San Francisco

Arguably the most beautiful city in the USA.
Item added by jamestkirk. Added on 10/06/2003
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28 Reviews

slickear
02/28/2011

San Francisco 3

San Francisco. The City. I used to love living and working there. But then, I also used to like to play in sand boxes. Things change.

The good:
(1) Great climate. The air is recharged everyday by the wide Pacific Ocean. Even the foggy days are romantic and even mysterious. Of course, I've seen a lot of tourists in shorts and t-shirts freezing their backsides off. Most read too many brochures about 'sunny' California and may have a slightly different opinion about things.
(2) The sights. Few things are more beautiful than the key sights of San Francisco; the Golden Gate Bridge, views from the hills, Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, the Marina District. Just don't get too close to some of them.
(3) Things to do. The city has everything; a theater district, China Town, Union Square shopping, the beach, world class museums. Just be sure to bring your wallet.
(4) Great food. I love sea food and Asian Cuisine. Because of this, San Francisco is a mecca to me.
(5) The people. People in the city are very diverse and make for good neighbors and friends. Yes, the city is noted for a vibrant gay community, but I'll leave it up to the gentle reader to decide if that's a wonderful or an iffy thing. For me, it's just what makes San Francisco what it is.

The bad:
(1) Parking. Leave your car at home or make sure you know the chief of police. Tickets for parking violations are expensive, and it's nearly impossible to find anything outside of a pricey garage or lot.
(2) Housing. To live in San Francisco, you are either (a) rolling in dough, (b) willing to spend most of your earnings on rent, or (c) happy to crash anywhere with a roof. I never swam with high rollers, but spent a lot of time with the other two categories. If you don't have a lot of income, you may end up living outside the city limits.
(3) Social Goodness. Some folks like living in progressive communities. They stand up for the oppressed and misunderstood of the world. Swell. So does San Francisco. Unfortunately, a lot of this grandstanding has a cost that has to be covered by the tax payers. And San Francisco has a lot of social goodness.

The ugly:
(1) Crime. Yep. San Francisco has plenty of crime, some petty and some deadly. An office I worked in was once broken into. A short time later, an employee at the same location fell for a scam that required all of our fire extinguishers to be 'inspected'. She was surprised when the inspector disappeared along with those extinguishers.
(2) Homelessness. The city boasts an active cadre of beggars, bums, and the occasional hobo. The alleys smell of urine and worse, and on a warm day your nose will warn you well in advance as you approach one of these creatures.
(3) Mother Nature. Every once in a while mother nature likes to give the area a good shake. The last time this happened I was on the Bay Bridge. I was lucky. A lot of people were not. All the earthquake codes in the world will not make a San Francisco 100 percent safe, and everyone who lives in or visits the city is really just gambling the next big one won't happen for another 100 years.

My recommendation. Don't be shy. Be sure to visit San Francisco. Just don't be surprised if you don't leave your heart there.

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Votes on this review: 2 Helpful / 0 Funny / 1 Agree / 0 Disagree

kamylienne
02/12/2011

San Francisco 4

Very pretty little city to visit.

With the picturesque views of the city and bay, it's hard to not be captivated by its charm, if for even just a moment.

With my limited exposure to the city (walking up the full length of Columbus Ave, over to Ghiradelli Square, over to Fisherman's Wharf, down the length of the Embarcadero through all of its odd-numbered piers, over to the Westfield Centre, over and up the entire length of Grant Ave through Chinatown and into Telegraph Hill, then some limited walking through the Fillmore area), I found the city to be relatively clean (compared to other cities I'm more familiar with) and non-threatening. I see some complaints about the number of homeless people, but I hadn't seen that many (at least not nearly as much as most other cities I've been to; ever been to Atlanta?)

Sure, a lot of areas are touristy (Fisherman's Wharf), but that's to be expected in any large enough city. There are plenty of other places that aren't so tourist-centric that are great to visit. It IS a little pricey, the tax rate is pretty high.

One word of advice: have good sneakers. Seriously, if you're there for business, and you're not used to walking the city, don't try to wear your heels through the city. Get a bag and bring your heels with you. Better yet, just get some nice flat shoes if you can pull it off. The relatively sharp inclines of the streets will be a challenge for the non-initiated as it is.

