In SF, walking is a major part of daily life. It offers a unique perspective, and an opportunity to really notice and appreciate your surroundings. The City is a beautiful jumble of styles and lifestyles butting up against one another. Here, unlike anywhere else in the world, you literally have mansions down the block, or across the street from apartments, little old cottages, and a few blocks from people barely making minimum wage. New, modern architecture sits next to century-old Victorians. Stark minimalism next to extravagant details, and down the block from a molding, peeling ruin.
Just like anywhere else, there are good neighborhoods and not as rich neighborhoods, and there are even some dangerous blocks left, but beauty can be found in each and every one. No two buildings are the same. No two houses have the same paint job.
Unlike subdivisions, uptight neighborhoods, or overbearing towns and cities, San Francisco doesn't limit a homeowner's creativity with paint. Sure, the Planning Department regulates signage for buildings, curb heights, trees, building expansions, and tons of other aspects of city architecture, but paint isn't one of them.
I've been exploring this City on foot for nearly a decade, and it doesn't get old. Even blocks I've walked every day, for years, offer up something new. My neighbor just painted their gate a pastel mint green with gold leaf details--and it's one of my favorite things in the neighborhood right now. Walking lets you experience everything first hand and up close. I know which neighbors and stores have pet cats, and which cats are friendly.
I love walking through the alleys and watching the nearly wild gardens change seasons, bloom, bear fruit, and go dormant. I love catching fleeting bay views over fences, through courtyards and around corners. Nothing beats the thrill of a new discovery, a new favorite, a new perspective. The City constantly presents gifts for those who care to look. This place doesn't get old, at least not for me.