I moved to San Francisco nearly a year and a half ago. Before I moved here, everyone told me it was the best city ever. When I asked why, they couldn’t be specific. I heard a lot of: “it just is.”
This is my attempt to share a few specifics about San Francisco, but also to compare them to other cities which have been claimed “the best city ever”. My goal is not to prove San Francisco as the best, but to show you why I feel these places claim to be the “best city ever.”
San Francisco + Portland
Not all the things listed are exclusive to San Francisco or Portland, but they’ll give you an idea of how San Francisco and Portland make me feel.
San Francisco: Fog
Each day the morning fog rolls into San Francisco Bay, pushing its way through the Golden Gate Bridge, drifting up and over the Marin Headlands, and burrows against shoreline piers. Then, more often than not, it stops before consuming the city itself. It's a scenic display of the sea, sun and the wind interacting.
When traveling to Portland, people are going to warn you about the rain. However, after conversations with Portland locals, it seems the biggest secret is: It doesn't rain that much. It’s a little gloomy and occassionally drizzles, but totally manageable. Also FYI, raincoats and umbrellas are not cool in Portland.
San Francisco: Blue Bottle Coffee
With many incredible San Francisco coffee shops to choose from, Blue Bottle has always stuck out to me as a SF classic. Visiting a Blue Bottle is a special experience. Baristas make one cup at a time, grinding the beans, stirring the grounds while pouring. This makes grabbing a cup of coffee a lengthier process, but the company believes that each cup is made to order and is meant to be consumed right away.
Portland claims itself to be America’s specialty coffee capital. They do have quite an intimate coffee experience, and Stumptown helped create a new level of coffee appreciation and enthusiastic experimentation in the city. It’s hard to find a bad cup of coffee in Portland, but no trip should be complete without a stop to Stumptown.
San Francisco: Burritos
One thing San Francisco has over Portland is its access to a decent burrito. In Portland, it seems like the burrito makers have only an abstract idea of what a burrito is. San Francisco may not have invented the burrito, but it arguably perfected it.
A donut resurgence is taking place in Portland, it’s hard to go a few blocks without the temptation of another bakery or food cart with gourmet donuts. A few of the celebrity donut shops are: Blue Star, Voodoo Donuts, Donut Byte Lab, Mama’s Minis and Donut Queen to name a few.