39 Things We Hope Never Change in San Francisco
Lately, it seems like all anyone can talk about is all of the things they’d change about San Francisco. The influx of tech companies. The people getting Ellis Acted. The Google buses. The sky-high rents. The gentrification. The homeless problem. The high-rise luxury condos. The general day-to-day soul sucking that occurs when an otherwise great city is changing in a way many people don’t like. And hey, we pretty much agree that all of that stuff needs to change. And we hope it does. But just this once, we decided instead of bitching about what’s wrong with the City by the Bay (other than in this first paragraph), we’d laud everything that’s amazing about this place we call home.
You know, all of the stuff we hope NEVER changes -- specifically these 39 things.
1. Karl the Fog
Sure, it’s lovely to have a sunny day now and again, but the people who really love San Francisco love it partly because of the fog. You can get sunshine pretty much anywhere, but that comfort of a cloud blanket wrapped around your entire city? Only in SF. (Plus, he makes us laugh.)
2. The tourists
First of all, they’re good for the economy or whatever. Second (and more importantly), it’s really fun to watch them freeze their butts off while they cruise around in shorts and T-shirts in the middle of July. And fine, it’s nice to live somewhere people travel to visit ‘cause it makes you realize all over again why you chose to live here in the first place.
3. Haight St
Yes, it’s a nightmare on the weekends, and yes, there are a lot of things to hate about it, but Haight St turning into Chestnut St would be way worse than it staying just the way it is now. Head shops, sneaker stores, drug dealers, and all.
4. The Pizza Place on Noriega
Is it the best pizza in SF? Probably not. Do we love the laid-back vibe and the fact that you can order it by the slice? Absolutely.
5. Cheap dim sum on Clement St
No offense Yank Sing, but your dumplings are pricey. Delicious, but pricey.
6. The Victorians
Seriously people. Stop “modernizing” these houses and stripping them of all their architectural detail. It you want an open floor plan and a home without soul, go live in a gated community. Or, you know, SOMA.
7. The Tactile Dome
If you haven’t been inside the Tactile Dome at the Exploratorium, you need to fix that. “Guests who are afraid of the dark should not participate.”
8. The Mission
Well, at least not any more than it already has...
9. The burritos in the Mission
Okay, so we can’t stop the gentrification, but you’ll have to pry La Taqueria’s carne asada burrito from our cold, dead hands.
10. Li Po’s
Yes, it’s home to the magical Chinese Mai Tai, but it’s the cheap drinks and the dice games that keep us coming back year after year.
11. Marina Subs
The only thing that keeps us from orgasming when we bite into a Marina Sub is the thought that one day, Q, owner and sandwich-maker extraordinaire, is going to want to retire and seriously, DOES HE HAVE A PLAN? Because if Marina Subs disappears, our lives will never be the same.
One word: margaritas.
13. Tommy’s Joynt
It wouldn’t be fair to choose between the Tommys. So don’t ask us to do so.
Yes, it means you have to always have a jacket, but if you don’t think it’s kind of amazing that you can go half a mile and have the temperature change 20 degrees, you should probably move to LA.
Yes, in theory we want Muni to change, but if the buses and trains were suddenly clean and efficient, what would we complain about? Oh, all that stuff in the opening paragraph? Still, Muni being broken is almost part of its charm at this point. Also: ghost buses! What other town has GHOST BUSES?
Sure there’s Bi-Rite and Humphry Slocombe or whatever, but It’s-Its are where it’s it. We mean: at.
17. Belden Pl
So many restaurants. So much outdoor seating. Oodles of charm.
18. Silver Clouds
Maybe it’s not the “cool” place to karaoke, but it’s way less judgmental than The Mint. And way easier to actually get on stage. Which is the whole point, after all.
19. Sea Cliff
We’ll never be able to afford to live there, but we’d still be sad if all those gorgeous houses fell into the ocean when The Big One hits.
20. The Tonga Room
It seems like there are always rumors that the Tonga Room is about to close. (Most recently the Fairmont wanted to replace the tower where the famous Tiki bar resides with luxury condos. Shocking, we know.) But considering this a true Tiki paradise, we hope this kitschy landmark stays in SF forever.
We already lost cartoon Carol Doda and her flashing nipples at the Condor. Let’s never lose the strip clubs that admittedly bring in the bridge-and-tunnel kids, but are nonetheless a big part of Broadway’s idenTITY. Sorry, literally couldn’t help ourselves.
22. The Toy Boat
They sell sandwiches and salads in this little shop with toys covering the walls, but the nostalgia is the reason it makes this list. Well, the nostalgia and the delicious desserts.
Whether you love them or love to hate them, this city wouldn’t be the same without them talking on repeat about which hospital they were born in and where they went to high school.
Hour wait and all...
25. Stern Grove
Free concerts all summer long? Yes, please!
26. The wild parrots of Telegraph Hill
Try not to get excited when you spot a wild parrot just chillin’ in a tree in SF. TRY.
27. The politics
Yeah, there’s a ton we wish would change, but it’s still pretty amazing to live in a city that at least tries to be (and often succeeds at being) progressive.
28. The remaining 2015 San Francisco 49ers
Okay, maybe not EVER, but at least can no one else retire or get traded this year? Unless it’s Jed York or Trent Baalke, in which case we’ll be the first to throw their goodbye parade.
29. The Golden Gate Park buffalo
They’ve been around since 1890; they’re as much a part of this town as anyone.
Other cities do it well, but we do it bigger and better.
31. The sea lions at Pier 39
Considering they only moved to Pier 39 after the 1989 earthquake and that they’ve left once since then, there’s a chance they won’t be sticking around forever. Well, we hope by some miracle they will because 1) they’re adorbs, and 2) we’re jealous they just get to lay around all day while being admired by the masses.
32. Wine Country
If there’s one thing we love, it’s a debaucherous weekend of wine tasting. If there’s one thing we hate, it’s that this drought may screw that all up.
33. The Powerhouse
It’s like the Folsom Street Fair except every single day of the year!
34. The In-N-Out at Fisherman’s Wharf
Even if we don’t go there often, it’s easier to sleep at night just knowing it’s close by.
35. Frank Chu
Only in San Francisco can someone believe in something called the 12 Galaxies and turn that belief into a “career” as a professional protester.
36. All of the secret spots
37. Tadich Grill
We don’t even want to think about what would happen if California’s oldest restaurant closed.
Love it or hate it... wait? WHO HATES IT?
39. Rent control
‘Cause without it, we couldn’t live here. And that would hella suck.
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Daisy Barringer is a freelance writer who grew up in San Francisco and really does have nightmares about Marina Subs going out of business. Reassure her on Twitter @daisy.