09 April 2008

City Lights

I've been looking for the heart of San Francisco for a long time. I feel like every time we come up here, I'm trying to figure out what defines SF. I'll go to other cities craving certain foods, particular experiences, and looking forward to getting something unique to that area. With San Francisco, I can never seem to find it. I've done Fisherman's Wharf, the Mission, North Beach, Union Square, J-Town, Inner Richmond, Financial District, the Marina (where my sister lives), Haight-Ashbury, and spent a whole day wandering all over the city on foot.

Reputed for great shopping, good food, and a potpourri of people and experiences, I'm usually underwhelmed by all of the above and more impressed with SF's bookstores. The landmark that's made the most impact on me? The Six Sisters of Full House fame. Seriously. I haven't found much in the city to be overly excited about or that different from something I couldn't readily find elsewhere. Yet many people I respect and admire pledge allegiance to the Bay. I must be missing something.

Maybe the answer to the whole "Who is San Francisco" question is that it can be anything you want it to be? It can be an excellent night life city or it can be the domain of outdoorsy types -- or you can mix and match pleasures. On the plus side, there's certainly a lot of culture and interesting activities going on, but I'm rarely here long enough to consistently partake in much of anything. Perhaps therein lies the problem. San Francisco seems like it might only reveal its secrets to me if I stick around for awhile.

If that's true, then it's perhaps the most commitment-centric city I've encountered so far. Commitment. Sigh.