Top Ten Best Things in San Francisco *

What I Loved About San Francisco in January (in no particular order)…

10) The playground at Mission Dolores Park–When traveling with a four-year-old, you learn about good playgrounds in a city. This one is SPECTACULAR, even though we went there in the rain. And here’s a thing that I learned: did you know that if you slide down a metal slide that is wet, that slide is actually much faster than when it’s dry? Did you know that if you are a full-grown woman, it is possible to actually skip like a stone across the ground for a good ten feet?

This slide is serious when wet.

This slide is serious when wet.

9) Burma Superstar–Ah, Pumpkin Pork Stew. Ahhhh, Tea Leaf Salad. My new favorite restaurant in the country, I think, maybe displacing Andina in Portland, Ore.

8) Swing Dancing–Okay, so from now on, I am going to try to find a swing dancing club in every city. My husband and I went to the Tuesday Night Hop at the Verdi Club, which felt like the least touristy thing possible as we traded partners all around a circle, trying out moves with a bunch of people who were much better dancers than we are. Live band featuring someone named Stompy Jones. Martinis. Step, step, rock step. A fine, fine evening.

7) Lindy in the Park in Golden Gate Park–So we were biking in Golden Gate Park and could not actually stop to dance, but just the SIGHT of swing dancing in the park was a beautiful thing.

6) Chocolate Morning Bun at Noe Valley Bakery–As tasty a pastry as exists on this planet. Also, this bakery has Golden State Warriors cupcakes! (Also, there is no way this is last food item on my list. Food usually makes up, like, eight of my top ten in any given city.)

5) Turkish Coffee Milkshake at Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers in Noe Valley–I mean, it’s Turkish coffee. In a milkshake.

4) Noe Valley. All of it.–I am convinced there’s no more lovely neighborhood in the world.

3) The Graveyard at Mission Dolores–I like graveyards. This is a beautiful cemetery, and it was featured in Vertigo. My son played with his football action figures amongst the headstones, and I wandered through the shadows and sunlight.

2)Dog Twins--This is something I would have missed without my son: the city is swarming with people who have purchased identical dogs. We saw a ton of people walking a matched set of dogs–two white poodles or two Labradors or two Saint Bernards, whatever–and this led to my boy screaming”DOG TWINS!” fairly often.

1)Cheese shops–I’ve visited these in Europe, but, man, I can explore cheese much more effectively without a language barrier.

* I feel compelled to mention that my sister-in-law is, actually, at the top of the list.

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