Month: January 2014

Top 3 Fishing Spots in the South Bay

Matt Crowe’s Blog

Living near the Pacific Ocean has opened me up a world of amazing fishing spots.  Locals tend to know where the best spots are, but I’m happy to share my knowledge with travelers and new anglers, alike.  Here are a few of my favorite spots around the South Bay.

  1. Coyote Lake – Harvey Bear Ranch County Park – Gilroy, CA

Coyote Lake is one of the more popular fishing lakes located around the South Bay, although Lake Almaden, Anderson Reservoir, Lake Vasona, Lake Cunningham, and Uvas Reservoir are notable.  Coyote Lake is one of the larger lakes in the South Bay and the water quality is better than others.  The lake, east of Gilroy, is open for boat or shoreline fishing.  The lake has black bass, rainbow trout, and bluegill.

  1. Loch Lomond Recreation Area – Felton, CA

Off the beaten path, the local fishermen believe Loch Lomond reservoir to have the best fishing in Santa Cruz.  Off of Highway 9, you can find a few types of bass. Including, smallmouth, largemouth, striped, and white. Catfish, rainbow trout, and walleyes can be found as well.

  1. Pillar Point Harbor – Half Moon Bay, CA

Not usually considered part of the South Bay, Pillar Point Harbor is best known for its commercial and sport fishing.  A few charters operate from Johnson Pier.  Salmon season runs until September.  Local shops sell bait and tackle, and you can fish off the pier without a license.  Great crab fishing as well.

With all of these great spots, you’ll be out angling in no time!

from About Matt Crowe http://aboutmattcrowe.com/top-3-fishing-spots-in-the-south-bay/

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Favorite Places: Austin, Texas

Matt Crowe’s Blog

Deep in the heart of Texas you will find the state capital, Austin, which is located along the Colorado River.  This is where the ranch in the Texas hill country meets the prairies at the coastal plains.  Austin has skyscrapers and crowds, but it isn’t the biggest city in Texas.  When you walk around town, you will notice a distinct bohemian feel.  The city attracts the young and the talented, so the population is growing fast, but it is trying to keep the original laid back anything goes spirit alive. Austin’s residents make a point of keeping Austin weird.

As the self-proclaimed live music capital of the world and a place where art is all around you, Austin has a strong identity.  Start exploring, you’ll find out that the locals have an affinity for self-expression, star festivals, quirky humor, guitars, and state history.

Austinites are Texans first, Americans second.  Austin was born around the camp fires of herders of buffalo.  The first pioneers of the Texas wilderness are the Swedish immigrants from the 1830s.

Austin is rich in nature. One can explore outdoor activities in Zilker Park or head to McKinney Falls just south of the city where you can relax by the streams.  Back in the center of town, explore the shops on South Congress Avenue. Be prepared to encounter uncommon objects and carnivalesque zebras while you shop for vintage clothes, designer shirts, or a pair iconic Texas boots.

Like any Texas city, you never have to look far for lunch.  You can find food trucks and carts on every street corner, so take your pick from Tex-Mex seafood, Indian foods, or German cuisine.  Downtown bistros are great for dinner, and even in winter you can take a seat on a terrace to enjoy a meal or drinks.

Austin is also known for its famous music and food festivals.  South by Southwest and the Austin City Limits Festival pays tribute to the longest-running music program in the country.  When night falls, head east on Sixth Street there are always some live bands

to see, and it is the place to be for all kinds of evening entertainment.  Listen to blues, have a beer, watch a cult movie, or catch a comedy show. It’s hard not to be taken with Austin and people here say it has its very own soundtrack, a rhythm you can easily tune into once you understand the eclectic tastes.

 

from About Matt Crowe http://aboutmattcrowe.com/favorite-places-austin-texas/

What are some cool maps of San Francisco?

Answer by Sha Hwang:

First off, I do a lot of data visualization and mapping so these aren't really all maps of the geography of San Francisco, but maps of the activity of San Francisco.

