Earlier I mentioned the corruption that I ran into in San Francisco (I think it’s pretty rampant, especially in the startup scene), BUT since moving to Utah I’ve actually visited the Bay a few times, to take care of a family and work with a nonprofit. In spite of the cost (or perhaps *because* of the cost), it is such an incredible place, with such a rare concentration of learning, entertainment, and hard-working, fascinating people. Here are the things I took from San Francisco.
-Most locals just call it ‘the city’.
-Also, I have never heard people from California call it ‘Cali’.
Some things I love about San Francisco:
Dogpatch. The weather in San Francisco is unpredictable and often crummy, foggy, and cold. Technically the weather there is called ‘micro-climates’, and Karl the Fog owns and roams the city. Fortunately, you can dodge all of this by living in Dogpatch. Dog Patch resident swag says: ‘the Sun Always Shines in Dogpatch.’ and it’s true.
-The art shows and open mic nights. Talent, talent, talent.
-People-watching. Everywhere, but Dolores Park is probably my fave place for it.
-The diversity, especially the sizeable population of Asian Americans, Turkish Americans, and European Americans. Some of my best friends.
-Pride, lots of progressive families and acceptance.
-Hearing any number of languages walking down the street.
-The monks in Chinatown.
–Bay to Breakers. Full disclosure: I’ve never been, but I want to go if I’m in town again.
-That you can find any type of food you want. ANYTHING. I’m not an expert but I have a few recommendations if you’re interested. In my opinion, the food scene is right up there with New York.
-The street markets.
-The Exxon Mobil building where I took General Assembly classes in Downtown San Francisco. It’s where my grandpa spent his career and I like to imagine what he was like then.
-The apps – lots of cool ideas, even if they don’t go viral.
-Watching everyone whip out their laptops and work on their programming on Caltrain. Oh, how I want to be one of them.
-Running into everyone you know in the city! San Francisco is a very small town.
-All the weird tech gizmos people are constantly trying. San Francisco is like living in the futures. It is a solid five years ahead of the game.
-The Recycling. I didn’t realize how much I missed that until I moved away. San Francisco takes minimizing waste SERIOUSLY.
-The gnarly trees in Golden Gate park.
-The outdoor piano festival in Golden Gate park. YES a million times over.
-The trolleys in SF.
–Pretentious, self-important techies; Startups that feel like cults; World-saving corporate jargon/Koolaid. I have learned to love making light of the weird world of SF and tech bros.
-The Tonga room at the Fairmont Hotel. It’s a fun spot.
-Union square, especially with the Christmas tree and all the lights at night in December.
-The remarkable combination of the artistic radical old San Francisco, the new young blood in tech, and that classy feeling you get in the pristine parts of the city. There is definitely some resentment in the older community- people who have been there a while and don’t like the changes- but I actually loved the combination. The city is changing fast and I hope the art stays intact.
-Biking the Embarcadero.
-Fun fact- In 1846, a contingent of Mormons led by Sam Brannon sailed around South America and settled in San Francisco. Other Mormon contingents crossed American to flee persecution and ended up in Utah. Sam Brannon wanted to bring all the Mormons to settle San Francisco, but Brigham Young had no interest in that, so Salt Lake became and remains Zion/Mecca. Sam Brannon stayed in the Bay and built the Indian Springs Resort up in Calistoga. Brannon street in Soma is named after him.
-Speaking of history, the walking tours in San Francisco are really fun. I have done this one , but I’d really like to do all of them.
-Caltrain on the peninsula includes a *lot* of bikers. Although the ticket itself costs an arm and a leg, it makes the long commute between SF and Palo Alto doable, if your work or house isn’t in walking distance of Caltrain. I actually really liked that commute and bicycle ride to work, but it’s loong.
–November Project. Great people, even if I can’t really keep up with them. Even if you’re out of shape or not much of an athlete- it is an *everyone* place, so just show up.
Here is another post I found that I think does justice to San Francisco.
I both love and hate you San Francisco!
Feel free to share your San Francisco gems and stories with me. Hope your week is off to a great start.