Last year when I went to San Diego, I took an extra couple days off afterwards and went to Santa Cruz. I wrote about those two cities in previous blogs but I actually also went to San Francisco as well.
I was there for literally only 24 hours though and I felt like it wasn’t really enough time to get a good enough feel to write about it, so I didn’t. I figured I’d go back eventually and I’d write about it after that.
So, in October I went to San Francisco for work and now I figure it’ll be a good time to write about.
As a dude in tech, San Francisco, and the Bay Area in general, constantly comes up in conversation. I feel like everyone I know has either worked and lived there, or know someone who has. It’s pretty fascinating.
With so many big companies and start ups in the area, the city itself feels pretty busy and dense. The density is definitely interesting because I’ve been to some pretty densely populated areas before but San Francisco just feels different.
Not really sure how to explain it, but I think it’s something to do with the uniformness of the place. In a lot of other densely populated places, you have a lot of skyscrapers and other buildings to help you navigate through the area.
San Francisco on the other hand just seems like a very uniform jungle. All the buildings are like the same height and they’re all packed incredibly tightly next to each other. In that way it seems like when you’re in the downtown area every area just feels very enclosed.
It almost feels like the only thing that changes from street to street is the elevation. There are some damn steep streets in San Francisco. I don’t get how people manage to parallel park on those streets. It blows my mind.
When you’re within the city proper, there isn’t a lot of open space, but once you head out a bit more and into the periphery, the city opens up a bit more.
There’s a few big parks in San Francisco that were pretty great to walk through. One of them is Presidio, which contains the Palace of Fine Arts as well as leads to the Golden Gate Bridge. The Palace is actually really amazing.
It’s an amazing structure that looks like it should be a courtyard in some fancy European palace or something. Walking through there was pretty cool and I was actually pretty mesmerized at the sheer coolness of it.
On the other end of Presidio lies the Golden Gate Bridge, which in my opinion, is probably the most famous bridge in the world. If not number one it’s definitely up there. It’s a long and beautiful bridge that spans across the bay and it’s become the symbol of San Francisco.
The bridge itself is pretty nice and you can walk on it, but I think the best part of the bridge are the views. Not only can you get a decent view of the city from the bridge, but I really think that the bridge is just pretty cool to look at and it makes the views of the harbour that much nicer.
There’s another park called Golden Gate Park, which oddly enough does not contain the Golden Gate Bridge. That park is huge and it’s a nice place to get away from the hustle and the bustle of the city. There’s a lot of random things in the park as well and it really reminds me of Central Park in New York City.
There’s also Land’s End which is situated by the coast somewhere in between the two parks I just mentioned. I went there at night and I think that that park is the best of the three for sights. You get this wonderful view of the water, the cliff, and the bridge, and makes for a pretty nice stroll.
I love cities that have stuff like this. Cities are great and all but sometimes you want to just take a break and disconnect a bit and go for a walk in nature. Cities that have large urban parks like these feel so necessary to help people recompose themselves.
In that sense, I think that San Francisco is amazing since it has both the big city stuff and so many nice parks. It’s especially nice that SF is by the ocean because as I’ve mentioned many times before, I love the ocean.
Being right on the water also means that the waterfront is another major sightseeing location in San Francisco. The city itself lies on a peninsula and a series of piers and wharves just line the entire northeast corner of it. Again, great place to just walk around and take in the sights and the sounds.
For example, the Ferry Building area has a bunch of great restaurants and even better views of the Oakland Bridge, which I honestly didn’t really think about much before going there, but then realized that that was also a really great bridge. It was nice just sitting by the water and looking out into the harbour.
The Fisherman’s Wharf area is also pretty cool. There’s a lot of touristy things there so you’re paying a premium on a lot of the stuff you’re buying and eating, but it’s a fairly lively place and there’s a lot of random stuff to see there, like the sea lions.
There’s also Alcatraz which is right off of the coast. You can take tours to the island but I’ve yet to do it. I really want to do the sunset tour but I’ve missed it both times I’ve been to SF and so I have to go back and check it out sometime.
I think in general, San Francisco is a nice city but it really depends on where you are. I’m not a huge fan of the downtown core area with the endless rows and rows of faceless buildings. Another part of that is also the homeless population. San Francisco is an incredibly rich city now but it wasn’t always the case.
As a result, the wealth disparity in the city is incredibly high and there’s a large homeless population. I’m not gonna lie, there are certain areas that feel incredibly sketchy just because there’s so many homeless people.
I remember I was taking an Uber to the airport and we drove by this area of the city that just had so many homeless people there. It kinda surprised me because of the sheer disparity and contrast. Certain areas of San Francisco which are so fancy and luxurious but then two streets down everyone is living in tents and shopping carts.
It definitely adds to the character of the city that’s for sure.
Overall, I think San Francisco is a pretty decent city to go check out. The food is pretty decent and there’s a lot of stuff to check out and do from museums, naturey stuff, and city stuff. And of course, there’s a lot of job opportunities too.
That said, it’s an incredibly expensive city. I’d definitely go back but after going two years in a row, I think I’m good for now.