What an amazing little trip I just had to San Francisco. It was my first time getting out to the west coast in my adult life. I was ten years old and still really didn't understand life the last time I was there. At this point, my perspective can't help but be tarnished by the overarching stereotypes and historical anecdotes that I've heard so much of. I could tell, being there, that this was a city founded by hippies and based on love. The air felt fresher, the people a bit friendlier. Marijuana is in a sense legal, and real, rugged nature, is right at your fingertips. If that's not hippie influence, I don't know what is.
I can in no way cover everything that I experienced on my trip, but let me try and entertain you with some of the highlights...
Outside Lands Music Festival
I arrived on a Friday night and was able to catch Saturday & Sunday of the Outside Lands music festival in Golden Gate Park. Two days of magic infused with music, I could have stayed in that time warp for the rest of my life. I did some freelance coverage while I was there, so rather than try and find new words to express my experience, check it out:
We climbed up to the top of Strawberry Hill on our way to the festival one day. Supposedly it's a great view of the bay, but what we got was mostly fog. Where some would be disapointed with that, I actually wasn't. The fog is so striking, and such a bold characteristic of the city. I find it very beautiful and calming in a way. We played around at the top, channeling our childhood selves for a minute. It was sheer fun.
"I spend more time outside here than anywhere else I've ever lived," my brother explained to me. Hanging out in parks is a huge part of the culture here. Because it's so accessible, people go for hikes, they read a book in the grass, play some Frisbee - free time just isn't spent cooped up inside. Not to mention, the city is very green. You find compost bins everywhere and have to actually pay if you want a plastic bag at most stores. It's not a struggle to get people to live green, and I think that ties back to the close connection San Fransicans have with the outdoors. A lesson the rest of us should take if you ask me!
So that I could get the lay of the land, one day we started in the Marina district and walked all along the coast and the Embarcadero until we got to the edge of the financial district. The views were spectacular. We walked out on a pier right at the beginning. There were were sailboats all around, and you could get a great view of Alcatraz floating out on the water. We stopped in the Ferry building which is full of little shops piled with well-designed items and food joints serving up fresh, organic, well-crafted grab n' go's. I got a fresh pressed juice and some heirloom lima beans to try out.
Only in the Haight have I ever seen a real life nudist. This happened early on my second day there. I quickly knew, this city was like nothing else. That being said, the Haight is a really cool little spot in this world. Neat shops sprinkle throughout and it's overall a happening place. I hit up a yoga studio, Yoga Garden of San Francisco, while I was there that I would highly recommend if you're staying in the Haight. There's a little zen garden as you walk in, and the place is three stories high of gorgeous sun-filled practice rooms. At my brother's suggestion, I followed it up with breakfast and coffee at Bean There Cafe. I loved that I was able to get almond milk in my granola here, and not soy. Additional bonus, they made my fruit salad fresh before my eyes, and the coffee is top notch.
This city has some stellar views, and a trip to the Persidio/Baker Beach really proved it to me. It's a really peaceful nook of the city that I highly suggest finding if you have the time.
I had to make it here while I was in San Francisco. One of my only memories from the first time we came to SF was being told that they served cat in Chinatown. I think my brother was trying to scare me...
Nonetheless, we all know I'm a big lover of Chinese culture and cuisine. My brother and I walked through, and downed some cheap and delicious dim sum before I had to hop on a plane back to Philadelphia.
I'm a fall baby. The season lends itself to outdoor activities and is the best time of year for fashion. What's amazing about San Francisco is that it perpetually feels like fall, but at the same time they can grow warm weather plants. My brother's roommates had a lemon tree growing in the house! How cool is that? They also had a fig tree growing out back, and I spotted some olive trees while walking the streets. This place is seriously perfect...
As if I wasn't already full of wanderlust, this city really got my dreams going. San Francisco makes you realize that life doesn't always have to be serious. It can be fun and productive at the same time. As a place, it works. The people get along, the city is very clean and put together, and because they're able to do that, it seems like everyone is able to have as much fun as they'd like. It's about living responsibly so that you can live free.