The City— A Little Guide

Golden Gate Bridge

"The Golden City,” "The City by the Bay,” "San Fran,” "SF"— San Francisco has many names. Having lived here for a while, I'm comfortable calling it simply The City. Why do I call it The City you may ask? Well, let me show you and then you’ll understand. 

When I close my eyes and think about San Francisco, I don’t see landmarks, or crowds of people, or sourdough bread (although I did before moving here). I see people relaxing in the park, or enjoying a chilly morning at the beach, or sipping a drink in a little hole-in-the-wall cafe —the perfect places that make San Francisco—The City—feel like home.

Now, you’re probably thinking: Where are these little places? How do I discover them when there’s so much to explore? 

To that, I’d say you find your special places by going out into the city and exploring. But in the spirit of sharing, I’ll name a few spots that mean something to me. 

The Views 
One of my favorite spots to look out over the city is Telegraph Hill. It’s a bit of an adventure getting to the top, but if you’re up for it, I recommend using either the Greenwich Street Stairs or Filbert Steps. The paths meander through residential gardens, and I often see the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill in the trees. 

The Food 
On the corner of Stockton and Filbert Street, you will find a very special entrance leading into Liguria Bakery. This bakery isn’t any ordinary bakery— it has been around since 1911 and only sells fresh uncomplicated tasty focaccia. Walking in, you’ll see a simple list of flavors and a member of the Soracco family waiting to help you. I’ve learned to arrive just before opening, cash in hand, as the focaccia sells out quickly. If you’re planning on climbing up Telegraph Hill, I find that a relaxing focaccia breakfast near Coit Tower always hits the spot. If not, I’d sit in Washington Square Park— it’s beautiful and is located across the street from the bakery.

And I cannot forget: The Coffee
Tucked away in the Castro is an absolutely stunning spot called Reveille Coffee Company. They serve coffee, bakery items, and food, but what I love the most is how the place allows people to connect. There are only two power outlets, so most of the people sitting are taking time to be with the people around them that matter.

I don’t want to give away too many places, because I want you to find yours.
 But for me, walking— seeing— exploring— living in San Francisco is experiencing the little places on every corner, after all, it’s what makes this city, with these little places, The City— The Place. 

Ava Harmon ’21