I lived there for about 23 years in total, so of course there are things I really appreciate about the Bay!
WHY I LOVED LIVING IN THE BAY AREA
THE FOCUS ON THE ENVIRONMENTI know there are other places like this, but people in the Bay really do seem to care about the environment. Overall, I feel like there’s a big focus on environmental education in schools and people strive to be more eco-friendly (at least in my opinion – or maybe I’m just surrounded by those people more since I was working for an environmental nonprofit?).
It feels like a happy little environmentally conscious bubble, which I love!
People are generally all about health here, too. It’s not as juice-cleansy as LA, but most people love their Whole Foods, farmers markets, yoga, etc. I think it’s an antidote to all the stress from the traffic we sit in…
BEING IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO BEAUTIFUL PLACESYou’re about an hours drive (or less!) from the beach, close to (or living in) San Francisco, and have all kinds of beautiful forests within arms’ reach!
It’s SO EASY to take a fun weekend trip or day trip to a ton of different destinations. You can drive to Yosemite but also the coast. The city but also the forest. Wine country or Tahoe to get your snow fix. I’ll definitely miss the variety of beautiful places close by when I was living in the Bay Area!
Growing up, I was (and still am) surrounded by sooo many different ethnicities and cultures. It’s been a beautiful thing to grow up with and live so close to so many different types of people.
I think that it made me a more open-minded person and I learned so much about different cultures. I am very appreciative of that. I like that people in the Bay are generally pretty non-judgmental (at least the people I’ve come across) – no one really cares what you look like or where you came from.
Of course, I say this as a white girl, but my BIPOC friends have said the same. Many of my BIPOC friends say they’ll never leave because they feel so comfortable/welcome there.
BEING CLOSE TO AIRPORTSThere are 3 main airports in the Bay: San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland. This has been sooo nice since I love to travel, and has allowed me to easily shop around for the cheapest ticket.
Usually it ends up being cheapest to fly out of San Francisco (“SFO” is the airport’s name, and what locals tend to call it), but now that Norwegian flies out of Oakland, I’ve been choosing that airport more! San Jose is usually the most expensive, so I only fly out of there when I don’t feel like dealing with BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). That’s the other nice thing! BART, one of the main public transportation systems in the Bay Area, goes directly to the airport.
THE WEATHEROk, ok, I know I shat on the weather in my last post, but sometimes it IS nice that it’s still sunny and in the 60’s F (about 15 C) in December. I can still run outside without freezing to death, the farmer’s market happens all year round, I don’t have to put on 48734934 layers to check the mail, don’t have to deal with the annoyances that snow can bring, don’t have to drive in shitty weather (although when it does rain here, ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE – beware for lots more traffic), don’t have to own a super warm winter coat, don’t need to worry about my car freezing in the winter (or whatever it is that happens to your car in colder climates),…etc.
ALL MY FOOD SPOTSThere is sooooo much GOOD MEXICAN FOOD IN THE BAY AREA!!!! I will miss that so much.
My Canadian friend and I had a very disturbing convo about this. He said he didn’t like Mexican food that much (don’t worry, I ended our friendship right then and there) and then when I asked if he’d ever had real Mexican food, he told me that there’s a Chipotle around the corner from his work (HUGE RED FLAG AND I HAVE SHUNNED HIM EVER SINCE).
And if you’re a foodie, the Bay Area is the place to be! As far as I’m concerned, we have pretty much every type of food that’s ever existed. And most of it is really, really GOOD.
Plus In-N-Out. There’s that. If you’re a vegetarian, get the Grilled Cheese Animal Style (although you can also get your regular burger Animal Style). And get a side of Animal Style Fries. Thank me later.
BEING SURROUNDED BY MOUNTAINSI love the mountains surrounding the bay. They make for some great sunsets and I just love a good hill. I visited the midwest when I was younger and it was so unsettling to look around and just see flatness. And more flatness. WHERE WERE THE MOUNTAINS?! I honestly don’t think I could ever live somewhere long term that doesn’t have them!
This makes for awesome hiking, too.
I suppose this is probably a thing that most big cities have in common, but you can get pretty much anything in the Bay, at almost any time of day. And, there are usually multiple stores all around so you don’t have to go very far.
It’s pretty easy to find something to accommodate your needs. And chain stores (i.e. Target, Whole Foods) have sooo many locations, so you never have to drive too far (although you’ll most likely be sitting in traffic for a good part of it anyway, haha).And so, as much as I complain about the Bay Area, I’ll definitely miss it, too! And my friends and family of course, but I felt like including that on this list was a cop out. It’s definitely going to be tough – most of my friends from high school (and college!) and parents are still in the Bay…
But overall, I just know I’ll be happier somewhere else. Somewhere that’s not so expensive, full of traffic, and crowded. Somewhere closer to nature. But at least I know I’ll have places to stay when I come back and visit!