San Francisco: The Golden City.

With its rolling streets, beautiful Victorian and Queen Anne style row homes, and long, interesting history, San Francisco is a unique and vibrant place. A city with many nicknames, it’s been called the City of Love, Fog City, Golden Gate City, Sunset City, The Golden City, and The Paris of the West. It’s home to famous U.S. icons like The Golden Gate Bridge. and Alcatraz Prison, Alcatraz: Welcome to The Rock.. It’s a city known for its extremely steep streets, high cost of living, tech jobs, and deep-rooted hippie culture.

Lombard Street.

Founded in 1776, the oldest still-standing structure is the Misión San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores), built that same year; however, the earliest archaeological evidence of humans in the area dates to 3000 B.C. The city was officially incorporated in 1850 after the 1849 California Gold Rush brought thousands to the Bay Area, making it the largest city on the west coast at the time. In 1906 the great 7.9 San Francisco Earthquake hit, which also caused a devastating fire and destroyed about 3/4 of the city. After being rebuilt, it became a major port during WWII for soldiers to embark to the Pacific Theater. After WWII and into the Vietnam War, during the 1960’s and 1970’s, it became a major cultural hub, a place known for peace, love, unity, and the Hippie Movement. San Francisco has held onto this vibe ever since.


There are countless things to do, like heading to Golden Gate Park for the wonderful lakes and meadows. Or spend an afternoon at the famed Pier 39, a popular shopping area with street performers, California sea lions, and the Aquarium of the Bay. Take a drive by the iconic Painted Ladies, a historical landmark symbolic of the prosperity of the Gold Rush. Next there’s the famous Lombard Street, a picturesque street known for its extreme curves. Then there’s Chinatown, a very cool place to spend an afternoon, as it’s one of the oldest and most established Chinatowns in the entire United States. You can also see the famous Dragon Gate here. There’s also Fisherman’s Wharf, one of the city’s busiest tourist spots, filled with souvenir shops and stalls selling seafood and other goods. Or head to San Francisco City Hall, a massive 107-year-old building built in the beautiful and grand Beaux-Arts style architecture.

The Painted Ladies.
San Francisco City Hall.

Also, make sure to take a drive along San Francisco’s world-famous steep streets. Some of the steepest streets include Bradford Street from Taylor Street, Filbert to Leavenworth Street (featured in the video below), and Bradford Street from Tompkins Avenue. If that’s not enough, there’s also Haight-Asbury, the Palace of Fine Arts, Ferry Building, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Exploratorium, California Academy of the Sciences, Mission Dolores Park, San Francisco Botanical Garden, The Walt Disney Family Museum, San Francisco Cable Car Museum, Grace Cathedral, 16th Avenue Tile Steps, Coit Tower, North Beach, Conservatory of Flowers, and sooo much more.

This photo is not altered in any way.
Going down one of the steepest streets in the city – Filbert Street to Leavenworth Street.

One downside – the price. San Francisco is typically listed as the city with the 3rd highest cost of living within the United States, after Manhattan and Honolulu, respectively. The cost of living is 38% higher than the state average and 94% higher than the national average, with housing alone being 238% higher than the national average. Rental prices are the 3rd highest in the country, with an average rent around $3,000 per month. Combined with utilities and other necessities, to live comfortably in a one-bedroom apartment, one must have an average monthly income of almost $8,000, or about $93,000 a year. To buy a house and pay the average $10k per month mortgage, buyers typically need an income of $400,00 a year. The overall price of goods in San Francisco, including apparel and food, necessities, education, medical expenses, recreation and transportation services, was 19.8% higher than the national average, according to federal data in 2022. So, when visiting, be prepared to spend some $$$.

Dragon Gate of Chinatown.

If the vibe of San Francisco was embodied in a person.

Overall, regardless of the high price of things, San Francisco is probably one of my favorite U.S. cities to visit. The weather is enjoyable, the architecture is beautiful, the city is vibrant, and there are countless things to do. What I’ve mentioned in this blog is truly just a drop in the bucket. To be completely transparent, the city has acquired a reputation for high crime and homelessness, which is unfortunate. It is strongly suggested to never leave anything within view inside a parked car, plus be sure to remain vigilant when out and about. However, it’s still truly such a colorful and cool city, and one must visit San Francisco at least once!

Until next time, San Fran!

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