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Conus
08/31/2010

San Francisco 5

Some of the friendliest people live there, and of course, the Haight-Ashbury section is home to the messengers of sanity, the Hippies. :)

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Kind67
07/24/2010

San Francisco 5

San Francisco is one of the most memorable and enjoyable places that I have visited. In fact, since I am a lifelong Los Angeles area resident and therefore don't live too far from it, I have made many trips there--all of which I was more than satisfied with. That's not to say it's perfect--no city (to my knowledge!) is and I will list its weaknesses as well. One thing I will also point out is that San Francisco seems to be the mirror opposite of Los Angeles. By that I mean, many of San Francisco strenghths are weaknesses of Los Angeles and many of San Francisco's weaknesses are strenghts of Los Angeles. But there also some similarities between the cities as well.

Strengths (listed in no particular order)

1) public transit--San Francisco has a great public transit system, although it's expensive. Besides the famous cable cars, San Francisco has a great city subway, city buses, suburban buses, suburban subway (Bart), and CalTrain which is a train that goes from San Francisco to the Silicon Valley and San Jose via the Peninsula cities.

2) really attractive city design that makes you feel like you're in Europe--narrow streets, lots of pedestrians, cool neighborhoods.

3) lots of pedestrain friendly, large parks within the city and in the surrounding Bay Area as well.
Golden Gate is the most famous, but there are many others as well.

4) great restaurants in every price range and in numerous cuisines. I don't recall ever having anything less than an above average meal in the city. If you're a vegetarian, you'll love it here, as they have tons of vegetarian-friendly restaurants.

5) lots of interesting, distinctive, and diverse sights to see.

Weaknesses (again listed in no particular order)

1) weather--the weather is often cloudy and visibility isn't good as the city gets foggy frequently and the temperatures are much cooler than in Southern California. But this can be considered a strength in one aspect since it adds to the atmosphere of the city.

2) very hard to drive a car in with lots of steep hills, narrow and crowded streets, and strict--although warranted in my opinion--traffic regulations. Also parking is difficult and expensive as well. Frankly I don't mind this weakness since the public transportation is so good in the city.

3) very expensive city to live in.



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kjSean
11/28/2009

San Francisco 2


Pretty disappointing with all the hype. A bit too old for my taste, and not too much places to have fun. Way too crowded.

The best place is probably Fishermen's Wharf.

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Spike65
02/25/2009

San Francisco 5

Great city to visit. One of the most international cities in America. Lots of interesting touristy things to do. A better than average public transit system. Not a great place to drive around in a car. Parking is hard to find and quite expensive. Also the part of town you will want to avoid isn't the Castro, it is the Mission District. The pungent smell of urine will let you know when you are gettig close to it.

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CarrollCountyK id
11/29/2008

San Francisco 3

I worked there for a while after I got out of the army.  I worked on the docks.  Then one day I got shaped up with a crew to unload a shipload of bird guano from Chile.  I headed back east.

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rgsproule
11/29/2008

San Francisco 3

Other than maybe NYC, this is the best place to live if you are a single professional over 30. Tons of well educated, beautiful women. Great architecture and interesting neighborhoods. Huge array of outdoor activities. The bad: dirty streets, cold foggy summers, high number of homeless people, no parking, ultra left politics & expensive housing.

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Loerke
01/01/2007

San Francisco 5

I lived in SF through the first three years of Gavin's administration but had to leave for the East Coast for job-related reasons in 2006. SF isn't America's greatest city (as some of its permanent residents would have you believe), or even America's greatest place to visit. It is, however, the best place for a single person or a couple with a good job to LIVE in the United States, period. The city is stunningly gorgeous, whether it's the Golden Gate side, the bayside, or the oceanside; has the least climatic variation of any city in the world (averaging 49 in the winter, 60 in the summer -- your fashion will never change!); consistently ranks as having the nation's best, cleanest public transportation system; has (to second other reviewers) the best eats I've had in any city in the world; and features a wonderfully open culture (even conservatives will privately tell you that they'd rather live in a liberal place -- can liberals ever really make the same claim?). Strangers aren't maybe as approachable and friendly as they are in places like Boston, but the many civic festivals are a blast. Museums are okay but shows are better. The downsides are the obvious ones: extremely high cost of living, still some need for a car, no living for families whatsoever, few good schools (at any level), and lots of homeless people (but the fact that they all choose to live in SF tells you something, doesn't it?). Oh, and never refer to it as "Frisco."