So what immediately springs to my mind when I think of "really cool maps of SF" is the work of Eric Fischer. He's been doing amazing mapping work studying flows of cities, and this series, Locals and Tourists, is probably my favorite. This map shows photos "locals" have taken in blue (people who have taken photos in the Bay Area for more than a month) and "tourists" in red (people who have taken photos in the area for less than a month):

Aside from doing this sort of stunning work, Eric also collects and posts cool maps of the history of the Bay Area's infrastructure — this image is the Major Thoroughfare Plan of 1947 showing proposed highways crisscrossing through SF:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/walkingsf/3898415692/in/set-72157622139053795

Eric's uploaded a ton of these historical maps here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/walkingsf/sets/72157622139053795/

Also, Shawn Allen (partner at Stamen.com, where I used to work) has done interesting investigations into the characteristics of various parts of San Francisco. His Trees, Cabs, and Crime visualization has always been a favorite of mine, beautifully showing the way these various sets of data overlap in our city. You can see the treeful and cabless Sunset vs the crimeful and cabful  Tenderloin, and can also see the traceries of all the major roads that the cabs drive along:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shazbot/7190127927/in/photostream

A much more "traditional" map, but also slicing up San Francisco into its various islands, is this redrawing of neighborhoods on BurritoJustice.com:

http://burritojustice.com/2010/05/07/the-islands-of-san-francisco/

And while I'm thinking about islands, there's also the awesome mountains of crime that Doug McCune did a couple years ago:

http://dougmccune.com/blog/2010/06/05/if-san-francisco-crime-was-elevation/

I'm also always fascinated by the ways people move around during the day. Ben Sawyer, a researcher, pointed me at these maps recently that highlight the difference between the population of San Francisco during daytime and during nighttime, by Joe Lertola, done in 2007 for Time:

http://joelertola.com/grfx/population/d_n.html

Where I work, Trulia.com, we're investigating a lot of this information to help people understand their cities better and find a place to live. This was a recent map we did on commute times for the Bay Area, which is now live and interactive over at http://www.trulia.com/local#commute/san-francisco-ca, along with our crime and school maps:

And I really can't stop looking at this stuff. I've been collecting a lot of maps and visualizations over here: http://pinterest.com/shashashasha/mapping/

And the work that we do that often intersects mapping and visualization here: http://pinterest.com/shashashasha/nondisclosure/

(Thanks Eric Socolofsky for asking me to answer this!)

View Answer on Quora

What are the best things to see and do when visiting Austin, TX?

Answer by Trey Philips:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eBwy8lXetw&t=3m47sTrailer food is a pretty big thing here. There are several trailer parks just for food. The ones I would suggest the most are Torchy's Tacos, which is a local chain now. Try any of the tacos and especially the queso. The trailer park location on South First has the full trailer park experience, but the brick-and-mortar locations have better soda selections. http://www.torchystacos.com/ Gourdough's is a donut stand with unusual but incredible donuts. These are meal-sized so prepare to be full. http://www.gourdoughs.com/ All three locations (within blocks of each other) of East Side King have short but delicious menus of east and southeast Asian inspired food. http://www.eastsidekingaustin.com/ Chi'Lantro is another big hit with Korean Mexican fusion items such as kimchi fries and bulgogi tacos. http://www.chilantrobbq.com/ I could go on, but this is a good start. See: Austin, TX: What are the best trailer foods in Austin? (stole the video clip from Andrei Matei's answer, in fact).

And of course, we have plenty of good brick-and-mortar restaurants, too. There's an entire topic for it on Quora — Restaurants in Austin, TX. It's hard to even list off only a few recommendations, but try Hopdoddy for burgers, Home Slice for pizza, La Condesa for California-style, Manuel's or Zocalo for Mexican, Koriente for Korean, Buenos Aires Cafe for Argentine, Blue Dahlia for casual French, The Steeping Room for a simple lunch and some tea, Casa de Luz or Beet's for vegan, Whole Foods for anything, Daily Juice for raw smoothies, and Amy's for ice cream. What's that? You don't have tacos and queso as part of your daily diet? There is Tex-Mex all over the place (Yelp has over 300 Austin listings), but the most popular ones that come to mind are Trudy's, Chuy's, and Pavlo's. BBQ is really competitive, too. People love Salt Lick and Franklin the most. See: Restaurants in Austin, TX: What is the best BBQ in Austin?. I'm vegetarian so our tastes may not line up, but I've also answered Restaurants in Austin, TX: What are the best vegan/vegetarian restaurants in Austin?.

