San Francisco – Top 5 Rants and Raves

March 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

Our year in San Francisco is over. My job moved to Santa Clara right around the time the lease on our loft ran out, so we’re heading back down the peninsula again to rent a house in Mountain View. Here are my top five rants and raves about this amazing city by the bay.

Raves

There are so many great things about San Francisco–the majestic Golden Gate bridge, the museums, the food, the shopping, the views, Golden Gate Park, Chinatown, the parades and street fairs, the people, the Giants–and much much more. But after living here in SOMA for a year and really getting to know my neighborhood as a resident, there are some things that I know I’m really going to miss more than anything else after we leave. Here are just a few:

  • The Embarcadero. I’ve really loved walking my dog and riding my bike along this beautiful stretch of waterfront. Even before I moved here, this was my favorite part of the city. The views are out-of-this-world spectacular, and there is plenty of room to ride your bike safely away from the busy street traffic. You really feel the wide open space of the San Francisco Bay when you are out there. And of course there are so many treasures there–AT&T Park, the harbor, the Ferry Building, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Bay Bridge–just to name a few. When I marched along the Embarcadero along with thousands of other pink people as part of the Race for the Cure back in October, it was truly a magical experience.

Photo by j.bach

  • The Butler and the Chef Bistro. The best eggs benedict EVER. Seriously. It comes with about a half pound of the most delicious Niman Ranch ham, served on fat slabs of homemade olive bread. All in the cutest little cafe in the little green oasis in the middle of SOMA that is South Park. And when they bring you your check, they also bring you melt-in-your mouth chocolate truffles. I kid you not. After your meal, if you can still walk, you can wander on over to Jeremys, which is at the north end of South Park, for some bargain shopping extravaganza. Daughter #1 and I did this on our last morning in the city before we moved to mountain view. Nom nom nom.

Butler and Chef Bistro

  • SFO. Our family travels a lot, and living 12 minutes from an international airport ROCKS. Plus it’s a really easy airport to get in and out of. Big thumbs up.
  • Mission Creek Park. I almost don’t want to share this, because one of the reasons that this little park is so special is that not many people know about it. It’s not a park in the traditional sense; it’s more like a rambling open space area that surrounds Mission Creek. The most incredible thing about this park is that it is so quiet, and warm, and serene, even though just a few blocks away is the bustling, and usually cold, and windy, Caltrain/Muni intersections at 4th and King.

Mission Creek Park

  • TJ Maxx. San Francisco is shopping mecca if you are a serious shopper. But I’m a bargain shopping connoisseur (that’s gotta be an oxymoron). At any rate, I love scouring outlet malls and discount department stores for clearance steals, especially in the home decor departments. The TJ Maxx on Harrison is the nicest bargain store I’ve ever been in. It’s clean and well-organized, the dressing rooms are decent, it has a great selection of merchandise, and it has a dedicated parking lot that is never full–a true San Francisco miracle! I LOVE THIS STORE! And it was just a few blocks from where I lived. Boy am I gonna miss my monthly TJ Maxx fix.

Rants

  • Costco. It’s a friggin’ zoo, no matter what time of the day or night. I once actually drove all the way over there, parked, got a cart, walked in, and then walked right back out again. It’s like Grand Central Station in there. And the whole parking/elevator system sucks. Several times I drove all the way down to the airport Costco rather than deal with the crowds at the one in the city. Trader Joe’s is just as bad. It’s bumper-to-bumper shopping carts pushed by really impatient (albeit nicely dressed in cool urban garb) people.
  • Traffic. It’s the city, so it’s high-density living, so of course traffic is going to be a problem. But honestly, what is the deal with the freeway not going all the way through the city? What other city in the world gets away with that? And trying to drive anywhere during the morning and evening commute times, or when there is a major event going on, which is pretty much every weekend, or anywhere downtown, is a real drag. Pedestrians everywhere, super aggressive drivers, buses and cable cars and taxis, oh my!
  • The vomit on the sidewalk. And garbage. And dog poo. And pee. And people sleeping. It’s just disgusting. I felt like I wanted to wash my shoes every time I came in from a walk. And when the wind kicks up, which is often, garbage and crap actually blows in your face. And in your mouth. Blech. Ewww. Not for me. I mean, I feel really, really sad about the homeless folks. I really do. It’s a terrible situation, and it breaks your heart. But some naked guy running down the street hitting people with his pants is the tipping point for me from pity to antipathy.
  • The cold. There. I said it. It can be SO DANG COLD in the city. And I generally like temps cooler than most. I’m happy as a lark at a balmy 60 degrees, and I wear sandals 10 months out of the year, long after most folks are in socks and boots. But San Francisco cold is a special kind of damp, windy, bone-chilling BRRR. Don’t get me wrong, the fog is actually pretty cool to watch. It’s dramatic and moody and mysterious. I grew up in a foggy city. Fog is in my bones. I really don’t mind it. But in San Francisco, even the dogs wear sweaters. In July. ‘Nuff said.

Cold San Francisco

  • The commute. For me, the commute was the deal-breaker for living in the city. Having to drive or take the train in and out of the city every day for work was not for me. I know that thousands of people do it every day. Which is exactly why it’s not something that I want to spend my time doing.

San Francisco, I’ll be back. Often. I love you just the way you are. Sparkling, fog-shrouded, hilly, gritty, chilly, breathtaking, delicious, the ultimate destination. But no longer home.

Cupid's bow

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