Ah, San Francisco: the land of rolling fog, steep hills, postcard-worthy views, and a restaurant scene that can go toe-to-toe with any place in the world. You are one of the world’s great cities, and you sure know how to make a first impression – for many people, it’s love at first sight.
But those of us that live here are lucky enough to get to know you a little better than the average person. We’ve learned some of your secrets and your rich history. These are five things we love about you that we think everyone else should know (and love), too!
… You Transport Us to Another World
Mission Dolores Park image courtesy of @koushikc
Exploring your neighborhoods is like taking an around-the-world trip. Little Saigon in the Tenderloin is home to the best Banh Mis in town, while the Mission has a long legacy as a center for the Latino community dating back to Spanish missionaries in the 1700s – what would we do without tree-lined 24th Street, home to neighborhood staples like La Palma Mexicatessen? The Russian bakeries and churches in the Richmond and the Indian and Pakistani influence on the corner of O’Farrell and Jones are just some of the pockets of culture that lend you a decidedly international flavor. And let’s not forget Chinatown (founded back in 1848), Japantown, and North Beach – your Little Italy. Strolling your streets truly transports us around the globe.
… You Know How to Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Lilou the Pig living his best life.
The animal kingdom is well-represented here – from Downtown pigeons to the sea lions at Pier 39, you never fail to surprise us with the sheer variety of creatures. Some of our favorite locals include Casper the Cockatoo, who can be found walking on his leash with his owner in Hayes Valley, and LiLou the Pig, who brightens even the foggiest days in Nob Hill and even at SFO, where she is the world’s first Airport Therapy Pig. You’re home to wild parrots on Telegraph Hill, bison at Golden Gate Park, Claude the Albino Alligator at the California Academy of Sciences, and countless dogs we see every day, walking your sidewalks and playing in your parks.
… You Turn a Commute into a Concert
Image courtesy of @kivraj
You know as well as any city that music makes everything better – and some of your best sounds don’t even require headphones! We love the musicians performing in your BART stations, like Powell Street keyboard player Roger Brooks, trumpeter Kiki Lopez Tejedor at 16th and 24th Street, and the blind woman with a beautiful voice who can be found singing there as well. Add in your fabulously talented street performers and there’s truly something for everyone.
… You Aren’t Afraid to Be a Little Bit Different
Local celebrity Adam Savage courtesy of Onewheel
Your cast of characters never fails to bring a smile to our face. Lively personalities – the naked guys in the Castro, the disco roller skaters, the coconut rum purveyor in Dolores Park, the disgruntled bartenders at our favorite dive, local celebrities like Adam Savage flying down Valencia on his one-wheel electric skateboard – are never far away. And how about your love of a good costume – and any excuse to wear it? Whether it’s Bay to Breakers, Folsom Street Fair, Pride, Burning Man, Hunky Jesus, or even plain old Halloween, you are never shy about wearing something unique. Even City Hall gets in on the act, lighting up each night and putting on colors for special occasions.
… You Change Without Forgetting Who You Are
Painted Ladies in San Francisco courtesy of @vork
Things move pretty fast here – after all, the Bay Area is the world’s technology hub. But even as Salesforce Tower transforms your skyline and Market Street goes carless, you know how to celebrate and showcase your past. Nowhere is this more evident than your stunning architecture: the Edwardians, Queen Anne Victorians (like the famed Painted Ladies), Craftsman Bungalows, and Art Deco beauties are as distinctive and colorful as the people who live in them. And what other cities can rebuild themselves twice – after the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes – and come back even better than before? Mark Twain loved you for a reason.
San Francisco, we could go on and on about you. But for now, we’ll just raise a glass of Fernet for a toast: to the city that proudly knows how to be itself!