- Bay Area locals love the variety of cultural events, the restaurants offering cuisines from around the world, and the diversity of the people who live here.
- The near-perfect weather year-round is a Bay Area favourite.
- Many people love the fact that you can easily escape the city and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Northern California .
I asked friends, colleagues, neighbours, and people I met on the street to tell me what they like best about the Bay Area.
People appreciated the culture and the diversity of their fellow residents, the weather, and the wild escapes around the bay.
Here’s what 21 people told me they liked best about the Bay Area:
Locals love the Bay Area’s culture and diversity
Peter Tjeerdsma loves the culture and the art scene. “Just the sheer number of intelligent, creative people” make the Bay Area a great place to live, he said.
Onynx Johnson’s favourite spot is the Berkeley YMCA, where he works. “It’s not your average gym,” he said. He sees people from all different walks of life at the Y and, he said, “I feel like I fit.”
Sachiko Nemoto likes the street fairs and opera in the park. Her daughter, Mina Harris, puts the abundance of things to do at the top of her list, too. Her top two spots: the Mountain View Cemetery(you can see Daveed Diggs’ character Collin running there in the recent movie “Blindspotting“) and the piers in San Francisco.
Edi Pfeiffer said, “I really enjoy the different kinds of people.” She appreciates that she can meet and talk to people who aren’t the same as her.
“The swing dancing scene, which has been thriving for two decades at least,” is the best of the Bay for Barry Harris. “I like the joyousness of the dance,” he said. “It’s really exuberant.”
Sean Weinstock’s immigrant parents “were allowed to succeed in the Bay Area in a way that I would imagine would be relatively hard anywhere else,” he said. Growing up in San Francisco has given him an appreciation of “people’s open-mindedness and natural curiosity. It’s a place where people come to explore.”
People who weren’t allowed to find homes anywhere else – including the gay community and tech geeks – were welcomed here. Weinstock said he thinks this is the Bay Area’s secret sauce. “Everyone is following in our footsteps,” he said. “San Francisco has become a net exporter of culture. It’s because of that open-mindedness.”
You can’t beat Bay Area weather
Mark Twain famously said that the coldest winter he ever spent was summer in San Francisco. Once you know what to expect (fog, temps in the 60s and 70s for most of the year), Bay Area weather, apparently, grows on you.
“It never gets too hot or too cold,” said Evelyn Herrera. An LA transplant, she appreciates that A/C is not needed. The Bay Area’s cool summers give her a way to spot tourists: “Only tourist wear shorts in the summer in San Francisco.”
Linda (who didn’t give her last name because her mother doesn’t want her to be famous) describes Bay Area weather like the people: “Pretty mellow – not too hot, not too cold either.” Israel Zion just moved to Oakland from Miami a month ago and he’s digging that the weather isn’t swampy and hot like his old home.
Richard (no last name given) likes that the Berkeley weather is “nice and cool and grey,” he said, with ocean breezes and fresh air. He’s lived around the Bay Area – in grey and gloomy Daly City and sunny, hot San Rafael – and said he has found the perfect sweet spot in the East Bay.
When you move west from Buffalo, NY, like Sue Getreuer, weather has to top your list. “We have flowers all year,” she said. She loves the palm trees and Oakland’s Lake Merritt, too.
The natural beauty of the Bay Area
“Being able to be on top of a mountain and see the sunset,” makes the Bay Area great for Mahal Bryant, who takes photographs almost every day. His favourite spot: the Albany Bulb, where he can see across the bay to San Francisco.
“To be in a big city and then have so much access to nature,” said Mannie (no last name given) in awe of the people who had the foresight, decades ago, to preserve so much open space. RM (who didn’t want to give her name) agrees: “My favourite thing about the City is the proximity to the natural environment.” She loves that she can ride her bike to the beach, something she couldn’t do when she lived in Manhattan.
“You have that nice balance between the fabric of the city and the scale of the city and the proximity to nature,” said Jacqueline Ho. A recent transplant from New York City, she likes that you can find “a really nice neighbourhood feel” throughout the whole city of San Francisco.
But wait, there’s more to love about the Bay Area!
The political climate is Judy Timmel’s favourite thing about the Bay Area. She appreciates the progressive politicians, acceptance of diversity, and “innovation in trying to make people’s lives better.”
While Hilary Goldman likes the diversity of people, food, and culture, her favourite thing is that, “there’s places in the Bay Area where you can get on your bike and ride” for long stretches.
Shagufa Qureshi can’t help but compare the Bay Area to her native India. There’s a lot to like, but the best part for her is public transit, which helps her get around without a car. “The transportation system of the Bay Area is amazing,” she said.
Tech companies get all of the area’s national attention, but the things that people love about the Bay Area speak to the fact that the artistic and progressive soul of the Bay Area is alive and well.
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