Some days, I forget how head-over-heels I am for San Francisco. Ahem, those days I have to hand over my rent checks. Remind me... am I paying to live in ONE TINY room or am I purchasing a frickin castle, moat and butler included?!
I suppose with the ridiculous (seriously I could have a sizeable house in Utah at this rate, and there I go again) price tag comes that little bonus detail of getting to reside in beautiful San Francisco. The perpetually perfect weather, the gorgeous scenery, the best restaurants in the world, the friendliest and smartest people on this planet, and the wackiest of wacky traditions ever.
Obviously there's Bay to Breakers (see what a hoot that was) in the summer. But in the winter? We have Santa Con. I am aware Santa Con is a multi-city ordeal, but let me pretend that SF is the most committed to the game. The most gung ho-ho-ho of them all. Otherwise, I'll weep twice as hard when rent day comes around again.
On Santa Con Day, everyone dresses up in their North Pole finest and congregates at Union Square at noon to 1) grab the best Instagram shot of a sea of Santas and 2) sneak a peek at the towering Christmas tree.
Slowly, San Francisco Santas begin to disperse.
We meandered over to the edge of North Beach, slipping into the first bar that was Santa friendly. A great choice it turned out to be, as we were showered with pretzels and freshly popped popcorn galore. A Christmas miracle, indeed.
Soon, we were joined by all kinds of Santa's helpers – elves, fairies, reindeers, and... Hugh Hefners, it seems?!
If that doesn't scream "overwhelmed," I don't know what does.
Down the street was the Last Drop Tavern, where more friends and libations appeared out of nowhere. And fellow Santas too, of course.
Sensing a bit of antsy-ness to move along, we did just that. Corralled the group, and with Buddy the Elf's sister as our beacon we made the long trek over to Polk St. whereupon the majority of Santas had descended. I have a hysterical video of a Buddy [Cassandra] and a Santa [Hanna] singing a resounding rendition of Wicked's "What Is This Feeling" on this long walk that I'll have to share one day. The wide streets were unnavigable, crowded as they were. Weaving in and out of red and green and brown and gold, we darted into the first establishment with no wait.
For a good couple of hours, we sipped on mango mojitos and sangria as we chatted up fellow San Franciscans and reminisced on good times passed. SF during a wacky event is my favorite because like I said before, everyone is all in. The city transforms into one big group of friends. No one is a stranger. High fives, hugs, and a shared love of the Warriors brought to a whole 'nother level.
But then we got hungry.
Cassandra, Leah, and I decided to split from the group and traverse to the closest In-N-Out, which is dead in the center of tourist central Fisherman's Wharf... and a forty minute walk away. So of course, we first made a stop to pick up sizzling hot old-fashioned chocolate donuts, fresh from the deep frier.
Plus someone picked up some frozen yogurt from Loving Cup, and started eating by her sad lonesome sELF.
Until a friend came along to cheer her up!
We found the most gasp-worthy homes decked out in holiday decorations.
And borderline trespassed, just to get a good jumping photo.
Oh, there we go.
A little optical illusion for you on this fine Wednesday.
Which legs belongs to which troublemaker?
After that series of shenanigans, we focused once again on making it to our cheeseburgers.
But not before a quick jaunt at the beach,
and an obligatory nod to the Golden Gate Bridge, though she was hiding in the mist. It was a "thank you for letting me share this city with you" kind of gesture, y'know.
Finally, we made it to In-N-Out and after absolutely annihilating our burgers and fries, we decided to walk home via North Beach and Chinatown (with a pitstop for boba) and a little bit of SoMa, stealing glances at the twinkling Bay Bridge along the way.
I love this city.
I love it in the freezing summers, I love it during the warm holidays. I love it for its nerdy tech lingo, I love it for the crazy characters you come across on the Muni, I love it for its vicinity to wine country, I love it for everything Bay Area has to offer. I love it for the fact that it's what many of us refer to as Neverland – no one ever grows up here, y'all. I love it for Polk St partying (... a little bit), I love it for charming Hayes Valley and Cow Hollow, and I love it for Japantown and Chinatown and Inner/Outer Richmond and the Dogpatch and everything in between. I love it for the Giants and the Warriors and the 49ers too I guess. I love it despite its stupidly high prices.
It's worth it, it's worth it, it's worth it.