Day 373

Wow! I completely misjudged the size of San Francisco. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve been frequenting smaller cities as of late, but I just had no idea how massive SF was. If you add in the rest of the bay area—cities like San Jose and Oakland—the scope just grows and grows. I don’t foresee myself running out of things to do this month, that’s for sure.

That’s why, for the first time on our journey, I actually sat down Friday night to plan out my weekend. Usually, I just tend to wander around until I find something cool. But I’ve had so many recommendations flood in over the past few weeks; I don’t have nearly enough time to visit them all. So, sadly I’m forced to pick and choose my destinations this month.

So, I went about hitting up as many of these recommended locations as possible. On Saturday, I started out with the biggie—the Golden Gate Bridge—and then ventured east to Ghirardelli Square. They're both located on the north side of the city and there’s no denying that the area is absolutely beautiful. You can’t help but feel relaxed as you walk down the beach with the waves crashing in the background. Once I finished up there—and soaked my shoe via a rouge wave—I headed south and caught a glimpse of the tourist trap known as Lombard Street. I didn’t dally there too long though; instead opting to snap a quick picture and be on my way.

Next, I ventured an hour or so southwest to check out Amoeba Records. Now, I’ve been to a lot of records stores across the country at this point and I was still in awe when I walked through their front door. It’s huge! I’m talking Best Buy or Target huge. There are just endless rows of records, CDs, DVDs and music memorabilia. I think I ended up spending a good two hours there, just sifting through their stock. Seriously, if you’re a music fan, you have to visit Amoeba once in your life. It’s like a haven for collectors. As the day turned to night, I wrapped things up with a quick dinner at Cha Cha Cha, another recommended spot. It didn’t disappoint and I’m definitely glad someone put it on my radar.

The following day, I decided to keep things pretty relaxed. I started out by attending a 49ers / Raiders tailgating party in Mission Bay. It was jam-packed with fans—I’d say at least 200—and located in the SoMa StrEat Food Park. They had a rather impressive selection of food trucks, accompanied by a few giant TVs sprinkled throughout the area. I had a good time chatting it up with locals, even though they didn’t really enjoy my love of the Browns. After the game, I grabbed a beer at Anchor Brewing, before journeying a bit north to 21st Amendment Brewery—one of my absolute favorites. I immediately got to ordering a Hell or High Watermelon and then kicked back to enjoy some more football for the rest of the afternoon.

All in all, I’d say it was a rather eventful weekend. I hit up several of San Francisco’s neighborhoods and even got a chance to bond with some locals. If I learned one thing about this city though, it’s that no matter where you go there’s always a beautiful view just around the corner.

-Steve-

Day 365

WE MADE IT!

#TGAA officially kicked off one year ago. It all started at Recess Creative in Cleveland and now—here I am—waking just a short distance from the Golden Gate bridge in warm and sunny (kind of) San Francisco. Tomorrow, I kick off my tenure at the Evolution Bureau, which is Stop #13, but as for today it’s all about exploring the bay area. In fact, for a portion of the day I’m actually venturing over to San Jose for a meet up with friend and #TGAA sponsor, Baunfire Interactive. I've known them for quite awhile at this point, so it'll be nice to finally see the team in person. 

I arrived into town early yesterday morning and was immediately met with what I can only describe as a light monsoon. It made for a rather difficult time getting groceries and settling in, but a few soggy walks later and I somehow managed to get the job done in the end. For as well planned as this trip as been, I’ll admit I really did fail at avoiding winter… and rain for that matter. But, oh well, you have to take what you can get, I suppose.

At first glance, this city reminds me of a mix between New York City and Seattle. The downtown area is dense with street performers, name brands and endless high-rises, while the suburban areas are quaint, laid back and full of life. On the surface, it seems like a pretty ideal mix to me. And being on the bay, you’re also getting incredible views just about everywhere you look—and that’s never a bad thing.

Aside from the beautiful scenery, I’ve already come to notice that San Francisco is unique in many other ways too. From the style of their houses to their appreciation of the arts, this city is a rather fine introduction to what California has to offer. On a personal level, the AirBnB I’ve rented couldn’t be more ideal either. It actually brings to mind my stay in Chicago, because the place is really nice but the neighborhood is just a tad on the sketchy side. The area I’m in is called the ‘Tenderloin District’ and it’s pretty obvious that it’s going through some sort of transition right now. I’ve heard good things about it, but it seems not everyone would agree with those opinions (including Wikipedia).

That’s about all I have for today. I didn’t sleep much on the train ride in and the entire weekend is still kind of a blur. All I know is, I really hate the person who decided to defecate all over the bathroom across from my sleeper car. It made for an extremely uncomfortable ride, but that's also a story I’m sure no one wants to hear about. 

Just believe me when I say, “I glad to be in San Francisco.”

-Steve-