Our environments shape our lives. The paths and people outside our doors influence our feelings, journeys, and perspectives. If you love exploring and appreciating your city or town, then I am writing this post for you. I hope you feel inspired, open, and curious about the unique beauty outside your door.
Three years ago, I moved to San Francisco for three main reasons: I wanted to work in technology, to have walkability and bikeability, and to enjoy the sunny California weather. I feel enchanted by this magical city, flaws and all.
I want to share with you my perspective on the beauty, grace, drive, openness, progressiveness, flow, and general awesomeness of the city. These are all photos I took during my city adventures ❤. Find a relaxing place and let the words and images flow through you, listening to your inner responses.
#1. Dolores Park Hang Outs
People and connections are everything. At Dolores Park, you will find all sides of the human experience. Anywhere from sophisticated wine and cheese picnics and chill smoke circles to stunning acrobatic performances and strange dancing naked men.
The park feels both wild and inviting. You will never be the craziest or loudest person there. At Dolores Park I feel free to be my full self, to listen to my body, and to try new things. I was lucky to discover acro yoga at the park, and I fell in love.
Dolores Park feels like a shared gem. It remains a well-kept, versatile park where you meet, explore, create, play, relax, and savor the flavor of the city. This summer I feel blessed to have found a home by this stunning park ❤.
#2. Skyline Views Everywhere
San Francisco’s famous hills provide numerous spots for gorgeous skyline views. At Bernal Heights, you can see 360-views of the city, bay, streets, and neighborhoods. There’s even a long rope swing at the top highlighting the city’s lightness and playfulness.
When you get to the top, go towards the west side, lift your arms up, and walk down slowly. The view, slow decline, and winds feel magical. I feel grateful to have lived by beautiful Bernal Heights.
#3. Embarcadero Bike Rides
The Embarcadero provides a long, mostly-flat biking route that leads you right to the Golden Gate Bridge. On sunny days, you’ll be rewarded with this breath-taking view.
Starting at the Ferry Building, you’ll bike through crowds of runners, bikers, commuters, tourists, beach-goers, weight-lifters, dog-walkers, etc. You’ll move through the Maritime Park beach, the Great Meadow Park at Fort Mason, Fisherman’s Wharf attractions, and tons of incredible Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge views.
You can even bike across the bridge to Sausalito and take the ferry back when you’re ready for your next adventure!
#4. Ocean Beach Runs
Ocean Beach runs provide so many different vibes in such close proximity. I love running along the beach. I always walk away feeling inspired and full of wanderlust.
Starting at Lands End, you’ll have plenty of running space, gorgeous views, running inspiration, and options for post-run activities. The beach includes an entrance to Golden Gate Park, entrance to Judah street — full of cute shops, restaurants, and cool coffee and brunch spots. If you’re around at night, you can start up a bonfire with your friends to enjoy the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
#5. Golden Gate Park Adventures
Golden Gate Park is an incredible, mostly-flat, super versatile, long, and well-kept park. The classic Botanical Gardens are one of my favorite stops when I visit. The park has plenty of space to get lost and clear your mind. I was also blessed to have lived right next to this park, and I loved it.
Golden Gate Park has so many different areas and groups of people that you will definitely find a vibe that resonates. You’ll find yoga classes in the gardens, violin players, swing dance groups, disco roller skaters, quiet forest paths, long running routes, huge baseball and soccer fields, museums, relaxing fountain areas, a massive stage for orchestra performances, and much more. I would need several more paragraphs to begin to do justice for this beautiful, versatile park, its location and options.
#6. Street Art Exploration
Whether you’re into museum art or street art, art fills the spaces around you in San Francisco. I feel constantly in awe of how beautiful and quirky all the painted buildings are. Many artists have put in the time and attention to create massive murals that often include powerful messages, i.e. acceptance, freedom, LGBTQ or BLM movements, cultural histories, societal challenges.
San Francisco has done an amazing job at welcoming and accepting creative expression. Wherever you’re adventuring, you’ll find entire buildings covered with gorgeous, thoughtful art. Seeing street art everywhere makes me feel thought and grateful for the co-creation.
#7. Secret Neighborhood Parks
Precita Park is one of the more under-rated parks in the city. Similar to Dolores Park, you can relax, create, play, hang out, and be yourself. Unlike Dolores Park, this park has a softer family vibe and tends to be less crowded. It covers a long flat space and has cafes at each corner for snacks, lunch, drinks, anything you’d need to have a lovely picnic. I always find picnics so grounding, and I love living by the parks.
#8. Hill Climbs Everywhere
San Francisco is notoriously hilly. If you live in the city, you will develop some serious climbing tolerance, and you are almost always rewarded with stunning views.
You can see sweeping streets, neighborhoods, greenery, shrubbery, flowers, and new little paths everywhere you go. Also, in the true San Francisco spirit, there are bits of art and self expression on nearly every corner. You’ll see thoughtful, often silly, displays from your neighbors, which make me feel welcome and at home.
#9. Creative Freedom
Whether you paint pictures, write poems, play music, wear elaborate costumes, do roller disco, make pottery, tell stories, or any other art form you enjoy, there’s a place for you in San Francisco. We have so many groups of artists for anything you might want to do.
The coffee shops display local art. The streets host musicians. Classes, groups, studios, and stages hide throughout the city. I once went for a picnic with a friend in Golden Gate Park and stumbled onto a massive opera performance. If you want to explore your masculine and feminine sides to the fullest, San Francisco has everything. If you want some quiet nature time, mountains, forests, and hiking trails are easily accessed as well.
#10. Gorgeous Sunsets Daily
The sunrises and sunsets always feel so magical, especially when you have views like this. This city has so much sunlight that brings so many magical moments. On your way home from adventures, you’ll likely turn around to see views like this. These sunsets nourish my soul. I feel a sense of wonder at the beautiful world I live in. I feel so blessed to live in San Francisco.
This article barely begins to do San Francisco justice. This city feels truly magical. I haven’t even begun to describe all the fur babies (dogs) you’ll see everywhere — fluffy, small, huge, cuddly, playful, old, you name it. Some even bring their cats on adventures with leashes and strollers.
We have cool tech hacks for everything, like not needing to wait in line for the bathrooms anymore- we have an app for that. We have strong political activism, with passion for social movements. You’ll see BLM signs and rainbow flags everywhere.
I love this city so much, and I hope everyone has a chance to experience it. I have had so much fun writing this article, and I hope it gives you a taste of the city vibes and ignites your inner adventurer.
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