The Golden Gate Bridge from the Presidio.
Today marks my one year anniversary as a San Franciscan. Just 365 days ago we woke up on our first morning in this apartment to mounds of cardboard boxes in every direction. We owned not one chair and had a surplus of pillows for our bed (8 to be exact). We have since pared down and bulked up in specific areas, making our 775-square-foot apartment feel like our own.
365 nights in our San Francisco apartment. 8,760 hours within our city’s 49 square miles. 52 weekends traipsing down and clamoring up the San Francisco hills in pursuit of food, entertainment, or views. With one trip of the earth around the sun under our belt, San Francisco feels like home, but it has for awhile. Perhaps because our families are close by and our friend group formed both naturally and quickly, I felt at home here fairly fast. As the closest city to my hometown, San Francisco felt familiar even before I knew it like I do now. A few times I had to remind myself when I took a wrong turn or made a bad restaurant decision that I’d only lived here for a certain amount of months. But now, I’ve got a hairdresser, a yoga studio, and a working knowledge of the bus routes. I can usually get into our tight parking space in two tries now too.
Looking down on the Marina from Fillmore and Broadway.
As far as my San Francisco bucket list goes, I’ve made a good dent in it. In the year we’ve spent here, we found our burrito place, went to a summer concert at The Independent, cheered on the 49ers live, spent a few weekends in Tahoe, and I even rode the cable car to work one day. Everyone loves a cable car ride, even those of us who live here, so don’t let any San Franciscan convince you that it’s too touristy to do. It’s fun and, in this city, it’s also the fastest way from Nob Hill to the Embarcadero.
Quaint apartment buildings in Nob Hill.
We’ve also entertained our first visitors and then a few more, making sure to show off the best parts of the city while keeping the San Francisco crazies at bay to ensure our friends plan visits to SF again soon. I have revised a few things on the bucket list too, like removing the Kabuki hot springs in Japantown, after learning that that is a naked activity. Very San Francisco, I know, but not very Kate.
I hope someone agrees that in order to really love a city you have to kind of hate it too. San Francisco is both one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen and the one, from my experience, that most reeks of urine at its city center. It’s sophisticated and filled with good food, and is also so expensive that it alienates all but the people who can afford or will sacrifice to live within its boundaries. For better or worse, it’s homeless-friendly and liberal, and it’s filled with jobs and short on housing.
In our first year here, it was natural to spend most of our time exploring within the city bounds and solidifying our friendships. Now I hope our second year in San Francisco features more visits from friends (COME ONE, COME ALL), more day trips out of the city (Sonoma, Bodega Bay, Monterey), and more SF Explorers Club outings. The SFEC sounds more pretentious and official than it actually is. It’s really just a group of friends interested in seeing and doing all the Bay Area has to offer. We keep a Google spreadsheet of ideas of fun things to pursue in the area, including wine tasting in Napa, touring Alcatraz and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and riding bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge. I highly encourage anyone wanting to play tourist in their own city or town to form their own Explorers Club with their friends. You may already have one without putting the name on it, but our group loves a good label and acronym.
A snap taken right after the punch line.
I can’t end this post without mentioning that our one year anniversary in SF also marks Jordan and my first year of living together, which felt so natural and fun right away. In the year that we’ve lived together, the kitchen has proved to be a place of insight for us: I’ve learned that beer is something you stock your fridge with weekly (not just for parties), and Jordan says he learned what grocery shopping is and also that there is some merit (football and the Olympics) to having cable TV (told ya so!) So, Jordan, thanks for accommodating my Anthropologie quilt that you hate and for hanging all of our pictures perfectly. Time to renew the lease!
How long have you lived in your current city? When do you start feeling like a local? What’s the best tourist activity to do in your town?