We have plenty of great coffee shops, too. My favorites are Spider House (pictured) with its weird patio and Christmas lights (http://www.spiderhousecafe.com) and Mozart's for its view of the lake (http://www.mozartscoffee.com/). There are a lot of others also worth checking out, maybe deserving its own Quora question. Bennu, Quack's, and Progress come to mind.

Alamo Drafthouse is pretty cool. http://drafthouse.com/austin The South Lamar location is my favorite. It's not just a regular movie theater — they serve food and drinks while you're eating, and they play crazy old VHS and YouTube clips before movies instead of ads. They sometimes do other cool things, like when watching Inglourious Basterds, during the scene in which everyone is running out of the theater, giant flags dropped down from the walls. They also have regular events like sing-alongs and old movie screenings. I saw Die Hard before Christmas and they gave us cap guns to shoot during shooting scenes, and they did fireworks on a stage in front of the screen during high action scenes. Pretty badass. Do not use your cell phone at all or talk during the movie or you will be escorted out.

Recently, the owners of Alamo Drafthouse opened up The Highball, which is amusements like bowling and karaoke: http://www.thehighball.com/ I've heard it's because movies always sell out at Alamo, so you have to order tickets way ahead of time, and this gives you something to do while you're waiting. Ironically, The Highball fills up too now, so you may find yourself waiting for a place designed to solve waiting periods. The Goodnight is a newer, similarly themed business farther north that offers drinking, bowling, billiards, table tennis, shuffleboard with a restaurant built in. http://thegoodnightaustin.com/
Note: The Highball is temporarily closed for renovations until Fall 2013.

Kung Fu Saloon is a bar with a bunch of old arcade games. On Sunday, the games are free. http://kungfusaloon.com/austin/ Recess is another, newer arcade bar on dirty sixth. http://recessarcadebar.com/

Looking for karaoke? There's a great place for that up north called Austin Karaoke (pictured above), where you can bring your own booze and rent a room like the one pictured. http://www.yelp.com/biz/austin-k… There are plenty of other places for it, too, including The Highball (mentioned above, has private rooms), Ego's (a very secluded dive bar), and various bars across Austin.

Disc Golf is relatively big here. I've heard Austin has the most courses per capita, but I can't find anything to back that up. http://dgcoursemaps.com/ maps them out. Pease Park was the best, but it shut down in 2011 to protect the park. Zilker Park (pictured) is a bit easier and also in central Austin, so it gets my vote today.

If you have a chance, check out the Texas Roller Derby girls, another relatively big thing in Austin. This isn't a cute little show. It's a brutal competition. Seriously, this sport seems more dangerous to me than most of the mainstream sports. These girls have hilarious names and will be kicking ass. Just imagine what happens when you put far too many angry ladies in rollerblades and make them race around a track. You can get tickets at the door. http://www.txrd.com/about/tickets

Tubing down the Guadalupe is a nice way to spend a summer day. It's kind of far away, though. A lot of companies will rent you tubes and give you a ride to the river. At the end, they will collect the tubes and give you a bus ride back to your parking lot. They also rent tubes for your drink cooler. Seriously, it looks like a mini-tube with a board on the bottom so your drinks don't float away. Try to time it so you don't go when it's too crowded. Barton Springs Pool (second photo) is another way to cool down that's actually in the city. The water is spring water, which is extremely cold (even on 100+ degree summer days), and it has a small entrance fee. There are hills on both sides which make for a great place to lay out. Sometimes, there may be topless sunbathers, which is legal but on the decline.

For exercise and more outdoor activities, check out Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake, first photo). Despite the name 'lake', it is part of the Colorado River, so it's a very long, moving body of water. It has long trails along both sides and a dedicated pedestrian bridge. People are regularly jogging, biking, skating, rollerblading, fishing, etc. around it. You can also rent a kayak, canoe, stand-up paddleboard, or paddle boat if you're up for some water activities. Zilker Park is a large, public park that's connected to it, as I've mentioned elsewhere in this answer. If you're planning on walking or jogging, The University of Texas campus (second photo) is another option.

Speaking of Lady Bird Lake, a pretty touristy thing to do is to stand at the Congress Avenue Bridge and watch the bats at dawn. This happens during spring and summer right as the sun falls. I've been let down by the bats a few times — sometimes they just don't have a good showing, and the walkways of the bridge get very crowded with people snapping pictures and all. It's also a lot of waiting around for a relatively short event. But hey, it's free. In addition to the bridge, there are small lawns on both side of the bridge you can lay out on.

