I Heart My City: Nancy’s San Francisco

sanfrancisco.jpgHey there, city fans! Today’s city comes to us from Nancy Brown, who tells us why we should leave our hearts in San Francisco!

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San Francisco is My City

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is Fisherman’s Wharf.

When I crave dim sum I always go to Chinatown.

To escape people I head to Angel Island.

If I want to shop I go to Union Square.

If you come to my city, get your picture taken with the Golden Gate Bridge.

If you have to order one thing off the menu from Fisherman’s Wharf it has to be the clam chowder.

The Ferry Building is my one-stop shop for great food, Cowgirl Creamery for cheese and gourmet chocolate.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I go to one of the many Farmer’s Markets.

For a splurge, I go to Nancy Oakes’ Boulevard restaurant.

Photo ops in my city include boats and sea lions and the best vantage points are from Pier 39.

If my city were a celebrity it’d be Milk Oscar-winner Sean Penn–SF can take on many personalities and welcomes both gay and straight people.

The most random thing about my city is the Gay Pride Parade.

My city has the most professional single women wishing there were not so many gay men.

In my city, an active day outdoors involves running or walking up hills.

My city’s best museum is the de Young (and check out the Exploratorium with kids).

My favorite jogging/walking route is Marina Green.

You can tell a lot about my city from attending local street festivals in the many neighborhoods.

You can tell if someone is from my city if they wear sweatshirts in the summer.

In the spring you should visit Alcatraz or Tulipmania at Pier 39.

In the summer you should bring a sweatshirt & long pants.

cablecar.jpgIn the fall you should ride the Powell St. Cable Car.

In the winter you should spend the night in the city and go ice skating.

A hidden gem in my city is Stow Lake.

For a great breakfast joint try Sears Fine Food on Powell St.

Just outside my city, you can visit the Muir Redwoods in Marin.

The best way to see my city is by Zeppelin Airship Ventures.

If my city were a pet it would be a Labrador retriever; lots of energy, loves the water, and has an easygoing personality.

If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live in Contra Costa County: the burbs, yet only a BART ride away.

The best book about my city is San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 or Frommer’s San Francisco Day by Day.

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is Journey’s “When the Lights Go Down in the City.”

My city should be featured on your cover or website because everyone leaves their heart in San Francisco.

Photos: Steve W. Lee and jrodmanjr via Flickr


  1. Chistne David
    San Francisco
    March 20, 2013, 6:47 am

    I am the biggest fan of SF. Thanks very much for characterizing San Francisco in your “I Heart My City” series. This is wonderful. Keep going on …..!!! I read the What a Trip Travels from SF blog. Please stop by http://oneyearinsanfranciscobook.blogspot.com/

  2. Paul
    December 9, 2012, 1:10 am

    The ride on the cable car has stayed with me as quite memorable one, and especially how they turn around that tramway – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvtBZ2Jxmn4


  3. San Francisco restaurant guide
    July 14, 2011, 2:16 pm

    Great tips, thanks :) I love living in SF!

  4. Patti
    April 27, 2010, 5:15 pm

    Having lived in the Bay Area for over 35 years I can say I still never get tired of San Francisco. It is such an eclectic, cutting edge and unusual city. The people take pride in their city, it’s diversity and wide range of interests.
    My personal favorite San Francisco attractions are:
    1. Ride a bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. It gives you a whole new perspective of the city and it’s a great place to take a picture!
    2. Take a ferry from Tiburon to Angel Island or from the Ferry Building San Francisco. I just recently biked the whole island and there weren’t a lot of people doing it because of the hills so I had the roads to myself.
    There are actually about 30 employees who work and live on Angel Island – without central heating believe it or not.
    3. Eating sourdough bread from Boudin’s with real butter. They have the best and chewiest bread in the city. I can’t leave without taking a loaf – which they slice for free for you – home.
    I’ll end my post with a question – Does anybody know when the sea lions are coming back?!!”
    I love SF!

  5. Adam
    November 12, 2009, 6:20 pm

    I think the best way to see San Francisco is by booking a vacation package that will save you money on airfare, hotels, and local attractions. When you aggregate your purchases – you pay less and that’s why I prefer booking one of several San Francisco Vacation Packages over individual itineraries.

  6. runlikeagirl_sd
    October 21, 2009, 12:52 pm

    I was just there in San Francisco this past weekend for the Nike Women Marathon and let me tell you, I left my heart in SF and want to go back to get it but stay there for good! I absolutely loved it. I’ve been to SF before in the past as a child and teenager but would be with family. My tour guide and cousin Eric took me all over on Saturday. We had lunch at a cute little Panini place than went shopping around Union Square. It was packed though because of all the visitors coming for the marathon, but just as fun. Union Square is a great place to people watch and absorb the electrifying city both day and night. SF is one of the few places in California where you will find men wearing pea coats in October! Alamo Square in Pacific Heights is a dog park and a must-see for Full House fans (you can see their house) and Victorian homes architecture. Littl Italian for Authentic and delicious pastas. Go to E Tutto Qua for homemade pasta and fun Italian waiters “fresh off the boat” (our waiter actually told us this when we were there!). Enjoy S.F. and all the wonderfulness and diversity it has to offer!

