“Oh the Richmond District. Yeah, it’s nice. Sort of sleepy though. And sooo foggy!”
Those are probably the most common characterizations that I hear about my neighborhood when I meet people in the city. And like many stereotypes, there’s a little bit of truth to it, but mostly exaggeration.
Yes, the Richmond is mainly residential and “sleepy”, but as the owner of RichmondSFBlog.com, I can tell you there’s no shortage of things going on.
We’ve got award-winning authors stopping by Green Apple Books, Thursday and Friday night shindigs at the Academy of Sciences and the de Young every week (not to mention world class exhibits), live music at our local bars and pubs, and your pick of the best parks and recreation in the city.
Speaking of which, I think that’s probably my favorite thing about living on the western end of the city. From my front door I can walk to great vistas at Lands End, quiet trails in the Presidio and overlook stunning sunsets at Ocean or Baker Beach. For me it’s like having the best of the city and the best of the country, all in my backyard. I rarely go on the same walk twice.
Yes, there’s fog. But fog is cool. Have you ever been in Golden Gate Park before the sun comes up, jogging your way through tendrils of mist? I have during my morning boot camp class and it’s pretty magical.
We get more than our fair share of fog out here, but I think it makes us appreciate the clear days so much more. Even on a foggy day, you’re guaranteed to get a spectacular sunset at Ocean Beach.
We welcome a lot of San Franciscans to the Richmond District for the food. We’ve got Chinese, Thai, Burmese, American, Italian, Mexican, Eritrean, Moroccan, Filipino, Russian, Japanese – I could go on and on. Some are little holes in the wall with 5 or 6 tables that people try to keep secret, while others are earning Michelin stars. We like it all.
Occasionally I take “walkabouts” around the neighborhood. Sometimes just to get some air, other times to see if I can stumble across ideas for the blog.
When I’m out, I’m always intrigued by the diversity of the Richmond District. I’ll stop in a hardware store to pick up a few things, then stop for dim sum on one block, and then find myself gazing up at the blue points of a Russian Orthodox temple on the next. Businesses and people come and go, but the diverse spirit of the neighborhood never changes.
The Richmond District has a rich history with its beginnings as a sandy outpost for weary city dwellers. Many made the passage out to the Cliff House and Sutro Baths by train, all in an effort to escape the hum of downtown San Francisco. Eventually people realized that living in the “Outside Lands” was feasible; the only sand you’ll find now is at our picturesque beaches.
So in the spirit of the earliest San Franciscans, I guess I am still escaping the hum of the city, except that I get to live it every day. Even with the fog, the Richmond District is the best of both worlds, and my favorite neighborhood in San Francisco.