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Votes on this review: 8 Helpful / 0 Funny / 1 Agree / 0 Disagree

guamwolf
11/25/2006

San Francisco 4

Great City. Eclectic lifestyle. A touch of the east in the west. High priced living, but pay is comparable. Love the people.

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sixty7a
05/14/2006

San Francisco 1

Fruits, nuts and flakes i think they call it.

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37102002
01/25/2006

San Francisco 3

living in sf is a challenge. i lived here for a year, so i know. first, unless you have a six figure income, you will be living in a crappy apartment or house. plus, homeless people are everywhere stinking up the place. that said, the weather is very predictable, and you are on the cutting edge of a lot of trends. plus, it looks great.

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Votes on this review: 3 Helpful / 0 Funny / 0 Agree / 0 Disagree

manimau
12/30/2005

San Francisco 2

San Francisco is a city that has been extremely over-rated for what it actually is. The downtown is is not that beautiful and does not look very safe. To add to the negatives, the city including its suburbs is not clean. To top it all off, the cost of living is so high, especially apartment rent, that it is difficult to save money for average middle class families after covering up their living expenses. It perhaps is a nice town to visit, but certainly not for living.

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Votes on this review: 3 Helpful / 0 Funny / 2 Agree / 1 Disagree

Underspin
12/10/2005

San Francisco 3

My thoughts about this city are decidedly mixed, for many of the reasons previously posted here. Though the town has certainly seen far better days, I admit that since moving about 3-4 yrs ago I have not eaten nearly as well since. IMO the city has some of the best best restaurants in North America - and for every type of budget. Thai, Indian, Brazilian, Mexican, Russian...and frequently of the highest quality I've experienced anywhere. On the flipside, I DON"T miss being "spare changed" every ten feet, the horrible parking/towing situation there, sky high rent prices, and the superficial nature of so many annoyingly trendy, shallow people. And although I could never live there again, I will likely visit, as I'll always retain numerous extremely fond memories of a city that I actually met my wife in(!), so to me that obviously makes up for each and every negative flaws mentioned prior. ***1/2

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Votes on this review: 5 Helpful / 0 Funny / 0 Agree / 0 Disagree

stolypin
12/09/2005

San Francisco 1

Like most places in America currently run by socialists, San Fran used to be a very wonderful place, and anything still nice just hasn't been killed off or escaped yet. There are homeless people, drugs, crime, and garbage everywhere, children nowhere, unbelievable tax rates, corrupt local government, and middle income families cannot afford rent in even the worst parts of town. Also, the people are very closed-minded. I don't like using that word because I think people only use it when someone disagrees with them rather than actually "closed-minded", but in San Fran's case, I think it is true. Not only do most San Franciscans I've met reject the idea that people could have different opinions, they are actually openly hostile to the idea, even going so far as to silence decent.

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Votes on this review: 4 Helpful / 0 Funny / 1 Agree / 2 Disagree

ma duron
11/19/2005

San Francisco 5

Other cities in the U.S. offer excitement and/or charm in spades, but where San Francisco is concerned and, most importantly, above some of those other great cities, there is indeed a very undeniable something in the way of tradition, sophistication and class that must be experienced at least once.

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Votes on this review: 3 Helpful / 0 Funny / 1 Agree / 0 Disagree

JonTheMan
08/28/2005

San Francisco 5

There's no city in the world like good ol' San Fran. It's a city that has so many wonderfully distinctive facets to it: the steeply sloping terrain, the beautifully rustic cable cars, the vivid multiculturalism, the awe inspiring Golden Gate, the daunting isle of Alcatraz, the airport perched perilously close to the ocean and the one defining element for me; the sincere warmth and friendliness which all the people I've met there seem to exude. There's only one San Francisco.

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sfalconer
01/06/2005

San Francisco 5

Interest cross section of cultures and lots of things to see and do. Bring a jacket or a sweater, you are going to need it almost any day. If your not faint of heart and you have no back problems, take a taxi ride!

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Skizero
01/06/2005

San Francisco 4

a great city. lots of homeless though. Fisherman's Wharf is a tourist trap, but worth it just to go over to Alcatraz(i recommend the night tour). Personally i liked North Beach the best. I'm a Kerouac fan, so there was a lot over there for me in terms of history: City Lights and Vesuvios. Also, Chinatown is no slouch. I went to Haight, but it was a drag. a leftover hippie hovel made consumerist. some good bars there, however. Plus Ameoba Records is to die for.