If you want some nice scenery, take a walk around Mayfield Park, which is a small area full of peacocks. It's open to the public. Also, just down the street is Mount Bonnell (second photo), where you can park, walk up some steps, and get an awesome view of The Hill Country.

And I'd be remiss to not mention the Capitol. Its dome is really gigantic when you're looking at it from below. It's one of those things for which a picture won't do justice. It's free and open to the public.

There are bunches of unique shops to visit. Try just walking down South Congress. There are so many great and weird little shops here. On the first Thursday of each month, all of the stores stay open late and the street becomes a giant party pretty much. http://www.firstthursday.info/ Also, I have to suggest Toy Joy on the drag (Guadalupe), which is basically the Austin version of a toy store. There's Tears of Joy, an entire shop dedicate to hot sauces on 6th street. The Whole Foods HQ (second photo) is an experience in and of itself — they have a ton of little restaurants inside, the building is pretty large, the roof has a playground and tables for eating, and during the winter, they put an ice skating rink on the roof. It's not simply a grocery store.

More Austin landmarks include the Cathedral of Junk (first photo), which is exactly what it sounds like. It's in the back yard of a small house, but it's quite large. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/s… Then, there's the famous "Hi, How Are You" frog (second photo), which was put on the side of a building by musician Daniel Johnston. In 1983, it was his "Hi, How Are You" album cover. In 1993, Kurt Cobain had been wearing a t-shirt with the album cover on his Nirvana tour, and the building owner commissioned Johnston to make a mural of it on this wall. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan… Both of these landmarks have been in threat of being destroyed, but Austin citizens have come together to make sure they're preserved as cultural landmarks. Couples love taking photos in front of the "i love you so much" wall (third photo) in front of Jo's Coffee on South Congress. People also seem to love the Magnolia Cafe "Sorry We're Open" neon sign (fourth photo), also on South Congress.

If you see this eccentric cross-dresser, congratulations. You've just had your first Leslie sighting. Leslie is an Austin icon. He is homeless and has run for mayor three times. He has been having health problems the past few years and is rumored to be moving out of Austin. Update: as of March 8, 2012, Leslie has passed away. You'll still see murals and dedications to him around town, and I'm leaving this here for posterity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les…

The official Austin city slogan is "The Live Music Capital of the World." In addition to local acts, we have regular touring artists. So, look for a show that's happening when you're in town. Songkick is a decent way to do this. We also have several music festivals, the biggest of which are SXSW (in March) and Austin City Limits Festival (in October). The individual venue websites have listings, too, if you know of a venue you like. Personally, my favorite venue is The Parish (pictured) because it's small, but other major ones include Stubb's, Emo's, Mohawk, La Zona Rosa, and so damn many others. Bars and restaurants regularly have live music as well. Waterloo Records holds free shows during the day, often for large names that have paid performances later.

For nightlife, obviously 6th street is a big thing here. The core part of it is referred to as "dirty sixth" by Austinites for good reasons. If you don't mind going through the mess, you might be able to find some live music or a bar you like. Most are typical bars, but you can also find gems like the Driskill bar (fancy hotel with Texan decor), a piano bar, dubstep night at Barcelona, or a few other things that might suit you. I'd recommend East 6th (hipster haven, second photo) or West 6th (fancier, but basically just a bunch of white people) instead. West 5th is starting to fill out, and west 4th holds the small gay district (also called the warehouse district). I'd also suggest the Elephant Room on Congress for live jazz each night. There may be a cover. Lastly, the Rainey Street district has recently developed as another popular nightlife area and has more bars planned to open soon. The bars here are somewhat nice with relaxed atmospheres.

