and ruthless by the SFPD.
A major criminal organization also makes their home in San Fierro; the San Fierro Triads, in Chinatown. The Triads generally remain much more low-key on criminal involvement and seem to be venturing into legal businesses such as gambling. However, they do have a history of arms-trafficking, illegal street racing, assassination/contract killing and human smuggling.
Despite being a focal point for drug-smuggling, San Fierro does not appear to be plagued by crack dealers on the streets. They can only be found in South Central Los Santos. This is likely because the drugs are transported to Los Santos via the connections between the Loco Syndicate and Big Smoke.
Parts of San Fierro also appear to be plagued by prostitution. Jizzy B was one of the key pimps in San Fierro, as well as being involved with drug-trafficking and the Loco Syndicate.
Some of the higher crime areas in San Fierro include:
- Jizzy B
- T-Bone Mendez
- Wu Zi Mu
- Daniel Lamb, the protagonist of Rockstar Games' Manhunt 2 is also originally from San Fierro.
- Katie Zhan
- Michelle Cannes
San Fierro has two pro sports teams, a football team, the San Fierro 69ers (obviously based off the San Francisco 49ers) and a baseball team, the San Fierro Packers, based off the San Francisco Giants, with a name that may be inspired by the real life football team, the Green Bay Packers.
- Although some landmarks might have been in the Beta, one landmark (Alcatraz) was going to appear in the game but was deleted for unknown reasons. Proof of this can be seen at the map at Toreno's ranch & Lil' Probe'Inn.
- San Fierro is the smallest city in the GTA III Era.
- The city exists in the GTA IV era, and can be seen as the birth location for some criminals on the internet database in GTA IV.
- Daniel Lamb, protagonist of Manhunt 2, was born in San Fierro.
- Entering San Fierro before the city is unlocked is possible without cheats by swimming or by using a boat such as those obtainable from the docks on the south side of Las Venturas, but a 4-star Wanted Level is activated once you enter the waterways around the city. There is also a Unique Stunt Jump that one can attempt from Red County onto the tarmac of Easter Bay International Airport any time - though once again the wanted level will be triggered in the process.
- San Fierro was one of the last areas to be made in GTA: San Andreas, and it is poorly textured. For example, there are many non-solid areas in the city, and if you drive or fly really fast in San Fierro, objects, vehicles, peds, and textures don't spawn or appear as fast as they do in other areas.
- Eddie Low, a serial killer in Grand Theft Auto IV, was born in San Fierro.
- It remains unknown if San Fierro will return in GTA V, which is confirmed to be returning to Los Santos, another city in the GTA III era's rendition of the state of San Andreas.