There are a lot of things to love about this place—its sweeping panoramic views, quaint trolley cars, and mellow climate are all world-famous. But for us folks that call the City by the Bay home, it’s the little things that make it marvelous. In this second installment, we’ll take you from day to night in our look at the the bright spots that keep our hearts burning for San Francisco and the Bay Area.
At only 0.8 acres and perched atop Russian Hill is one of the city’s tiniest parks. What Ina Coolbrith Park lacks in size is more than compensated by some of the most stunning views of the city in, well, the city. Oh, and it was named after a pretty interesting lady.
On any of the many benches that line the hillside park, you’ll enjoy unobstructed views of downtown, much of the Bay, and the Bay Bridge. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll share company with a crew of chatty parrots, also featured in our previous look at what makes San Francisco great.
Pre-Salesforce Tower shot from Ina Coolbrith Park
No rust. That’s one of the best things about owning a car here. And it’s this lack of oxidation that keeps lots and lots of vintage cars on the roads by the Bay. Take a walk through any neighborhood and you’re bound to bump into a VW bus from the Summer of Love, a daily driver-survivor 1957 Chevy Bel Air, or any number of neon rides from a bygone era.
San Francisco has something of a love affair with the automobile, despite having some of the worst traffic in the world. One SF family loves them so much that they built a private collection of more than 250 vehicles that’s worth north of $70 million. And arguably the best car chase scene in movie history was filmed in the crazy hills of my Russian Hill neighborhood.
Captured in San Francisco, clockwise from top left:
1) A late 1960s Ford Bronco in Pacific Heights on Washington
2) 21-window VW Bus in Russian Hill on Polk
3) 1953 Ford Customline Club Coupe in Nob Hill on California
4) 1950 Chevy Deluxe in The Mission on Valencia
All of this automotive romance makes parking in the city a real challenge. My solution? The Smart Fortwo BRABUS. With its sneaky sporty handling for trips up to Mendocino, it’s surprisingly safe, and features a seven-speaker sound system crammed into the space of a large fridge that’ll slide into just about any parking spot you can throw at it.
I just keep my fingers crossed that vandals won’t flip it over in the middle of the night.
Mine on the right and one of its neighborhood friends on the left.
Pretty sure Russian Hill has the highest density of BRABUS models in the world.
You’ll find this throwback to the Beat Generation nestled snugly between North Beach (aka Little Italy) and Chinatown on mural-lined Jack Kerouac Alley.
The double-decker bar’s walls are lined with art and memorabilia that acts as a counter-culture roadmap back to its launch in 1948. Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, and, of course, Jack Kerouac frequented the spot. And don’t forget that after a glass of absinthe, you can ramble across the alley, with a brief pause at the street musician, to the world-famous City Lights Bookstore to further expand your mind.
Photo courtesy of former mayoral candidate and
San Francisco staple Stuart Schuffman (AKA Broke-Ass Stuart)
There’s something magical about the way the sun paints our skies in dreamy purples, pinks, and blues. And while it seems like sorcery, there’s some science behind those intense colors. Thanks to San Francisco native Karl the Fog, our sunsets are refracted in the dazzling display of color you see above. What a way to end the day—and this post.
Captured from my roof on Thanksgiving Day, 2017
That’s it for me. Tune in soon (and read Part 1 if you haven’t) for more little tidbits about what makes SF one hell of a place to call home.