Smile, You’re in San Francisco

Uncategorized Posted Mar 24, 2016 by Jennifer Torode

I must say, I really do adore the city of San Francisco. I’ve been there several times over the years and have seen many of the tourist attractions like Fisherman’s WarfLombard Street, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and ventured beyond the city walls to Napa Valley but this time, I visited with no set agenda.

Me and SF March 2016

Me near the wharf. In San Francisco, it’s wise to have a jacket on hand as one minute it’s warm, the next it’s freezing. Just say’n

San Francisco has such a different vibe from Boston—more laid-back and eclectic. As a disclaimer, I love Boston because, “Boston you’re my home” but people from San Francisco just seem happier and more willing to shoot strangers a smile just because. The city is adorn with beautiful rolling hills and varied landscapes—such a different backdrop than I’m accustom to on the East Coast.

San Francisco offers endless options for dining and sipping cocktails at all hours, some with outdoor sidewalk seating under awnings where people watching is at its best and who doesn’t enjoy watching the charming bygone school cable cars and streetcars (trollies or trams) slowly make their way up and down the streets—a pinch of the past that still has a part in the play in this vibrantly modern city.


Cafe’ Flore, Market Street, San Francisco | Awesome sidewalk seating for eating and sipping cocktails

FACT: Cable cars were invented by Andrew Hallidie in 1873 to transport people up the hills of San Francisco. Today, San Francisco’s Powell-Mason, Powell-Hyde, and California Street lines are the only ones left in the world.

San Francisco Red Pacific

One of the many beautiful streetcars in San Francisco

A friend was keen to take me to Sunday brunch at her favorite little greasy spoon diner called Orphan Annie’s in the Castro District, which is commonly referenced as The Castro and one of the first gay neighborhoods in the U.S. As we made our way via a vintage green streetcar from the Tenderloin District, I asked how she knew about this hidden gem and she said had randomly found it years ago while exploring.  Anyway, Orphan Annie’s did not disappoint.  From the freshly squeezed orange juice, plates of food fit for a king/queen to the hodgepodge decor and the super witty and friendly server behind the counter, brunch was a blast.  After brunch, we leisurely strolled down the streets taking in all sorts of passersby and storefronts.


Orphan Annnies

We smiled warmly at a group of men in drag wearing colorful feather boas, tall wigs and gorgeously exaggerated painted faces, strutting to their Sunday fun-day destinations.  We saw men and women holding hands, men and men holding hands, couples with baby strollers, people walking their dogs and the list goes on. Just an ordinary Sunday in The Castro— eating, drinking, shopping, talking, laughing and meeting up with friends old and new.


One of the storefronts we passed was once the camera shop of Harvey Milk—an avid amateur photographer who was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California and responsible for passing a strict gay rights ordinance. My friend said that in 1978, Milk was assassinated along with the city’s Mayor George Moscone by a former disgruntled political peer.  To be honest, I had heard about Harvey Milk but learned far more about his accomplishments and the man he was while visiting The Castro. Outside Milk’s former camera shop is a sidewalk memorial plaque dedicated to him. His store was once a refuge and social center to many young gay people coming to the city looking for acceptance.

Harvey Milk

Sidewalk memorial plaque in front of the once Castro Camera

FACT:  The Moscone Center, which was named after the fallen Mayor, is well known to millions of people; including many of CHEN PR’s clients who are in cybersecurity as one of the world’s top cybersecurity events, RSA Conference, is held annually at the Moscone.


Moscone Center, RSA Conference

Despite the incredibly high rents and home prices, I can see why so many people choose to call the City by the Bay their home and why people like me, love to visit.