San Francisco

San Francisco changed since 2013

Before this week, my last hotel stay in San Francisco was December 2013. The price of hotels in San Francisco priced me out of that city. This Thanksgiving week we stayed at Hyatt Centric Fisherman’s Wharf and Best Western Cartwright Hotel at Union Square on reward nights. The city has changed in the four years I have been away from San Francisco.

Salesforce Transbay Tower tallest building in city

SF skyline Pier 39

Transamerica Pyramid was the tallest building in San Francisco since its construction in 1972. Move over TransAmerica, the new Salesforce TransBay Tower at 1,070 feet is the new downtown high top since summer 2017.

Salesforce Tower-1

Another change in San Francisco is seen in the photo above taken at Sixth Street. Ten years ago this neighborhood was in the heart of one of San Francisco’s major concentrations of street homeless. New condominium housing has been constructed on this SoMa South of Market street.

New restaurants, apartments, hotels and stores are replacing and gentrifying the former slums of San Francisco.


Lefty O’douls closed after 59 years.

One of our San Francisco traditions when staying around Union Square is breakfast at Lefty O’douls, a sports pub and restaurant in operation across the street from the Westin St. Francis Hotel since 1958. Lefty O’douls on Geary Street closed February 2017.

Lefty Odouls

As we sat in Daily Grill next door to the former Lefty O’douls eating a $48 breakfast, I read about the landlord dispute that drove out Lefty O’douls in February 2017. Daily Grill, attached to the Handlery Hotel, is owned by Jon Handlery, the landlord who forced Lefty O’douls out. Breakfast at Daily Grill, while good fare, was kind of like eating with the restaurant enemy to add insult to injury.


Golden Gate Park Water Fountains

 SF Water Global Tap

Water fountains in Golden Gate Park are a welcome addition to one of the largest urban parks in the USA.


Still the Same San Francisco

Other things are still around in places the same way we remember them over the years. Parking the car for free below the Legion of Honor still provides one of the best views of Golden Gate Bridge. Lower down the hill offers better views through the trees than where I stopped. 

Presidio Parkway for Golden Gate Bridge traffic was a confusing $1.4 billion road change for me when I wanted to simply drive through the Presidio to the Marina to reach Fisherman’s Wharf, like I have done for years.

SF Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Park is still a place where we can hide away from big city life.

SF Golden gate Park

Safeway is still a place to find some of the best food market deals in a city of expensive trendy restaurants. We ate our first fresh crab of the 2017-18 season at $6.99 per pound. Commercial crab season fresh crabs hit the stores last week.

Safeway crab Safeway specials

Sea lions still inhabit their own dedicated docks at Pier 39 for tourists to photograph.

The city marches on and changes over time. A four year absence from the streets of San Francisco revealed time only partly stands still.

SF Union Square



  • James November 25, 2017

    Sad to hear about Lefty’s…Fresno’s Daily Grill was closed 2 months ago in a landlord dispute.

  • WR November 25, 2017

    Another change you may have noticed are the ubiquitous shattered car windows since the city, in their infinite wisdom, all but decriminalized property crimes. Also the constant waft of marijuana smoke. One thing is unchanged: plenty of aggressive homeless and their puddles of urine. Ahhh, we’re so progressive.

  • Al November 25, 2017

    Also don’t forget to mention that SF along with the entire Bay Area has become a trash can. Litter everywhere, along the roads…etc, you name it. It is so unsightly while driving with trash strewn everywhere.

  • Ric Garrido November 26, 2017

    @WR and @Al – I think homeless and trash were much worse in 1970s and 1980s.

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