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Wavebacker
11/22/2004

San Francisco 5

Awesome city! Very beautiful and scenic. Beautiful area - the Bay Area, as well. There's a lot to like about this place. If I had to nitpick it, I'd point out the large gay population could make some feel uncomfortable, cost of living is high. Not very diverse with minorities aside from Asians.

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jakemr33
11/20/2004

San Francisco 3

A great city to visit and site see. some restaurants are world famous, especially the clam chowder in a bread bowl on fisherman's wharf. Very interesting people living in SF, one of the very few cities where you can witness 2 bums fighting over a dollar and within 2 seconds see two dudes making out...crazy town....

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synapse
11/19/2004

San Francisco 4

Absolutely the most beautiful city in the United States in terms of sheer scenery. The Golden Gate bridge is stunning, the surrounding parks are beautiful, and the hills are spectacular. My only quibble with San Francisco is that the sheer expense of the city and recent dot com collapse has caused a lot of economic turmoil, and there are now a lot of homeless people up and down the slightly decaying downtown Market Street. But beyond that, San Francisco is easily the most stunning city in the country.

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Daccory
10/28/2004

San Francisco 4

Unfortunately it rained the entire two weeks I was here (except for my b/day) but I still enjoyed it. I was quite surprised that it didn't seem to have a big city feel...some parts are strangely 'provincial', but the view from Lombard is magnificent. For a foreign visitor, my picture of the Golden Gate Bridge span as we drove over it is a treasure. I blew the photo up and have it hanging on my wall.

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san_franciscan
06/12/2004

San Francisco 2

San Francisco's beauty and diversity are two of the most over hyped myths about this city. Having lived and worked for nearly 8 years in the city's financial district, I can attest that it is mostly an overcrowded, insanely expensive, dirty little town. Its highly touted cultural richness is nowhere to be found in the tourist driven Piers nor the sad attempts of 'diversity' that are China and Japan towns and little Italy, all of them fine examples of shameless main stream mercantilism, completely devoid of any true cultural value. The SF Bay is one of Northern California's most polluted bodies of water, with high concentrations of Mercury and other heavy metals. Districts like the Mission and the Castro are afflicted by streets filled with garbage, drugs and growing violent crime which now even rivals Oakland's, even downtown SF is periodically fraught with large homeless crowds and the ever present stench of urine. In short SF is now the sad, strung out shadow of a once great city.

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abichara
02/05/2004

San Francisco 5

San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The people can be somewhat eccentric, but it's part of the territory. It's location really can't be beat. The hilly terrain is the city's claim to fame. Adding to the beauty of San Francisco is the fact that the city is surrounded on three sides by water. The coastline along that region of California is incredible. The Fisherman's Wharf area is a bit of a tourist trap, but first timers can't miss it. The food is great here, especially crab and other seafood items. Pretty much you can find anything here. The only thing is that San Francisco is a very expensive city to live in. In fact, just to drive into the city from the Bay Bridge or Golden Gate costs anywhere in between 5 to 8 dollars. Gas is very expensive here and so is housing. But still, the location is simply beautiful. What makes it even better is that there are a lot of nice places within a short drive of the city. Napa Valley is to the north, to the east is Tahoe and Yosemite, to the south is Carmel and Monterrey. Probably one of the nicest areas of the country; I like natural attractions and California can't be beat for this.

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Cdeeznuts
10/31/2003

San Francisco 1

awesome place! if your gay.....

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Galomorro
10/07/2003

San Francisco 5

Despite our high cost of living, way high rents and unbelievably high prices to buy a house, I love my city and could not imagine living anywhere else. It rarely gets overly hot for more than a few days and we rarely get really cold weather (i.e., snow or winter temps under 40). We have lots of gorjus hills and water views plus lots of street fairs and other events, many of 'em free. Yes, DO come visit us everyone!

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Votes on this review: 4 Helpful / 0 Funny / 0 Agree / 0 Disagree

jamestkirk
10/07/2003

San Francisco 4

Despite its political flaws, it is the most beautiful city in America. Everyone should travel to Frisco at least once and see the beauty of the city.

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Votes on this review: 5 Helpful / 0 Funny / 0 Agree / 0 Disagree

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3.33
average based on 60 ratings