San Francisco: Our Uniquely American, Great European City
I’ve always thought of San Francisco as one of our great US cities. In fact, it is one of our most European cities, but with added flavors that are uniquely American. Think: “turn on, tune in, drop out”, competitive yoga, gay pride, Asian fusion, and “Full House”.
Having visited in the past, we could skip some of the requisite activities like cable car rides, Alcatraz, the “Painted Ladies” and America’s most crooked street. Instead, we decided to check out the Mission District neighborhood, which is in major transition and considered an up-and-coming, yet still alternative area.
Since it was another sunny, beautiful (and actually quite hot) day, we used one of the Hop-On buses and Uber to get around and quickly check out some of the city’s progress.
The Mission District was a big disappointment. It is indeed changing. There are lots of small restaurants, lots of construction and unusual shops. The restaurants did not entice us, the shops skewed young and the crowds were certainly eclectic. Some individuals were downright unsavory and we decided to head off to Fisherman’s Wharf to cool off closer to the water, and have a bite in a more scenic (if not gourmet), setting.
As the morning unfolded, I had several updated requirements: buy a lightweight top, change tops, find a decent bathroom, and consume a large Diet Coke with lots of ice. These things were quickly accomplished as soon as we hit the tourist area by the waterfront.
After lunch, we took the bus over the Golden Gate Bridge. The guide was a real character and gave a colorful and interesting narrative packed with local anecdotes. I was proud of myself for sitting on the top of an open double-decker bus going over the bridge – it was terrifying.
In any case, we’ve eaten some fine meals here – from the iconic Tadich Grill to incredible Chinese-style Dungeness crab at R & G, breakfast at Sears Fine Food (best bacon ever) and Tyler Florence’s The Wayfair Tavern.
Since we are staying at The Fairmont along with the PGA players, we’ve smiled at Jordan Spieth (this year’s Master’s winner, for my non-golfers readers) and seen Matt Kuchar.
Our room has a great view of much of the city and it proved to be a great vantage point for watching dozens of police, motorcycle officers, secret service and numerous black cars and vans, blockade the entire area and secure the hotel for the Prime Minister Abe of Japan. It was great entertainment, PM Abe is here about the bullet train.
On our final afternoon, we had some typical local weather – the temps dropped rapidly, the fog rolled in and the Golden Gate Bridge faded from site.
It must be time to head home.