I always used to wish my parents landed somewhere other than San Francisco all those years ago when they immigrated from the Philippines. Arizona might have been nice. Maybe even Oregon. Just somewhere where the cost of living wasn’t so high would’ve been a good start.
But through the many years that I’ve been in this city, I’ve come to love this place and can’t seem to find it in myself to leave. Here are my top five reasons why:
1) The weather
It’s perfect. As in Goldilocks perfect. Not too hot, not too cold, it’s juuust right. There have been countless times when our family came back from a southern California vacation or even a day trip to the East, South or North Bays where I rejoiced at the sight of Karl the Fog as we drove back into the city.
2) The food
I am a queen of habit when it comes to my choices in food. If I want Mexican, I usually opt for La Corneta. If I’m craving a good salt and pepper fish, I’m going with Emmy’s Chinese. When it’s pizza night in the Bernardo household, we’ll give Bravos a call. But I know that if there comes a day when I’m in the mood for switching it up, there are a plethora of other top restaurants for me to choose from right here in the city. Whether it’s pasta, seafood, Filipino, Indian or Ethiopian, I can find a good spot to satisfy all of my food cravings. And when I say a good spot, I mean a real, authentic, good spot.
3) The activities
If I’m being honest, I will have to admit that I’m a “let’s do a whole lotta nothing” kind of person when it comes to our free weekends. Luckily for me though, if I’m ever in the get-up-and-go mood, there are plenty of activities and attractions to see in San Francisco most of which are free. My personal favorites are The Painted Ladies at Alamo Square and the crookedest street in the world, Lombard Street.
As a mother of three, I would be remiss not to mention the parks. For example, at Golden Gate Park, one of San Francisco’s gems, one could find not only playgrounds, gardens, and picnic groves but a museum, an aquarium, a planetarium and a conservatory of flowers. I should also mention the very popular Mission Dolores Park where locals flock to enjoy the lush green lawns, lounge beneath a palm tree and take in the spectacular view of the city’s skyline.
4) The sports teams
True, the Niners are having a pretty crappy year and yes, they technically play in the city of Santa Clara now. But they still are and always will be the San Francisco Forty-Niners to me, even though the product they are currently putting out on the field is a far cry from the dominate teams of 80s and 90s who brought 5 Super Bowl Championships to the city. Then there are the baseball Giants who finally got that even year mumbo-jumbo voo-doo magic out of their system thanks to their bullpen. The torture they put their fans through may never go away but this fan will always subject herself to it.
5) The Bay Area
Ok. I know this is more about San Francisco’s neighboring cities rather than the city itself but it is one of the top reasons why I love living here. Because when we want to change things up a bit, we can easily head east to the sunnier side of the bay and visit Oakland for a stroll around Lake Merritt or over to Berkeley for a walk up and down Telegraph Avenue to check out the coffee houses and bookstores. We could also choose to drive down the peninsula as we did frequently when the kids were younger for an afternoon in Burlingame, home of Preston’s Candy and Ice Cream Shop, or a few miles further south to hang out a one of our favorite parks in Foster City.
Personally, I love to head north across the Golden Gate Bridge to the quaint, romantic town of Sausalito. I’ve enjoyed many birthday lunches here at one of the bay-front restaurants with San Francisco as the backdrop. And here’s a fun fact: did you know that Jerry Garcia, the venerable lead singer for the Grateful Dead, once called Sausalito his home? Unfortunately for me, there were never any star sightings in all the times that I was there.
So there you have it. The top five reasons why I love San Francisco. Maybe one day I’ll leave. When I visited Portland this past summer I did actually think, “Wow, I could see myself living here” which was a first. But more than likely, I’ll probably always call this place my home. This is definitely where my heart is.
P.S. The average-looking picture above, taken from Twin Peaks, was taken on my iPhone and not by Miklo, my cool photographer friend mentioned in this post.