San Francisco
Jan, 2015
City Population : 837,442
City Area : 600.6km²
Urban Population : 4,516,276
Urban Area : 9,128km²
Districts/Wards : 10 Neighborhoods (Unofficial)
Nicknames : San Fran, Frisco

Why San Francisco??

When I was in High School, being a typical American teenager, everywhere I’d go I’d take advantage of my new found freedom and drive around in my parents’ old beat up minivan. And wherever I’d go, I would always play my favorite radio station in the background--94.7fm Alternative Portland. The acoustics in the minivan were terrible (and that’s putting it nicely), but that didn’t stop me from rocking out on whatever new or classic tune was being aired. One day as I was chugging through rural Beaverton, ”Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” by Baz Luhrmann started playing.

To all of you who are unfamiliar with this song, it was originally a column written by Mary Schimich, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune at the time, about what kind of advice she would give for a commencement speech. The column was then turned into lyrics by Baz Lhurmann, the Austrian movie director, and eventually into a song. The lyrics start by saying, “If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it” (hence the title), then goes on and lists other thoughtful and unique advice. The one part that has stayed with me, even until now, was the advice: “Live in New York City once but leave before it makes you hard / Live in northern California once but leave before it makes you soft”
(Read the full lyrics at: luhrmann.html)

That’s why I always thought to myself, “I’ve got to live in San Francisco, once in my life!!” But the song is really only the tip of the iceberg. There’s Silicon Valley and its plethora of high aspiring startups and ventures. There’s Castro Street and the LGBT mecca. There’s Berkeley and its history of hippie culture. There’s Chez Panisse and its introduction of producer based cuisine. There’s Napa valley wine (need I say more?). And there’s the fact that San Francisco is now the most expensive city in the United States to live in, beating out New York City.

Being born and raised in Portland OR, Seattle was always our older brother, both geographically and culturally. San Francisco was like that distant cousin, the one with all the accolades, the one relatives would praise at family reunions.

Cousin Frisco, here I come.