A Beginner's Guide to San Francisco

Ah, San Francisco. Home of the $1.1 million dollar median house price, the invasion of the "evil techies" and that infamous fog that will inevitably roll in right around 4pm and ruin your wonderful summertime picnic.

I love it here. People will complain about everything and anything, and I admit that I sometimes complain about this city too. I've had the pleasure of living here since 2000, an east coast transplant looking for a more laid back way of life. San Francisco is a small city, 47 square miles and a population of around 830,000, which was perfect for me, someone craving city life without the frenetic pace of NYC.

We bought our home eight years ago and are fortunate enough to live two blocks away from one of the most beautiful parks in San Francisco. With just a quick walk up a steep incline roughly the size of the Matterhorn I can take in the stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands. The hills are dotted with fragrant eucalyptus trees, colorful wildflowers and mountains upon mountains of dog poop. From this mini oasis I can escape the sights and sounds of the city and clear my mind without any distractions.

Except for the two men having sex in a patch of daisies. In broad daylight. Apparently San Francisco is still the city of free-love. But please don't let this deter (or encourage?) you from visiting...

  • There are so many amazing places to eat here I couldn't even begin to list them. From inexpensive taquerias to Michelin stars, there's something for everyone. I'm an oyster and seafood nut so The Swan Oyster Depot is my go-to.
  • It's true what Mark Twain said "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." Bring layers! And gloves. The best time to visit is September, when the fog is gone and the sun is warm.
  • Get to the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero. Here you'll find shops, restaurants, and an amazing farmers market on Tuesday & Saturday.
  • Stop at a lemonade stand if you see one. Some of the best around, and you'll most likely find gluten-free & organic options. No, I'm not kidding, San Francsico kids are savvy.
  • Do take a cable car ride. Yes it's "touristy" but who cares, it's something so unique and fun to this city.
  • Have a drink and a view. The Top of the Mark is perfect. Just time it right, I went on a foggy night and couldn't see a thing.
  • Take a walk through Golden Gate Park. I never get sick of this park, it's larger than Central Park in NYC and is home to The de Young Museum and the California Academy of Sciences. The city shuts down traffic through the park every Sunday. Great way to practice your mad roller-blading skills.
  • If your gay - perfect!
  • Check out the street art in the Mission. Banksy painted a rat, but I didn't see it in time.
  • Bring your dog. San Francisco is incredibly dog friendly. Just pick up his or her poop, otherwise my dog will eat it. Does anyone know how to stop this?
  • It's true what you mother always said: Look both ways before you cross the street. This is especially true in this city, I've almost been run over several times.
  • Where to stay? My favorite downtown hotel is The Hotel Zetta, with "hidden" murals in the stairwell, and The Inn at the Presidio, a quieter choice with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

San Francisco has been good to me and my family. My kids are fortunate to go to one of the top public schools in the city, and best of all, my husband's job will cover the cost of a sex change operation if he chooses to take that path in the future. Super deal, if you ask me.

So come for a visit, but whatever you do, don't call it Frisco.