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1,000 Things I Miss About San Francisco

Updated: Jul 29, 2019 17:49
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Submitted by John McLemore, an SF resident who had to move away, and now lives in a suburb of Dallas Texas…

I’d give anything for a drunk guy walking by my apartment, yelling at nothing and no one. I miss getting up early on a Sunday, pouring a mimosa, cranking up the Bone (not what that means!) and watching the Walks of Shame from Hotel Hill. I miss Polk Street I miss tacos at 1AM. I miss the Opera lady who’d walk down Mason Street, singing arias. I miss Hyde Street’s wine bars and quiet, tucked away restaurants. I miss the smell. I miss biking in the Presidio and food trucks. I miss the Embarcadero at night. I miss leaving work late night and walking through Chinatown in the fog. I miss the art project lights on the Bay Bridge.

I miss San Francisco

The Bay Lights SF

I miss the Mission – may it rest in peace. I miss my run and my turn around point at Lombard and Hyde and taking a moment to look at the Bay, Alcatraz and Yerba Buena. I miss the charcuterie @ B-Bar. I miss SFMOMA. I miss Chip Conley hotels and their bars. I miss lunch at the Ferry Building. I miss the ferry rides. I miss the water SO much. I miss Crissy Field. I miss alleys with hidden venues. I miss hills. I miss Irving Street I miss concerts in GG Park. I miss the headlands. I miss wine country more than you’ll ever know.

I miss my friends.

I even miss the subway and its greasy smell and that breeze you get when a train passes through while you wait for yours. I miss the Castro. I miss riding my bike in circles under the dome at the Palace of Fine Arts. I miss sourdough. I miss the oysters. I miss great farmers markets. I miss seeing 5 bands for $10 at Hemlock. I miss the Fillmore. I miss watching the Giants win and I miss watching them through that free area behind the outfield when I’d just bike past by chance.

giants free view

FREE view at Giants Stadium

I miss Angel Island hikes and picnics. I miss Jackson Square and that weird winding alley across from the Transamerica building. I miss my evasive tactics of biking downtown during the day and especially at night. I miss cable cars because, yes, we rode them as locals sometimes. I miss knowing the names of everyone who worked at my corner store.

missing san francisco

Angel Island SF. photo:

I miss fog. God, I miss the fog! I miss Trader Joe’s. I miss the world’s best burritos. I miss that restaurant scene and Tony’s Pizza. OMG! Tony’s Pizza! I miss blowing off the hysteria of Halloween and NY Eve parties and opting to just hang at a friends’ party instead to avoid the mess. I miss Hotel Hill and the Fairmont whose lobby I called “my 2nd living room”. I miss Buddha Lounge. I miss Fisherman’s Grotto. I miss Brown’s Hardware. I miss those awful trees on every sidewalk that bloomed tiny gnats. I miss Toronado and Slim’s. I miss my local bars and AC/DShe.

buddha lounge

Grant St. SF

I miss Taylor and Jones Hummus! I miss Dear Mom in the Mission. I miss cyclists everywhere. I miss giving directions to tourist with so much pride in my city’s history. I miss my crappy elevator that looked like a birdcage. I miss The Wiggle. I miss my hike from downtown to Ocean Beach and back.

ocean beach 2

Ocean Beach SF

I miss Trad’r Sam. I miss biking along the marina greens. I miss sailboats and wind surfers. I miss the PCH. I miss tall cliffs on the ocean. I miss the smell of the eucalyptus trees in the Presidio. I miss driving across the GG Bridge. I miss Berkeley. I miss wine tastings. I miss Halloween costumes even when it wasn’t Halloween. I miss Union Square. I miss Grace Cathedral and Huntington Park. I miss Waterbar under the bridge. I miss offices with a Bay View and looking out at those giant freighter ships the size of a small planet and imagining their trip across the ocean. I miss never thinking much about an air conditioner or heater. I miss Streat Food Park! I miss walking everywhere and never needing or even wanting a car. I miss the weather! I miss naps in the park next to Fog City Diner at lunchtime and that little jazz band that played on Thursdays. I miss Pier 23! I miss the boats outside AT&T Park. I miss the piers. I miss Ryoko Sushi and Le Colonial and the underground allies from prohibition days.

