Colorful graffiti brightens up San Francisco's Mission District
Colorful graffiti brightens up San Francisco's Mission District
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San Francisco Spotlight

Hugged by water, blessed by nature, brimming with cool restaurants – the City by the Bay is eternally appealing, but now it offers fresh reasons to visit

By Brook Wilkinson

July 22nd, 2010

As an East Coast transplant who’s put down roots in San Francisco, I’ve come to love my adopted home for many reasons, not the least of which is how it has weathered the recession. It’s not just great food and culture that give San Francisco its allure; there’s something about the mentality here, a stacking of priorities that puts pleasure near the top and hours worked toward the bottom.

Ever since the first large wave of settlers arrived during the 1849 gold rush, this city by the bay has thrived on the twin philosophies of optimism and entrepreneurialism. More recently, the roller coaster of dot-com booms and busts left San Franciscans well prepared for the latest downturn. For many, it wasn’t the first fortune they lost, and it might not be the last. While my old neighbors in New York were wondering how they’d ever rescue their 401(k)s, my new friends took a deep breath, put down the quarterly report, and went for a hike.

Because San Francisco – like its denizens – is ceaselessly reinventing itself, it’s as satisfying to visit the 13th time as the third. Visitors who a decade ago might have steered clear of seedy Hayes Valley will now find it rife with boutiques and home to a burgeoning urban farm movement. Some of the city’s hottest restaurants are flourishing in the unlikely shadow of the Giants’ stadium, AT&T Park, and even parts of the waterfront have been deemed cool enough for locals to trawl during happy hour.

For those visitors seeking more than a stroll down Fisherman’s Wharf or a cable car ride up Powell Street, click on the links (above right) for a primer of San Francisco neighborhoods to visit now. 

Glimpse the eternally appealing City by the Bay's newest haunts via our San Francisco slideshow by photographer Tara Donne.

For more trip-planning info, see our San Francisco Travel Guide, then search for San Francisco travel deals

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