Tuesday, July 16, 2013

In search of even-bluer America

I'm going on vacation! To San Francisco! For a few days! In a few days! While readers of WWPD might think I'm just another jet-setting grad student, it's been a long time since I've gone anywhere other than the nearby cities and towns, incredibly long if you don't count going away for a specific work or family reason (such as, for example, an imaginary Belgian in-law getting married).

So! Those of you whose experience of San Francisco goes beyond my own - I was there as a kid and have only the faintest recollection (apologies to my parents, who paid for and dealt with a kid - me - on what may have even been two such trips) - what's not to be missed? Also: what's not to be missed, burrito division. Food generally.

If this is at all relevant, I'll be staying in Japantown, partly because it's cheaper than going to Japan, and partly because that's where it's possible to be not too far from everything yet stay in a nice (from the sound of it) hotel. Also partly because the place one is supposed to stay - Union Square - seemed from Google Maps to be notable mostly for department stores, and not that there's anything wrong with department stores, but eh. (The Japanese mall, however...)

8 comments:

Jeff said...

Fourbarrel Coffee - it seemed to be full of indolent grad student types.

Jeff said...

If you're going to factor a somewhat upscale Italian meal into your visit hard to pass up the salumi offerings at Perbacco

Jeff said...

Crustacean gets dazzling reviews, in my opinion it may have been a smidge over-rated relative to its press, but it's not all that expensive either (relative, I know) so what the hell.

Phoebe said...

Jeff,

Thanks! And that does look like some excellent hipster coffee. Re: price, while I'm not looking at whatever the San Francisco equivalent of Per Se is, it's sufficiently once-in-a-blue-moon that I go on vacation that I'm not thinking in the budget terms I would in NYC or Philadelphia (or, I suppose, Princeton).

Jeff said...

One thing in San Francisco that has not changed since your childhood and needs an update is the Muni logo

Matt said...

It's been several years since I spent significant time there, but I found Japan town to not be very Japanese. I recommend walking around a lot if you can. I liked the Castro neighborhood a lot (I would switch from the tram to a bus, or just walk from there.) SF is very small, so you can walk lots of it, if you don't mind hills. (Street maps there should be topographical, really.)

It's a very easy BART trip to Berkeley, and that might be worth an afternoon.

Walking across the Golden Gate bridge is a bit touristy, but also pretty fun and scenic, really.

I do recommend against spending much time in Golden Gate Park. It's sort of the Central Park of San Francisco, even the same designer, but much less fun and interesting, in my experience. Most of it is bordered by fairly residential areas, almost suburban feeling. Except for the Haight-Ashbury area at one end, the area around it is mostly dull, and it's not in the middle of things like central park is, so not really something you can just happen to go to.

The views from the Russian Hill area are quite great, and the "twisty" lombard st. is pretty neat to see.

There are surely better things to do, but I liked Green Apple Books quite a bit, on Clement St. between 6th and 7th Ave.

Petey said...


"If this is at all relevant, I'll be staying in Japantown, partly because it's cheaper than going to Japan"

FWIW, I concur that SF Japantown is a bit lame. Mitsuwa Marketplace alone is more interesting, IMHO.

(And as far as "cheaper than going to Japan", ever since they finally put that Shinkansen station inside the Mitsuwa Marketplace, not only has that been the cheapest way to get to Japan, but taking the high-speed train is even cheaper than flying to SF.)

"So! Those of you whose experience of San Francisco goes beyond my own ... what's not to be missed?"

Bizarrely, I'd actually recommend renting a car for a day and tooling around a bit. Not only are the hills within the city fun, but it's also pretty fun heading over the bridge to Marin for an afternoon and exploring.

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"I'm going on vacation! To San Francisco! For a few days! In a few days! While readers of WWPD might think I'm just another jet-setting grad student..."

You have persuaded several tens of your blog readers that these fictions are your real life, but we are increasingly annoyed by your blatant lies. We also worry for you that, as the days pass, you will not produce a single additional chapter of your dissertation. What do we do?

Phoebe said...

Matt,

Thanks! I am planning to check out Berkeley as well, so suggestions for that are welcome too.

Aaron (whose comment disappeared),

Thanks - I may check that out!

Petey,

This supermarket should really be paying you.