One Year in San Francisco

11 Nov

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

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.

San Francisco, CA

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?

14 Responses to “One Year in San Francisco”

  1. di @ life of di. November 11, 2013 at 7:29 am #

    Happy One Year! :) I am still convinced that I will one day live in San Fran. It is definitely a beautiful, exciting city. Don’t get me wrong, I actually really love Columbus (people have a skewed perception but there is actually a ton to do here and we are quite diverse for being located in the Midwest) but there is something about San Francisco that just seems like a wonderful place to call home!

    • Kate @ The Kate Keeper November 12, 2013 at 11:37 am #

      I was in Columbus last year, and I hope you’re not offended when I say I was pleasantly surprise by how cool it was! I ate Jeni’s ice cream and had an excellent dinner in Short North. Your little city has much character, but we will welcome you to San Francisco any day! It really is a great place to live.

      • di @ life of di. November 13, 2013 at 5:57 am #

        I’m so glad you enjoyed Columbus. I live a few miles from the Short North so my husband and I bike down there all summer :) It is such a fun area in Columbus.

  2. the usual bliss November 11, 2013 at 7:35 am #

    I love playing tourist in my own town. I think people forget why other people want to visit where they live – it’s fun to remind yourself why!

    • Kate @ The Kate Keeper November 12, 2013 at 11:38 am #

      Agree! It’s fun to vet the tourist attractions and learn the history of your city so you can better inform visitors on how to have a great time there. I’d love to get to Park City soon. Your Me in PC posts are great!

      • the usual bliss November 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

        Your post made me realize it’s been a long time since I’ve done a Me in PC!

  3. Jorie November 11, 2013 at 8:01 am #

    Aww, this was such a lovely post, Kate! Congrats on one year in San Fran! I can’t wait to come visit your stomping grounds soon (springtime?!).

    • Sarah Mitus November 11, 2013 at 9:53 am #

      LIKE. (But stay at Kate’s.. it’s way bigger than my place haha)

    • Kate @ The Kate Keeper November 12, 2013 at 11:38 am #

      Thanks Jorie! I’m counting the days until you arrive on my doorstep.

  4. IHeartVegetables November 11, 2013 at 9:46 am #

    I’m glad you were able to feel at home there so quickly! I just visited there last month and it was so beautiful!

    • Kate @ The Kate Keeper November 12, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

      I loved reading your posts from your west coast adventure a few weeks ago! There is so much I have yet to see and do out here, let alone everywhere else, so it was inspiring to read about your adventures. I’m glad you enjoyed San Francisco :)

  5. Deanna November 12, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    Yay for SF living! And that explorer’s club sounds fun – there is just oh so much to do in the Bay!

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