Jamie McLellan | October 27th, 2008
It goes without saying that San Francisco is one of the more liberal US cities, and you come to feel it as you walk the streets. Bicycles and skateboards are common forms of transport, and if you have to drive, it’s quite likely you’ll be in a hybrid Toyota Prius.
Upon my first visit to the city, I spent most of my time on Valencia and the surrounding Mission area, the Western Avenues and walking up and down Haight-Ashbury.
Valencia and the Mission seems home to as many vagrants as it is to MacBook wielding urbanites. During the day the streets are open with great bookshops and second-hand stores well worth a forage. My favourite was X-21 Modern, a very eclectic space that was recommended by a very friendly gallery owner I met in New York. It was bursting at the seams with everything from vintage Hollywood movie props to taxidermy to 50’s modern American furniture classics.
I enjoyed stopping for espresso at Ritual, also on Valencia. This large cafe is frequented by a bustling mix of students, artists and perhaps judging by the cafe signage young socialists?
At night The Mission comes alive with great, slightly underground bars and eateries. After a meal in a very eclectic little bistro, my friend and I hopped from bar to bar, never struggling to find conversation with open-minded locals.
The Haight, once the focal point of the summer of love, is now littered with dozens of boutique galleries chock full of work buy local street artists and illustrators. There are too many to remember, let alone list. Amoeba music was also a great place to go record hunting.
Like clockwork, upon mentioning I was staying in the Avenues, I was always met with the response that I must try eating at Burma Superstar. I heeded the repeated advice and was gob smacked by the Vegetarian Rainbow salad. Reasonably priced, nice cliental and definitely worth the queue outside for a table.