If you need to get some actual work done, check out Conjunctured. Full disclosure: I'm a former member and know the founders. It's a co-working house (which means they've got all the normal office stuff for you to use) on the east side with a great, tight-knit community. You can drop by at a daily rate if they've got space, and you'll meet some great people. http://conjunctured.com/join-us/

There are city events continuously. Here are some of my favorite annual festivals:

  • March: Zilker Park Kite Festival – free, hundreds of kites. http://www.zilkerkitefestival.com/
  • March: SXSW Festival – one of the largest tech, music, and film festivals. The city is a different, completely chaotic place during these weeks. This isn't restricted to the Austin Convention Center — venues and places that aren't normally venues across Austin will be participating officially and unofficially. Many downtown roads will be shut down, taxis and traffic will barely move, and most people won't even be from Austin. You can walk around downtown and find many free things to do, but a badge or wristband will help get into events. Great bands, great parties, celebrities and microcelebrities galore. Pure chaos across the city. Some things free, some badge required. http://www.sxsw.com/
  • April: Eeyore's Birthday (pictured above) – This is an awesome hippie festival that takes over Pease Park. People bring their kids, but there will be bodypainted girls and very… disoriented people having strange conversations and hanging in trees. There will be drum circles and massive posters for anyone to paint on. Free entry. Some vendors with food, drink, and various makings on the outside. http://www.eeyores.com/ and background info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eey…
  • April: Austin Reggae Fest – Also known as Bob Marley Fest, this event will have great reggae music and a mysterious cloud of smoke hovering above it. Seriously, you can see it from blocks away. Tickets required. Wear plenty of sunscreen and bring a bottle of water. http://www.austinreggaefest.com
  • June, July, August: Concerts in the Park – weekly Sunday evening performances by The Austin Symphony while you relax and maybe picnic on the lawn of the Long Center. Completely free. Bring lawn chairs, maybe some snacks, and some wine. http://www.austinsymphony.org/
  • June, July, August: Blues on the Green – weekly music festivals at Zilker Park from local musicians. Completely free. http://www.kgsr.com/blues/
  • October: Austin City Limits Festival – multiple stages, tons of big name bands, and plenty of smaller acts. Three days long in Zilker Park. Our second biggest music festival behind SXSW. Tickets required. Bring sunscreen, a water bottle, and a handkercheif as it can get super dusty by night time (they've been working on fixing this problem the last few years). http://www.aclfestival.com/
  • October: Gypsy Picnic Trailer Food Festival – tons of food trailers move down to Auditorium shores and have a reduced menu of offerings. All trailers have $3 sample item, and then various prices for a few other items. Free admission. http://www.gypsypicnic.com/
  • November: Fun Fun Fun Fest – Lots of great bands. Tickets required. http://funfunfunfest.com/
  • December: Trail of Lights – This is a massive display of Christmas lights in Zilker Park. Free to walk around and see. http://www.austintexas.gov/depar…

http://365thingsaustin.com/ has a great list of things to do in Austin for an entire calendar year.

Reddit has a great thread about this, too: http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddi…
Also check out the Reddit Austin community: http://www.reddit.com/r/Austin

Photo credits:
http://thetastingbuds.com/2010/0…
http://www.twincitiesrestaurantb…
http://www.flickr.com/photos/289…
http://www.tbd.com/blogs/tbd-art…
http://www.austin360.com/food-dr…
http://www.heydoyou.com/kung-fu-…
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nic…
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jam…
http://www.flickr.com/photos/via…
http://www.riversportstubes.com/
http://www.edwardsaquifer.net/ba…
http://www.flickr.com/photos/acc…
http://www.biosci.utexas.edu/pub…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fil…
http://www.joshuanaylor.com/port…
http://austinnightowl.wordpress….
http://johnrrogers.com/texas-bui…
http://www.flickr.com/photos/atm…
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/mil…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fil…
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/len…
http://www.hipstercrite.com/2010…
http://www.flickr.com/photos/poo…
http://iloveaustin.net/austins-6…
http://rareaustin.com/?p=35
http://conjunctured.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fil…

View Answer on Quora

What is your most amazing personal story of traveling to Amsterdam?

Answer by Natasha Figueroa:

Many years ago, my then-boyfriend & I were visiting Amsterdam when we walked into a clothing shop & began talking to the shopgirl. Turns out, she was an American, and was living there while helping a woman write her memoirs. The woman? Xaviera Hollander! For those of you who do not know, Xaviera is a former madam & prostitute who came to fame in the 70's when she wrote a book called The Happy Hooker that shared her exploits. She also wrote a column for Penthouse Magazine for many years.

We had a good laugh about it, and then the girl asked us where we were staying. We had actually just driven into town, and hadn't yet found a place, and when we said so, the girl said, "You could stay at Xaviera's". My boyfriend & I looked at each other and said, "Why the hell not?".

