san francisco

San Francisco

tony bennett says “he left his heart in san francisco.” i feel as if we got the better deal…our hearts are in san francisco.

we love our city. it’s a growing, exploring love. it’s birthed out of our desire to claim jeremiah 33.9:

“and this city shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good I do for them. they shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.”

we want you to come alongside us and love our city. whether it’s a vacation, a business trip, or you want to uproot and move here.

here are some strong values in our city:

tolerance. people tolerate your views and values which makes most open to hearing your beliefs and how you do life.

less is more. eliminating waste, caring for the environment, reusing and composting are actions that lead to “less is more” philosophy.

community. urban farms, adult kickball teams, co-ops, and neighborhood block parties are just a few ways people link up and form communities.

giving back. people care for the homeless. corporations and start-ups take days off to clean the streets together. a pair of socks for the needy is admission to events.

diversity. the culture is a melting pot. you see it costco, on the school yard, and street corner. languages fly around as the various species of birds. collectively, the city thrives because of this value.

local sells. few chain restaurants and bookstores thrive in the city. people rally and support their own who rise up and begin their own thing.

here are some discovered facts about our city:

summer is the coldest

an sf parking ticket = the price of a night at the hyatt hotel

rent is expensive, but if you count all the parks, playgrounds, views, and experiences, you factor into the price!

fisherman’s wharf is for tourists only. you need only go once.

college football is not the main event on fall saturdays.

layering is key. never leave without a jacket (and I’d add a scarf for added warmth)

kids don’t go to school according to where they live, but rather the family lists the top 7 public schools and the choice is assigned through a lottery system. it’s a science and requires a special degree to understand. and we’re a public school family.

entertainment is provided free of charge on any public transportation.

food. there is nothing like it here.

the city finds any reason to celebrate.

the list is always growing as we become more san franciscan. here’s what we love:

off the beaten path: {in other words, not fisherman’s wharf}

TCHO (that’s how you say the beginning of the delicious word, chocolate) made here in San Francisco. you can tour their factory for FREE and sample their amazing chocolate. as my friend, praise, puts it well, “you’ll never look at chocolate the same again.” and she’s telling the truth.

the local scene

Philz Coffee. several locations throughout the city. for coffee lovers only.

Dynamo Donuts (the maple bacon one will cause you to never eat another kind again)

kid-friendly restaurants & outings

toast on 24th street

barney’s on 24th street in noe valley

bob’s donuts in nob hill

la corneta tacos/burritos in glen park

squat and gobble (kids eat free on tuesdays)

north beach pizza on grant street in north beach

presidio hikes and trails

date days/nights

town hall

foreign cinema

brioche donut with espresso cream at arlequin cafe in hayes valley in the garden out back

tony’s pizza and washington square (a climb to coit tower if we’re feeling like burning calories)

slanted door and walk along the embarcadero

perusing the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market on Saturday with 6,789 other people, including local chefs

my top outings

mandalay + green apple books + seedstore +asian market for fruit/veggies

la taqueria (on mission street; ranked #2 in USA Today for best taqueria) + thrift stores on mission & valencia streets + mission playground + 826 valencia store + tartine bakery

chinatown + playground + kit’s store for scarves (627 grant ave.)

drive down the 1 (pacific highway) between pacifica and half moon bay where the eucalyptus smells grand and the cliffs are majestic

renting bikes from sports basement in the presidio/crissy field + biking to the base of the Golden Gate Bridge + picnic lunch + burying feet in the warm sand afraid to feel the cold sting of the bay waters

farmer’s market (ferry building on tuesdays, thursdays, and saturdays) but most neighborhoods have swell ones, too.

in pacific heights, don’t let all the high-end shops fool you. enjoy a slice of pizza for cheap and use the money saved for macaroons & cruffles across the street. {but my favorite store is on filmore…athleta!}

a visitor’s guide to san francisco:

research the neighborhoods. of the 14, each has a unique vibe and atmosphere. seriously, if you want what the common tourist gets, then you’ll be fine at union square, fisherman’s wharf and ghirardelli square. don’t get me wrong, all great places, along with the golden gate bridge and at&t park. but to truly get a feel for the place we call home, set off for a neighborhood.

the same goes for food. if you look hard enough, you’ll find a restaurant you’ve heard of and is familiar. but i challenge you. try a new place. but always check the reviews. they’re not all 5 stars…though we’ve only had one bad experience.

should I rent a car?

i wouldn’t. hotels charge for overnight parking and anywhere you drive, you’ll pay to park. public transit can get you almost anywhere you want to go.

what’s the difference between MUNI and BART?

MUNI is the train and bus system in the city of san francisco. If it’s a number, then it’s a bus. If it’s a letter, then it’s a train.

BART is transit around the bay area. you can take this from the airport into the city.

just to throw a curveball, there’s the CalTrain. it has only one SF location and heads south of the city with great stops like palo alto, stanford, and burlingame.

should we bring our kids?

that depends. have you and your spouse had a getaway recently? if not, just the two of you! it’s a romantic city with quaint european restaurants in north beach (little italy) and cole valley. walks along the bay come decorated with lights at night and sweeping views by day. linger at coffee shops, explore golden gate park, or escape to muir woods.

yet…this is definitely a city for the kids!

children’s creativity museum

san francisco zoo

california academy of sciences

walt disney museum

mitchell’s ice cream 

AT&T Park (SF Giants)

house of air

and the pacific ocean is always free!

what must i pack?

good walking shoes

layers (jacket, scarf, regardless the season)

an idea of what you want to see (the city can overwhelm a first timer; know what you want to see)

where should we stay?

you’ll pay more staying downtown, in the heart of the city, but pay less in transportation that way.

it’s cheaper to stay down by the airport or in daly city, but you’ll spend time and money transiting in.

our mission teams often stay at the pickwick hotel which is on 5th street between mission and market.

our airbnb! it’s a studio for two people with a bathroom and a private entrance.