When I first arrived in San Francisco, nearly a decade ago, I wandered around the Marina breathing in the brisk coastal air, hearing the ding-dings of passing cable cars, and remarking on the awesome sight of the Golden Gate Bridge, which is clearly visible from the piers. This vibrant city held marvels which I had never seen before. It was a no-brainer to make San Francisco my new home.
Since moving here, I’ve had many opportunities to relocate. However, this city has left an indelible mark on my life, which makes it difficult to move away. Who I am now is a direct result of all the valuable experiences that only San Francisco could offer me. It’s urban, packed with nature, brimming with history, innately multicultural, and sports an entertainment calendar that never (ever) sleeps. Here are some of the reasons why I chose to live and teach English in San Francisco – and may never leave!
Packed with nature
I live two blocks from Golden Gate Park. (Think Manhattan’s Central Park, only a little bigger – if you can believe that!) The park spans nearly half the city, from the beach almost all the way to Market Street. It sports a Botanical Garden, Japanese Tea Garden, museum of art, as well as the California Academy of Sciences. It’s also home to several meadows – and a herd of buffalo (yes, buffalo!) which have inhabited the park since the 1890s. I spend hours kicking back with friends on the green, watching baseball games or free concerts, and exploring all the tucked away treasures this park has to offer. Another bonus? From the park my commute to EF is approximately forty-five minutes. If you’re thinking of moving to San Francisco, leave your car at home: the city has a reliable transportation system. Plus, ride-sharing apps are very popular. When I’m in a hurry I never have to wait for more than a few minutes, or pay more than $10-15 to use them.
A vibrant history
When you think of San Francisco’s literary history, a couple of individuals immediately come to mind. Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were two of the nation’s most beloved Beat poets. They undoubtedly reshaped the literary fabric of the nation as well as paving the way for numerous artists, both locally and internationally.
The Beatniks’ stomping grounds were in North Beach, located right next door to another historical San Fran hang out: its more than 100-year-old Chinatown. As seen by day, Chinatown is a bustling area of commerce. By night, it transforms into what local author Gary Kamiya called, “a phantasmagorical kaleidoscope of glittering lights”.
Additionally, the city is home to one of the most famous 18th Century Franciscan churches, known as Mission Dolores Basilica. The church’s cemetery is the resting place of many notable local Native American tribes, such as the Ohlone and Miwok, along with some early pioneers that traveled from the East.
Intersection of cultures
Now, more than ever, celebrating our differences has become a point of much pride and significance. San Francisco and the Bay Area is one of the most diverse regions on the west coast. People from all over the globe have relocated to this city and made it one of the most thriving and culturally rich areas in the U.S. Migrants, refugees, and even English teachers like me, can all call this beautiful city home. San Francisco’s history spans many centuries and has been written by various authors from diverse backgrounds. It’s home to people from across the globe and is, truly, a multicultural place.
There is never a dull moment in San Francisco. No matter where you live in the city or what your interests are, entertainment abounds. Do you enjoy exotic cuisine? In San Fran you can dine out every night of the year and never eat the same dish twice. Is nightlife your thing? When the lights go out in the city, the party begins. The Bay Area has some fine comedy clubs, and friendly neighborhood taverns are never far away if you’re looking for somewhere a little more low-key.
The only drawback, however, are San Francisco’s exorbitant rent prices. The tech industry has made living within the city quite pricey, but affordable housing is not a pipe-dream, if you’re willing to share your apartment with a few roommates.
Nearly a decade has passed and my journey in San Francisco continues. It remains a no-brainer to stay here. It’s become my home. I hope that while I grow and change, the city remains close and welcoming.