I really miss Hotel Monaco and being able to buy half a goat across the street. I miss the parades and street fairs. I miss Tommy’s Joint prime rib on Sundays. I miss that bumpy tile mosaic on the subway stairs. I always ran my hand over it walking down. I miss standing on my roof and watching the Blue Angles. I miss how everyone got into the Blue Angels and Fleet Week. I miss driving to Pescadero just for that awesome artichoke bread. I miss Santa Cruz and its wooden roller coaster and old school arcade. I miss the Tamale Lady at Zeitgeist. I miss Zeitgeist. I miss getting the world’s best tattoos. I miss that every street corner had the names of the streets in the pavement and that weird parrot-poop-colored paint job on them. I miss the parrots! I miss knowing just how to line up my bike tires flying down California Street so that I didn’t end up roadkill.

California St.

California St. SF

I miss buying a Christmas tree under the Bay Bridge. I miss Red’s Java House. They had a dog just for me called “John’s Double Dog.” Two dogs, 4 slices of bacon, 2 slices of cheese chilli and the works with a Jack and Coke. I miss that weird vase sculpture outside the De Younge with the babies and snakes and I miss walking on the grass-covered roof of the California Academy of Sciences and their Thursday night parties at the museum.

Academy of Sciences SF. Photo

I miss bonfires on Ocean Beach. I miss late night on the N-Judah. I miss Baker Beach. I miss the restaurants in DoPa. God, I miss Hun’s Wun Tun on Kearny and going to the bathroom 3 floors below street level. The Creme Brulee Guys and Tomassos’ oldest wood burning ovens. And that weird building off Broadway with the blue sphere on top and late night Sam’s Burgers. I even miss the strippers that would flirt with me ever night outside Garden of Eden. I miss Sundays in North Beach and that coffee. Damn. I miss Irish Ploughman’s breakfasts at Fiddler’s Green with pints and blood sausages. I miss massive Bloodies and brunch on Greenwich. I miss reading the postcards at Specs.


I miss those plates in the sidewalk that told us that ships were buried under our feet or about the Barbary Coast Trail. I miss dancing on my roof with Lynday to Steely Dan. I miss what was happening at the Mint. I miss Romolo and The Cigar Bar. Man I miss Molinari Del, Capps, Beach Blanket Babylon, Northstar and throwing darts at the Boardroom. I miss MUNI. I miss the Cuban Sandwich at Mario’s before a tattoo session. I miss The Pork Store and Mama’s breakfast.

Broadway St. SF

Broadway St. SF

Wow. I miss the breakfast at Sears on Powell. I miss Washington Square parties and weekends. I miss the anisette biscotti at the Italian French Bakery in North Beach. I miss buying Levis on sale at Macy’s. I miss Bay to Breakers. I miss Cole Valley. I miss Bi-Rite and Humphrey Slocombe Ice Cream and awesome chicharróns. I miss wine in Tiburon, Muir and Stinson beaches. I miss XXXO Chocolate.  I miss SF’s Bubblegirl.  I miss cold foggy nights and hot chocolate. I miss the sound of the foghorn even though we all know it’s a tape. I miss downtown at night when I was the only one there on my bike.

I miss SO MUCH more, but more than anything I miss sharing all of this with the people I love.

I just miss home 🙂


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  1. eM
    December 12, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    I miss how San Franciscans called it highway one, not pch

  2. taconation
    March 19, 2017 at 12:04 am

    I miss rooms for 200 bucks a month in the lower Haight, being a bike messenger in the early 90s and getting wasted at the Drunk Tank on Market at Laguna.

  3. Janel Sterbentz
    September 16, 2017 at 2:22 am

    I’d miss all that if I were in the suburbs too. There are some interesting, lovable, unassuming urban areas all over the US where you don’t have to spend nearly all your paycheck to live. Yes even in Texas.

  4. Neyah White
    April 20, 2020 at 7:22 am