As long as I’ve lived in San Francisco and for all the years I’ve been visiting here, I’ve spent most of my time downtown and around the eastern part of the city. My last apartment was in SOMA, which was very convenient when I worked in that area. I could easily walk to most places downtown and I especially enjoyed walking to Chinatown.
Although it was very conveniently located, SOMA is not a very nice place to live. The traffic is pretty bad, especially when there’s a game at AT&T Park and the streets aren’t very pedestrian friendly. The rents are among the highest in the city, and it’s one of the filthiest neighborhoods.
I recently moved to Cole Valley, a neighborhood near Golden Gate Park & Haight-Ashbury. Until a few months ago, I was unfamiliar with the western neighborhoods, but as soon as I saw this place I fell in love with it. Instead of heavy traffic, garbage, and characterless high-rises, there are tree-lined streets and beautiful Victorian homes. This is the San Francisco I love, and it feels like a completely different city.
I can no longer walk to Chinatown, but I can walk to Golden Gate Park & Haight-Ashbury, and it’s only a 15 minute train ride from Downtown.