Last week I was in San Francisco for a business trip and brought my husband along for the ride. It’s a beautiful place, and I’m glad I visited. Considering how expensive the city is, it’s doubtful we’d ever live there. We had just four days in San Fran, so our time was limited (and I had to work). My list is nowhere near comprehensive, but here are my thoughts about the city.
What to love about San Francisco:
- The sights.
- Fisherman’s Wharf, including Pier 39. Lots of shopping, touristy things to do. Great view of the bay and excellent food. Musée Mécanique features antique coin-operated games that are hard to find anywhere else. Lots of options for boat tours.
- Twin Peaks. The best 360 view of the city to be found.
- UC Berkeley. One of the oldest and more famous universities in the Western US. Fun to see if you can stand the pedestrian traffic.
- Golden Gate Bridge. You can’t visit San Fran without seeing the city’s most famous landmark.
- The Bay. It’s breathtaking- there’s really nothing more I need to add about it.
- Weather. I might be slightly biased because the weather was perfect while we were there (and I’m used to rainy Oregon). It was sunny nearly every day with temperatures mainly in the low 60s. There was some occasional fog and rain, but for April it was nice- definitely better than Oregon. I’m sure others would disagree and say that the weather is awful, but it was quite enjoyable while we visited.
- People. Everyone was friendly and accommodating, especially restaurant and hotel staff. San Fran felt a little like Portland, to be honest.
- Things to do. Entertainment is expensive, but there are endless options. Movie theaters, sports/outdoor activities, good restaurants, etc. It’s an active city and I can see why people like living in the area.
- Restaurants. San Fran offered a multitude of good restaurants (almost too many). My favorites in no particular order were the Townhouse Bar & Grill in Emeryville and Pier Market Seafood off of Pier 39.
What not to love:
- Housing prices. Depending on the neighborhood, our house would easily have cost at least 3 times what it did in Salem. It is incredibly expensive and most people have a much lower standard of living simply because the demand for homes is so high.
- Traffic. Work regular business hours? Forget about getting to the office in a reasonable amount of time. People that bike to work seem to have the right idea here…
- Weather. It might have been perfect while we visited, but I’ve heard that San Fran weather leaves more to be desired. It is often cold in the summer when it is warm most everywhere else. So while it can be great, it can also be awful.
- Bridge tolls. This wasn’t THAT bad, but add this to the traffic and it makes it that much more painful. I can only imagine how much money the city collects every day with each car paying $5 to $10 just to cross a bridge…
- Prices in general. Everything is more expensive. Hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, etc. Everything comes at a premium in San Fran.
In summary, I loved the city. I would definitely visit again, but I probably wouldn’t live there unless we came across a small fortune. It’s much too expensive and you can live at a much higher standard just about anywhere else (except maybe other parts of Cali). There’s lots to do and see, but this is definitely a place that will stay on my “would like to visit” list not “would like to live” list.