Home to tech mavens, foodies, counterculture types and newcomers from all over the globe, America’s hilly, fog-shrouded Golden Gate is a city unlike any other.
Author Matthew Thompson Photography Erin Kunkel
AS THE HYDE-POWELL CABLE CAR NEARS THE TOP OF RUSSIAN HILL, the rumpled blanket of the city spreads out before you—a mosaic of electric buses, Chinese markets and cubist houses clinging to the pinnacles of ski-jump streets. This is San Francisco: a collision of history, whimsy and 23rd century technology, all meeting at oddly canted angles. A walk down the Embarcadero might reveal aging beatniks who look like Mark Twain, Art Deco street cars, sunburned longshoremen jawing in Spanish and trendy boutiques specializing in sustainable bamboo iPad covers. Whatever you’re looking for, be it rare bookstores in North Beach, fortune cookie factories in Chinatown or flocks of wild parrots at the top of Telegraph Hill, San Francisco rises to meet you and inevitably proves to be well worth the climb.