San Francisco, known for its booming tech field, exorbitant housing costs, and world famous tourist attractions such as Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. We're a tiny 7x7 square mile city bursting at the seams with competition between newly developed sky rise condos vs. century old victorians, the tech workers vs. the homeless, and then there are those, like myself, attempting to raise a family amidst this chaos and competing just to survive.
I still wouldn't change it for the world.
By no means are we living an extravagant life. My day job - nonprofit management. His day job - special education with the San Francisco Unified School District. We rent, not own. My son attends a public school. I drive a used Toyota. He has a bus pass. Despite our shortcomings in making 6 figure incomes in a city where that is becoming more and more the norm, we are able to maintain a lifestyle that makes us happy. Our weekends are full of adventure despite not shelling out the big bucks on entertainment.
Last weekend was no different, leaving my shoes filled with sand, my stomach full of pizza, and my heart brimming with happiness. And you know what? We did this all for less than $100.
Just a few miles from tourist packed Pier 39, is Crissy Field. Other than having to pay for parking which is only $8.00 for an all day pass, you can literally spend hours here walking along the beach, with clear views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Downtown San Francisco. Need something more stimulating for the kids? Tire them out with rock climbing at Planet Granite or bouncing on trampolines at House of Air.
When the littles get hungry, there are plenty of options outside of over priced and overhyped Cheescake Factory or Bubba Gump's. San Francisco has something for the adventurous eaters, the pickiest eaters, and those with the most refined food palette at an affordable cost - if you know where to look. So ditch the tourists' trap and venture out to other SF neighborhoods for some noms. Grab breakfast, lunch, or any of their fresh baked goods at Devils Teeth Baking Company in the Outer Sunset District. A few blocks away, is local favorite, The Pizza Place on Noriega. Our favorite, the Rocha - kale, roasted garlic, potato chips and bacon!
After lunch, Ocean Beach is one of our fave hang out spots. When Riley was younger, my trunk always had a bag full of sand toys and a towel just in case we were able to sneak in some time at Ocean Beach. These days, he prefers playing fetch with our dog, walking along the beach, and climbing the boulders. In the evenings, for those lucky enough to get a fire pit, bonfires litter the beachside. Though I will sternly warn you, despite the plethora of surfers and boogie boards, Ocean Beach is known for it's rip currents.
I know San Francisco get's a bad rap for being overpriced and overhyped, and being that there are actually more dogs in San Francisco than there are children, my friends and family think I'm crazy for attempting to raise Riley here.
Our family vacations are spent camping along the river instead of tropical destinations. Date nights are punk shows and dive bars instead of the theatre and fine dining. Though I will absolutely be the first to admit that budgeting is not our strong suit, we know where to splurge and where to scrimp. Despite ridiculous housing costs and the increasing overall cost of living, we do more than just "make it work." We're happy, living our lifestyle, and raising our family in the city by the bay.