My San Francisco Bucket List

April 1, 2020

I moved to San Francisco a few months after graduating college. I had considered my college experience in New York to be a crash course in adulthood and was ready for a slower pace, a city that revolved around a different industry and a new adventure on the other coast. I’d visited San Francisco a handful of times and had a few friends there already, but I really hadn’t spent longer than a weekend there at a time. 

Once I was settled in, with an entry-level startup job and a living room-turned-bedroom, I was surprised at how long it took for the city to feel like home. Sure, my 35-minute walk to work took me along the same route every day, but I was just one of thousands of tech workers mindlessly walking from 4th & King towards Market and back. 

It probably took 2 years for me to truly feel confident about navigating the city on my own, I walked over hills and through different neighborhoods and learned the public transportation systems through trial and error. In that time, I brought our family dog to live with me, moved between multiple apartments, started and stopped gym routines, interviewed all over the Bay Area and changed jobs. New friends arrived, mostly fresh transplants from the East Coast, while plenty of others decamped for home, grad school, or jobs in other cities. 

Five years in, I knew my time in San Francisco was drawing to a close. I had grown comfortable and familiar with my neighborhood and my job, and I wasn’t venturing out for new experiences anymore. An old roommate-friend had reached the same conclusion around the same time, and we indulged in creating our own personal San Francisco bucket lists before we left. 

Here’s mine with commentary, as of May 2020: 

  • Get scrubbed at Pearl Spa - DONE
  • Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Climb Coit Tower - DONE
  • Go to Alcatraz
  • Join a wine club - DONE
  • Run Bay to Breakers - DONE, sans costume but I was going for time, not entertainment! 
  • Drive down Lombard Street - DONE, multiple times
  • Ride cable cars - DONE
  • Stay overnight in wine country - DONE, once
  • Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge - DONE, technically running across it also counts, right?
  • See a Giants Game - DONE, I suppose living near the ballpark had its perks
  • Have a bonfire at Ocean Beach - DONE, with plenty of fog, too
  • See the Painted Ladies - DONE
  • Go to Pride - DONE, and got to see the Gay Men’s Chorus do a boy bands-themed show one year
  • See a buffalo or bison in Golden Gate Park
  • Eat a bacon wrapped street dog - NOT done, but have witnessed friends eating and/or dropping their bacon wrapped street dogs
  • Go to the SF Opera
  • Go to the SF Ballet - DONE, I’ve shamelessly seen The Nutcracker multiple times, plus Swan Lake and other performances
  • Go to the SF Symphony - DONE, their movie nights are great
  • See sea lions - DONE
  • Eat at Boudin - DONE
  • Walk Land’s End - DONE
  • Rent a paddle boat at Stow Lake - DONE, at a work event
  • Eat at Swan Oyster Depot
  • Go down the Seward Street Slides
  • Go to the SF MOMA - DONE
  • Go to a sing-along at Castro Theater
  • Buy a book at City Lights
  • See Twin Peaks without fog - DONE, the fog made it harder than you’d think
  • Go to Treasure Island Flea Market - DONE, just in time before it ended and with friends 
  • Go to Outside Lands - DONE, with my sister
  • See the Ferry Building - DONE, tons of times and I’ve now gone upstairs for a party
  • Go to a free Stern Grove concert
  • Go to the Palace of Fine Arts - DONE
  • Eat a burrito in the Mission - DONE, multiple times at multiple restaurants, but my favorite is still La Taqueria
  • See the Fairmont Hotel Gingerbread House - DONE
  • Have afternoon tea at the Palace Hotel
  • Walk Lover’s Lane at the Presidio 
  • Go to Sutro Baths
  • Watch Fleet Week / Blue Angels
  • Go to Cal Academy - DONE
  • Go to the De Young Museum - DONE
  • Go to the Exploratorium - DONE, also for a work event
  • Go to the Legion of Honor - DONE
  • Eat at House of Prime Rib
  • Take a tour of the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
  • Swing on the Billy Goat Hill swing - DONE
  • Hike Mount Tam - DONE
  • Do the Cheese Trail in Sonoma - DONE
  • Climb Mission Peak
  • Go to the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival - DONE, semi-accidentally 
  • Climb Alamere Falls - DONE, and split my leggings 
  • Go to Baker Beach - DONE
  • Take a Tour of AT&T (now Oracle) Park - DONE
  • Go to the Gilroy Garlic Festival
  • Go to the SF Zoo
  • See fireworks on New Years Eve, without fog - DONE, on a rooftop 
  • Walk the 16th Ave steps - DONE
  • Go to the Japanese Tea Garden - DONE, with photoshoot courtesy of my #instagramboyfriend
  • Go to the Conservatory of Flowers - DONE
  • Visit the Walt Disney Museum 
  • Visit the Musee Mechanique in Fisherman’s Wharf, a la Princess Diaries - DONE
  • Take the Anchor Steam beer tour - DONE
  • Take Anchor Steam’s distillery tour - DONE
  • Eat egg tarts from Golden Gate Bakery - DONE
  • Shuck oysters in Tomales Bay - DONE
  • Hike Angel Island
  • Go to a dance party at Church of 8 Wheels

My departure from the city was sudden and a few weeks earlier than planned, but I still have some things to take care of in the Bay Area. So, I’ll be back to cross off the rest of this list in due time. 

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