I am completely in love with San Francisco. I knew it was a cool city, but I wasn't prepared for just how amazingly cool.
Check out this map of San Francisco to get you oriented. Downtown San Francisco is where are the crazy tall buildings are (the financial district, Union Square, etc). The Mission is an awesome neighborhood with a really high Latino population, lots of latinamerica feeling stores, markets, and restaurants, plus dollar stores and thrift shops. As you can see, my house is right by UCSF and Golden Gate Park is pretty much my backyard...
Photo from: http://www.bloggingsouls.com/archives/2007_03.html
This is a picture of Strawberry Island, which is in the middle of Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. I have been running to stow lake in the mornings, across the bridge to the island, around the island and back. It is absolutely gorgeous!
This zoomed in gives you a better idea of my neighborhood. I had no idea how much I lucked out on my room -- the rent is incredibly cheap because the room is very small, but the location cannot be beat.
Plus I have everything I need in my room -- a closet that fits all my stuff, a bed on a loft, and an amazing nook under the loft with a little table and pillows to sit on. You can see more pictures of my room (including my desk, which I now have in my room, unlike my last 3 years at MIT) in my picasa album.
And now, here is a list of some of the things I love so far about living here, in no particular order.
1. Living 3 miles from the ocean -- an easy bike ride through Golden Gate Park.
2. In case I don't feel like biking, living a block away from the MUNI streetcar stop on the line that goes to the ocean and also to downtown San Francisco.
3. My 'commute' to school that consists of walking a block to Irving street, getting in an elevator and going up 8 floors (yes eight) and I am in the student union. Cross the street and I am in the academic buildings.
4. My room, how small and fun it is, and how it won't let me accumulate stuff even if I want to.
5. My house. It is really spacious and full of character, and the other women who live with me are total kindred spirits -- environmentalist, socially conscious, spanish-speaking, etc.
6. The sheer number of ethnic restaurants within walking distance.
7. The friendly people in San Francisco. Multiple complete strangers have offered me coupons in stores -- combined they saved me $25
8. The random breathtaking views of the ocean, or the bay, or just down an insanely steep street I see while walking/biking through San Francisco
9. The street names carved into the sidewalk tiles at street corners, kind of like in Cuba.
10. The quantity of thrift stores and dollar stores within a few blocks of each other in the mission
11. No winter
12. The fact that San Francisco is, if anything, even more hippie and progressive than Boston. wow
13. Fresh produce from farmers markets YEAR ROUND : )