Where My Heart Is

The most beautiful city I've ever been to is San Francisco. I have traveled the world and seen many different cities which are also great, but San Francisco has a beauty that cannot be rivaled. I know I am bias and partial to the city that is not only in my state, but is where I lived for several years. I remember first trying to find an apartment in the city. I had been living in Sacramento and working for Nordstrom when I got a promotion to manager in downtown San Francisco. For a while I drove back and forth every day. On a good day, that could be under two hours; on a bad day the drive was sometimes almost 4. Each way.

Getting an apartment was not easy. This was at the tail end of the dot com era. Young, smart kids with money were lined up, and I mean LINED UP to pay cash on the spot for an apartment. Not only would they pay the asking price; they would pay more, lots more. There were bidding wars for rentals. You had to fill out your application, print out your credit score, have your deposit in hand and then BID extraordinary amounts of money in order to get a 300 SF room in this wonderful city.

I got lucky. A friend of a friend of a friend was moving out and I could take over her lease. It would be easy and cheap ("city" cheap, that is). I didn't know the new roommate. I didn't know if he was messy or clean, nice or mean, taken or single. I didn't care. He could have been an axe murderer; at least the rent was cheap.

I spent the next several years exploring. All the different nooks and crannies, each with a different world, were there for my pleasure. You could walk from Mexico to China within minutes. You could taste all the food, experience the culture, all within steps of your own back door. You could see the water from many different vantage points. You could take a walk along the ocean and stare at the Golden Gate bridge. It was never hot and never cold. It was perfect.

I don't need to tell you that San Francisco is pleasing to the eye, with it's hills and it's skyline, it's water and it's bridges and it's buildings like this and this. But I need to tell you that it is much more than just physical beauty that draws me to the city. It's the mish mosh of cultures and neighborhoods and languages and people. It's the traveling the world without even leaving one city. It's the cool, crisp fall weather (in summertime).

It's the life. And the life is beautiful.

(PS Some close second place cities: Seattle, Sydney, Shanghai, Paris, Venice, Istanbul)

What do you think the "Most Beautiful" city is? And why?


  1. I love hearing about places you've been too! I really liked yesterday's post too. I'm single, no kids, and traveling every 90 days or so is really appealing to me. I haven't traveled much in my life (and nowhere outside of Canada and the U.S.) but one day I'd like to visit different places. There are still plenty of places in North America that I want to make it to.

  2. Hmm...that's a toughie...Budapest is probably one of the most amazing beautiful cities I have ever been too..so very awesome!
    xoxo from Trinidad

  3. I love San Francisco too. My dad lives in the Mission and I never get sick of visiting : )

  4. I have never been to San Francisco. I can't wait to visit some day - I have heard nothing but good things. You will have to be my tour guide some day. :)

    For me, the most beautiful city in the world is Paris. I think it is so beautiful and enchanting. From the bridges over the Seine to the Eiffel tower, there is beauty everywhere you look!

  5. Unfortunately I never got the chance to see and explore SanFran, although I flew there countless times (see my comment on your previous post). So it remains on my bucket list. I found Amsterdam very charming when I visited there (many) years ago, but I found it much busier and a little less friendly 3 years ago. I'm not really much of a city person - small villages and the countryside are much more relaxing.

    But your photos are awesome !

  6. I've never been but I want to go and run the marathon there! I think that's one of the best ways to see a city :)

    I love Vancouver, I think it will always be my favourite "big city". The oceans + mountains combination is so gorgeous and of course I'm partial to my country and province :)

  7. I've never really loved San Francisco. I don't know why. It's fine, and it does have a beauty to it. But it's just not me, I guess.

    Now, Strasbourg, France? Beautiful.


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