There's No Place Like Home | San Francisco
With an average one bedroom in San Francisco now renting for $3,400/month, it can be hard to imagine why anyone would choose to live here. And while I agree that paying rent the equivalent of a mortgage payment on a $600,000 home is outrageous, San Francisco embodies culture, diversity, activity, natural beauty, and crazy unlike any other city in the US. To give you an idea of what I mean, allow me to recount a Sunday bike ride I took a few weekends ago.
We started on “the wiggle”, a zig zag through the city along roads with the least elevation change. Biking through Victorian lined streets, we came upon a group of people in lawn chairs on the sidewalk in front of their house. One of them donned a gold sequined blazer and shorts and as we approached, broke away from the circle of conversation, stood up, and hollered, “You guys wanna do a jump?!”
The group had created a mini ramp out of a plywood board placed on a sandbag in the bike lane. Neither of us took the jump, but it gave us a chuckle. Only in San Francisco would a group of people hang out on their front “lawn” and try to get biking passersby to take a homemade jump.
In Golden Gate Park we cruised past skateboarders enjoying the car free day, a group of twenty-somethings playing squash ball on the lawn, and old men tending to their model sail boats. One man jogged along the sidewalk of a man-made lake, prodding his boat with a long stick to prevent it from crashing into the cement shore. We biked past families out for a stroll, lovers making out on a picnic blanket, joggers getting their long run in, and tourists exploring the museum rich destination. Drumbeats caught our ears and following the sound led us to a Thai Dance & Music Festival in one of the fields. Men played instruments and women and girls dressed in traditional garb danced in a circle. Only in San Francisco could you happen upon a Thai festival, model sail boats, and varied recreation by biking half a mile through a park.
At the end of Golden Gate Park, we came to Ocean Beach. Ocean Beach welcomed us with unusual sunshine and a soft breeze. Usually the chilly wind blows so fiercely that any blanket that's laid down is covered in sand within 15 minutes. A girl with purple hair and an “I <3 Female Orgasm” shirt walked past us as we scouted out a place on the beach. Not far from stairwell 17 we saw a large tent and a group of twenty or thirty somethings gathered around. It was someone's birthday, and they had hired a saxophone-guitar duo to serenade their picnic. We sat close enough to enjoy the music, but not close enough to crash the party, and enjoyed an hour of live music before heading back home. Only in San Francisco would someone hire a jazz duo to play for them on the beach for a birthday celebration.
There’s no place like home, and for us, that’s San Francisco. Unexpected, beautiful, quirky, lovely San Francisco.
3 Things You Can Only Experience in San Francisco
Yoga at Grace Cathedral | Tuesday nights, 7:00pm, free (but a $10 donation is appreciated)
Bring a yoga mat or a towel and find a spot inside this beautiful cathedral in Nob Hill. Hundreds of people gather here each week for a spiritual yoga experience, complete with live music. Arrive early to snag a spot.
Day Drinking at Dolores Park | Every nice weekend, free
Of course you can visit Dolores Park any day during the week, but things really liven up on the weekends. Hoards of friends and families lay out their blankets and picnic with an epic view of the city until the sun goes down. At the top of the hill, you'll find men in short shorts with no shirts mixing mimosas on "Castro Beach". Musicians and ball players set up camp towards the bottom of the hill where it's flatter, near the tennis courts. We like to sit in the middle, where the people watching is prime and you're never too far from the "Coconut Man", a man with dreads and glasses from the early 90's who pulls around a cooler of coconuts and a handle of jack selling coconuts and rum, prepared with four swift hits of a meat cleaver. Everyone is welcome here and that's why we love a lazy Saturday spent on the lawn at Dolores Park. Note: it's technically illegal to drink in the park, but everyone does it. It's also technically illegal for people without a medical marijuana card from smoking dope.
Sing Along to Your Favorite Disney Movie at Castro Theatre | Showings vary, check the theatre calendar to see when the next sing along is happening.
Pretend you are a kid again at one of San Francisco's historic theaters by singing along to your favorite Disney movie in a room full of other adults who refuse to grow up (unless of course the sing along is Frozen, then you will be in a room full of young girls and their moms). Red velvet curtains drape the screen of this theater in the heart of the Castro district and classic Disney films such as Beauty and the Beast and The Sound of Music grace the screen. Refresh your memory of "Part of Your World" from Little Mermaid before belting it out with hundreds of strangers. The very existence of this activity proves that San Francisco is a sort of Neverland all it's own.