The (Non-Food) Differences Between Boston and San Francisco


So, when I started on this whole “this is what I’ve been assigned” project, I decided to stay as true to it as possible. Meaning, I requested 31 topics and 31 I received. It just so happened that two of the subjects were quite similar – West Coast versus East Coast Living, and this this one. But, in pursuit of purity of the project, I kept them both.

For East v. West, it was a no brainer – I blathered for multiple paragraphs about the weather. Which is no small deal, but didn’t feel like it warranted a second post about it. However, I struggled a bit more with this.

While Boston and San Francisco are different in many small ways, they’re actually quite… alike. It’s no wonder that both cities often pop up on lists of travel favorites, and the volume of transplants from one to the other is stunning. I guaranteed that if you walk around SF for a few hours, you’re likely to count as many Red Sox caps as Giants ones.

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And, actually, although the request specifically called out “non-food” differences, the food scenes are not totally disparate. Both have great options for restaurants; both having booming food truck industries; both have a strong diner interest in farm-to-table options. Yes, SF is considered to be one of the food capitals of the world, but those willing to work at it can find just as delicious options in BOS.

While the people in San Francisco are friendlier right off the bat, residents of both places value friends as extensions of their families and are always eager to meet up over a beverage – it just happens to be wine here and beer there. San Franciscans value being unique; Bostonians cheer for the underdog. At the heart of it, both are just about honoring differences amongst us.

You’ll never be bored in either place. Both cities have vibrant social and cultural offerings, a million restaurants and bars, festivals for every possible thing to celebrate. Both allow for access to areas of amazing beauty only a short car ride away. In both cities you’ll sit in traffic that’ll make you want to poke your eyes out trying to get to those beautiful places.

At the end of the day, now having lived in both places, I can say that my life is not terribly different in either. Your alarm goes off, you put on some clothes, you go to work, you eat some food, and, in between it all, you try and have a little fun. What matters is that you live somewhere that inspires and delights you. I am beyond fortunate to have found two of those places to call home.

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