16 things you don't understand about The Sunset (unless you're from there)
If there's one thing you know about The Sunset, it's that Wikipedia says it's a large, suburban-style neighborhood located in the West-Central area of San Francisco, California, United States. So yeah, you basically don't know anything about The Sunset. Well, this should help: here are 16 things you didn't know about it (assuming you're not from there already).
1. It's home to the world's best chicken wings
You will never, ever wait an hour to be seated, only to be treated like crap. Unless it's for San Tung's chicken wings, in which case you will always wait an hour to be seated, only to be treated like crap.
2. 4am police raids? Totally a thing here.
Sure, The Sunset is home to surfer bros, SF State and UCSF students, old retired couples, and well-adjusted, happy families. It just also happens to be home to meth labs. What? They have to be somewhere!
3. We don't go to Golden Gate Park at night. And neither should you.
And not just because of the coyotes. Okay, kind of just because of the coyotes.
4. There's a semi-secret spot to watch the sunset IN THE SUNSET
Poetic, right? Also true: one of the best views in the city (assuming Karl the Fog cooperates, which he probably won't) is at Turtle Hill, a one-acre gem accessed by a split-level staircase.
5. It's the largest district in SF
And the most populous, with over 85,000 residents. #TheMoreYouKnow
6. There's a strict dividing line
If you only learn one thing about The Sunset today, let it be that the West side of 19th Ave is the Outer Sunset and the East side is the Inner Sunset.
7. It used to just be sand dunes
And was known as the "Outside Lands". It's all starting to make sense now, huh? Oh, and speaking of Outside Lands: come! Enjoy! Just don't pee on my doorstep.
8. Some of the elected officials are criminals
Between Leland Yee and Ed Jew, our representatives in the SF Board of Supervisors and California State Senate have a remarkably corrupt (and slightly terrifying) track record. Has your state senator been accused of arms trafficking? Yeah, didn’t think so.
9. Despite that, people who live here are very proud of being from here
Like, to the point that people actually buy (and wear) T-shirts with "The Sunset" emblazoned across the chest.
10. Sunset and the Great Highway are good shortcuts
19th Ave is often (read: always) jammed with traffic, so if you need to go North or South in a hurry, take Sunset Blvd or the Great Highway.
11. Except after a storm
Unless you have a dune buggy, since the Great Highway is consistently covered with sand any time it gets even slightly windy or rainy (also, they shut it down in those cases, so just leave your dune buggy in the garage).
12. It's the Irish capital of the Western United States
Here's a fun drinking game (if you're No. 1 on the liver transplant list): take a drink every time you hear an Irish accent in a bar in The Sunset.
13. The Sunset is home to the city's best burrito outside of The Mission
There's a reason all of those surfers order the carne asada super burrito at Gordos.
14. Every block looks the same...
But it’s really hard to get lost, since the streets are numbered 2nd through 48th Ave running East to West, and alphabetized from I(rving) through Y(orba) St running North to South. Though technically The Sunset ends at Sloat.
15. Ocean Beach isn't for swimming
And not just because it's freezing cold. Thanks to its insane riptides, it's known to be the most hazardous piece of urban shoreline in the entire US. So seriously, don't get in the water unless you're an incredibly experienced surfer. Instead, just invite all of your friends for a bonfire. 'Cause, yeah, those are still allowed. For now.
16. Kids used to play on a Vietnam-era F-8
The Larsen Park Playground (known as "airplane park") had a military jet-turned-play structure that disappeared in 1993 thanks to vandalism and corrosion. The good news? The legendary jet (or a similar replacement, anyway) is rumored to be returning soon.
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James King is a freelance writer who would totally be okay if he were stranded on a desert island with 100 years worth of San Tung chicken wings. Follow him on Twitter @jimbosf7.