So a couple of hours later, we find ourselves in the extravagently-designed living room of Ms Hollander, with the former madam sitting across from us. I believe she was about 60 at the time, and had a 'houseboy' that was half her age (and size) serving us tea. (She alluded that his housekeeping abilities were not the main reason for keeping him around). After showing us to our room, which included a giant bed underneath a enormous nude painting of Xaviera, she offered to show me her own room while my boyfriend went to take a shower. At one point, she pulled me close and said, in a low, thickly Dutch accent, "You know, I like the ladies too" and I said, as politely as possible, "Is that so?"

But she was very friendly & nice, and took us out to a great brunch the next day at a cool West African restaurant with live music & a bunch of her friends. It was most gracious of her. When my BF & I were going to go back to the house to rest, she told us to help ourselves to the pot plants growing in the backyard. We gladly took her up on the offer, and were about half through smoking a big joint when a policeman popped his head over the fence and started excitedly speaking to us in Dutch. When he realized we didn't understand, he said in perfect English, "Did you see anyone come over this fence recently?" Turns out, the neighbor was a famous footballer, and someone had just robbed him.

So we had a surreal old time in Amsterdam, smoking a joint while talking to a Dutch policeman regarding the robbery of a famous footballer while standing in the garden of the Happy Hooker.

View Answer on Quora

Where is better living for a 25-year-old, in San Francisco or NYC?

Answer by Sabrina Majeed:

I'm 25 right now and I have been living in New York for the past year. Prior to that I spent the past two and a half years in San Francisco (from when I was 22 to 24). I like both cities and often go back and forth between which I prefer (and yes, the weather certainly has some sway on who I'd pick on a given day).

I'll share my personal perspective, but ultimately no one can answer this question but you yourself (the good thing is you're choosing between the two most desirable cities in US, so you can't really go wrong either way).

These are the things that matter a lot to me as an early 20-something: career, livability/commute, culture, relationships, nightlife, and geography.

  • Career

I work in the tech industry as a product designer, and I don't buy that if you want to work in tech you need to live in San Francisco. If you're in technology then you're well equipped with the internet and know that you can build a career pretty much anywhere in the world. That said, I do think that starting a career in tech is easier in San Francisco. Starting out in SF I had access to a lot of experienced designers who became really great mentors. I had a strong network of friends who were designers and developers that I met at the plethora of industry events being held in the city (there's seriously something every few days). I got even more experience because outside of my day job it was so easy to find people to work on side projects with. There's also more opportunities, more companies, and people are generally more open minded to the idea of moving around.

I don't know your specific career so I won't drill to much into this, but I do believe the design culture in San Francisco is more developed than it is New York.

People in New York who work in tech do not live and breathe their jobs the way they do in San Francisco. For many being a developer or designer is just that; a job. People here seem to take a lot of pride in having diverse friend groups (in which your friends aren't all also designers or developers). A side project for someone in New York probably doesn't mean building another app, it means playing gigs/shows to fulfill their musical interests, or pickling things, or home-brewing. Which is not to say that people in SF don't do these things, but there's a lot more pride in the idea of exploration and diverse interests rather than developing deep expertise. There are many promising and successful startups in New York, many of which straddle the line with other stronghold New York industries like finance, nightlife, fashion, and media. For example, I now know a lot more than I ever did about the publishing/journalism industry from working at BuzzFeed.

  • Livability

The last SF apartment I lived in was a one bedroom by myself which I scored for $1,800/month and was two blocks from Alamo Square park. I definitely regretted giving up that apartment when I moved to New York. Though, from what I've heard and read it would be very hard to get a one bedroom for that price in San Francisco today.

When I first moved to New York I decided I wanted to live in downtown Manhattan so I could be close to work and the popular neighborhoods to go out in. I paid over $2,000 a month for a one room studio (no enclosed kitchen), one tiny closet, and an even tinier bathroom in which you have one square foot to stand in. I just moved to Williamsburg and am paying the same amount as before but I have more space, a separate kitchen, walk-in closet, and in a new building with crazy amenities (like an indoor basketball court, wut!). My commute is only ten minutes longer. So, despite what many believe, it is feasible to live alone in New York at age 25 if roommates aren't your jam. Similar to San Francisco, the further out you go the more bang you get for your buck, at the sacrifice of commute and nightlife. Given the current housing market in San Francisco I would rank the two cities as equal.

