There are things in the world that are completely overhyped. And then there are things in the world that are impossible to overhype. The Taj Mahal is one of them. So is Fushimi Inari shrine. Mt Fuji. The Rocky Mountains. And the Golden Gate Bridge.
San Francisco is… problematic. It isn’t what it was. If you want to see it for what it is today, it’s a great city to visit. If you’re looking for the Height, you’re almost 50 years too late. I got the chance to stay with a friend in the Height, and it was fascinating. It was a culture of people hanging on, searching for that thing that used to be here. A minority of people were succeeding, selling food and that bygone era to the tourists, and to the people failing to find that thing they thought was there.
I visited San Francisco at a weird time. I feel like I visited it when tech was nailing the lid on the coffin. The nails were mostly in place, but there were one or two still loose on that old San Francisco, being crushed by rising rents and an influx of a new, different sort of immigrant, a largely domestic migrant.
But the thing about the Golden Gate Bridge is that it an amazing work of art, and everyone knows it. Even the changes that have been made to the bridge have been with an eye on making those changes invisible to the viewer, preserving the magnificent impact of viewing the bridge. There’s a nice view to be had from the elevated approach to the bridge, but also from the water-level approaches on either side of the bridge, on the city side. The opposite side of the bridge has two viewing spots along the highway, but the closer one is definitely superior. If you want to get that sunset shot, get there really early, because everyone wants that shot, and there’s only space for like 3 cars to park at each one.
Super huge thanks to my friends who hosted me in SF, and were all around awesome to me.