  7. architecture photographers singapore
    August 17, 2009, 11:01 am

    art of san fransisco..really nice

  8. conito
    July 20, 2009, 2:28 am

    Thanks for the great info on San Francisco! I did leave my heart there. It is such an amazing city. Check out my two favorite hotels, the Crowne Plaza Hotel San Francisco and Hilton San Francisco.

  9. karly
    June 20, 2009, 7:47 pm

    Recently on our San Francisco Vacation trip, we were able to get a great deal on San Francisco Vacation Rental. We chartered a sailboat for a day, it was magnificent and romantic sailing through the bay, especially under the Golden Gate Bridge. This is an incredible city.

  10. Cheap Flights to New York City
    April 1, 2009, 7:54 am

    Thanks a lot for this wonderful post.
    Cheap Flights to New York City

  11. Harry, ExposedPlanet.com
    March 22, 2009, 1:30 pm

    Hi guys, thought I dropped by again (got here via Twitter), currently cycling from Alaska to Ushuaia.
    Just spent 5 weeks in San Francisco, will write my blog post on http://WorldOnaBike.com soon, but you can already see what my camera saw those weeks on Flickr:
    It is the people that makes the city wonderful, forget all the ‘sights’ and just wander around and meet people, SF is great.

  12. Nancy D. Brown
    March 17, 2009, 4:16 pm

    Thanks for your suggestions, Elliott.
    How could I have forgotten to include Bay to Breakers? I have walked this race in the wind, rain and sunshine. Don’t forget to bring your tortillas to throw in the air for the start of the race. Very random, indeed!
    And about this Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 39 thing.
    While the wharf is not necessarily MY favorite place to visit, a lot of my out-of-town friends insist we go, so I included it.
    The albino alligator at the Academy of Sciences is pretty random, too.

  13. Elliott Ng
    March 17, 2009, 3:54 pm

    (First: a disclosure. Nancy also blogs on my blog at UpTake.)
    I like both Alex’s SF and Nancy’s SF.
    Out of town visitors?
    1. avoid Fishermen’s Wharf and Pier 39 like the plague.
    2. go to Ferry Building – quintessentially SF.
    1. Love A16 in the Marina!
    2. Also really liked Michael Mina for an uber-splurge.
    3. Plenty of more affordable places. Like Fresca in Pacific Heights.
    Favorite Outdoor Spot:
    1. Crissy Field
    2. Cafe at the end of Crissy Field, with expensive Alice Waters’ conceived PB&J sandwiches
    1. Huge Bloomingdales near Market St. and 5th.
    2. Hayes Valley for bohemian stuff
    3. Noe Valley 24th St. for upscale neighborhoody stuff.
    Random thing:
    How about “Bay to Breakers” run? That’s pretty random…and pretty representative of the culture of SF.
    How about Glide Memorial? Uber-liberal gospel church experience in the Tenderloin (a blighted area)

  14. Nancy D. Brown
    March 17, 2009, 3:22 pm

    Isn’t it wonderful that everyone has a different take on San Francisco? That’s what makes our city so unique.

  15. Alex
    March 17, 2009, 1:42 pm

    Hi Nancy,
    As a San Franciscan, golly, you come across as nearly delusional to me! When you say you take your visitors to Pier 39, and Fisherman’s Wharf and and the best thing to eat at Fisherman’s Wharf is.. etc — I start to feel dizzy. Pier 39 is the tourist TRAP of San Francisco, but hardly the gem! I would never take my visitors there, you’re not showing them San Francisco! Instead, you’re showing them all of middle America that has come to San Francisco. You come across to me as having the perspective of a very privileged (i.e. “best shopping in Union Square” = supporting big retail stores/ child labor/ outsourced jobs instead of finding all the amazing boutiques and artistic gems this city is actually known for!) and a bit out of touch. And the most random thing in SF is the Gay Pride Parade?! Honey, are you kidding me? San Francisco is the GAYEST city in the America! Wake up, that’s not random at all, that’s an integral part of the city’s identity. The one line I could agree with was your take on museums, both the De Young and Exploratorium are magical. This city is amazing and I hope you can actually walk around on the ground where it’s easier to see — come on down from that “Zeppelin Airship Ventures” — and maybe you’ll find the creative and colorful local neighborhood charm our city has to offer.

  16. Nancy D. Brown
    March 16, 2009, 5:17 pm

    Thanks very much for featuring San Francisco in your “I Heart My City” series.
    I write the What a Trip Travels from Northern California blog. Please stop by http://www.Nancydbrown.com