  • Commute

New York wins hands down. You can get anywhere via the subway, sometimes it just takes a few transfers. It's far more reliable and the trains are quite frequent. Taxis are also prolific and pretty affordable so no need to resort to Uber or Lyft as often. When I lived in San Francisco and moved out of the Mission I was at the mercy of the Muni bus system which was hell on earth. My commute is about 20 minutes and actually shorter now than it was in SF even though I live farther from my office in New York. The more expansive subway system also opens up a lot more options for housing.

  • Culture

If you like the idea of diversity, you can't beat New York. It is a socio-economic melting pot. Not to say that there aren't issues (Stop and Frisk), but we don't have the serious class tension currently present in San Francisco today (things had not reached a boiling point yet when I lived there). New York has so many neighborhoods that still (despite gentrification) reflect charming characteristics of the various groups that immigrated there. There's a ethnic restaurant for any type of cuisine imaginable, no matter how niche, and food in general is very good and much cheaper than in San Francisco.

I also like going to art museums and while I feel there is definitely an appreciation for art in San Francisco, you can easily hit up all the museums pretty quickly. I still haven't been to half the museums in New York. I liked that San Francisco has a few really big events that much of the city comes together for (like Bay to Breakers or SF Pride), but on the flip side there are lot more one-off street festivals or events going on in New York.

  • Nightlife

I actually give this category to San Francisco. Nightlife in New York includes clubs/trendy bars in the Meatpacking District, which I feel completely out of place in. There's cocktails bars but they feel more suited for a date. When your friends live in different boroughs and there's inclement weather it's definitely hard to get a group of friends out. In addition, because the apartments are so tiny there are very few house parties. I prefer the bars in San Francisco like Madrone, Beauty Bar, or Make Out Room, which seemed to straddle the line between a dance club and a dive bar. The amount of concerts to attend that were of interest to me in SF/NY are pretty much even.

  • Relationships

For friendships I'm biased towards San Francisco because the majority of my college friends moved there as well and I developed many friendships straight out of college there. However, people in San Francisco are notorious for blowing off plans to meet up ( What’s Up with the San Francisco Yes?). From my experience this is no exaggeration and I personally had a hard time dealing with it. I like that in New York people are more committed to their plans, or simply more upfront if they don't think they'll make it in the first place. In New York it's also more difficult to mix friend groups than it was in San Francisco, perhaps because of that diversity (you have your work friends, your college friends, your hobby friends). Some people might prefer that distinction.

For dating, it depends. As a straight woman I think San Francisco is an easier city to meet men in and if you're a straight man then New York is your oyster. I can't speak to what it's like for a gay man or woman. Ironically the few dates I did go on in New York were almost always with men who were in town from San Francisco. Both cities are open minded about online dating. Even though New York gets a rep for being a single's city, I think people in San Francisco approach dating equally casually. The one thing I appreciate about New York is that it's certainly less incestuous. Your chances of working with an ex, or running into an ex, your friend dating an ex, or your exes all becoming drinking buddies is much slimmer.

  • Geography

Traveling is one of my favorite hobbies so this category is important to me. I do miss the amount of fun day or weekend trip options from San Francisco. You can get out of the city by simple trips to the surrounding area like Napa, Sausalito, Tomales Bay, Santa Cruz etc… or easily go a little further for a weekend to Los Angeles, Portland, or Seattle. One time my best friend and I spontaneously took a weekend roadtrip to Disneyland. It's that easy. I don't feel like there are as many immediate options near New York that are as appealing. For international travel it's a dead split to me. San Francisco is much easier to access Asia from and on the flip side New York is perfect for easy access to Europe.

Bonus Category: Summer

I moved to New York in January and by April, I was sure that I would want to move back to San Francisco at the end of the year/my lease… and then, summer happened. Summer in New York is amazing. Everyone sheds their winter-borne antisocial habits and the whole city is energetic. Even if you're an adult with a full-time job it still feels like you're a kid enjoying your summer break. It is totally worth the single digit weather I am suffering through right now. You can even walk around at night in short shorts and flip flops without the prerequisite light sweater you will need to carry year round in San Francisco. 😉

I don't think New York is forever, and I see myself moving back to San Francisco in a few years or later in life… but right now I'm pretty happy in New York.

And with that, now you know all the details of my early adulthood…

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