San Francisco has always been the closest big city to where I’ve lived. Even so, I haven’t visited that often and when I do it’s mostly been just a day trip. But this time, since I’ve already done most of the tourist stuff on previous visits and because my lodging was covered for a couple days (my Dad happened to be in the city on business and so I got a free hotel room) I was able to take my time exploring.
I wandered around the Nob Hill and Haight regions of town: both among the nicer places to live in the city. It’s really crucial, I feel, to wander off outside of Union Square or the Warf area or Ghirardelli Square. Get away from where all the tourists are and you’ll get away from all the weird people and trash on the street. When you walk around the areas of town where most people actually live, you can see a lot of great architecture and come across some excellent restaurants and unique shops.
I also visited the Museum of Modern Art. Having been to all the other art museums of San Francisco fairly recently, this was the only one left I’d never been to. Modern art museums are kind of a last resort for me. But I’d always been curious so this time I went.
The thing about modern art is that each artist is so polarizing - you either like a certain kind of thing or don’t. And in some ways that can be aggravating because you pay a bit of money to get into a museum and then there are whole rooms where nothing at all appeals to you and you have to keep walking. But on the other hand, I think you can always find at least one artist that you really like. In terms of modern artists Diebenkorn is one of my favorites. From further back his paintings might look a little sloppy and haphazard. But if you look closer there are so many layers of color and so much texture. I like how close-ups of any part of his paintings could stand on their own as abstract.
There was also an exhibit on vernacular photography, which are photos taken in the normal course of life that were not intended to be art, but through chance happen to be very artistic. I like old photos even if they aren’t artistic, so I enjoyed this.
There are things I really love about San Francisco (the architecture and thriving arts scene), but like any place it has its faults (the over-priced tourist traps and the homeless people who will accost you). But it can be a really great place to visit, if you know where to avoid.