No doubt, we are a city in transition. But despite the doomsaying proclamations of some, San Francisco, for whatever quirk of its DNA, has always been a city of booms and busts, with a backdrop of libertine wildness. Our history, as much as our present, is full of real estate fights and resistance to change, new populations encroaching on others' turf, and messy politics with its roots in the Old West.

Here at SFist, we remain confident that we're going to live through this current spate of rapid change, and that San Francisco will weather it with style and dignity like it always has. Because this city is rad. And not to gloss over the present problems that face us, or the open questions about how to handle changes of density or gentrification, or homelessness, but if all it takes to "ruin" SF is an influx of new tech workers, then it wasn't that rad in the first place.

But here are 50 reasons to prove that it was, is, and will be for hopefully for a very long time.

The fact that we will have a world-class modern art museum again (next year).

Dyke March


Also, Trans March, which is one of the biggest and oldest trans events in the world.

The Musée Mécanique, long may it live

Musée Mécanique photo: Sarah H via Flickr

Armistead Maupin couldn't stay away long.

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Photo of Armistead Maupin: homotopiafestival via Flickr

Jane Kim's shoe collection.

Left: Kim's election night 2014 shoes photographed by Jay Barmann/SFist. Right: Kim's Pride, 2012 shoes photographed by Octoferret.

Free Opera at AT&T Park

The awesome 1920s and '30s apartment hotels of Lower Nob Hill and the Tenderloin with Moorish and Deco details and fanciful names like The Pharaoh, The Alhambra, and The Grenada.

The Alhambra Apartments on Geary. Photo: Google

The Filbert Steps (and all our other stairway streets)

There are bison in Golden Gate Park. Bison!

Photo of Golden Gate Park bison: 50-phi via Flickr

If you're feeling down about SF, (or about anything) go to a service at Glide Memorial Church. It doesn't matter if you believe in God or not, just go.

Photo from a service at Glide: Mallory via Flickr

Our classic, non-trendy (some might even say "OG") taco trucks

Photo of an El Gallo Giro taco truck: y6y6y6 via Flickr

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass has been totally free and non-commercial since 2001 at the bequest of late banjo-picking billionaire Warren Hellman.

Our city has slides! Adult slides!

An afternoon on the patio at El Rio.

Anchor Brewing, American beer pioneers who still make great American beer.

Do you know the Truffle Man?

People can't stop writing music about us. Have you seen our songbook?

The tactile dome at The Exploratorium.

The legendary Tactile Dome via the Exploratorium

A drag star triumvirate that no other city has: Juanita MORE, Heklina, and Peaches Christ.

Every last parklet.

The parklet at Farm:Table Photo: SF Planning

Chinatown, not the touristy Grant Avenue stuff, but the real stuff on the side streets.

Photo: Linda Hoover

The poster archive on the walls of The Fillmore.

Photo: Megan/Flickr

The various flocks of wild parrots, on Telegraph Hill, in Alamo Square, and spreading elsewhere.

Photo: ElKay Photos

Proxy, and especially Biergarten.

Biergarten. Photo: Proxy/Facebook

Cool Grey City Of Love, Season of the Witch, Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas and all the recent books inspired by, and celebrating SF.

The map of butterfly habitats and queer public spaces from Rebecca Solnit's 'Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas'

The carnitas at Taqueria San Francisco.

Photo: Kevin Y./Yelp

The fact that Hippie Hill is still a thing, after all these years — and regardless how you feel about panhandling and vagrancy, the fact that people still flock to the Haight from all over, often when they're homeless, in search of love and kindness and a chill place to remain very stoned.

A drum circle at Hippie Hill. Photo: Walter Parenteau

James Turrell's Skyspace hidden away next to The DeYoung (and the California/Bay Area art collection there in general).

Photo: Todd Lappin

Filmmakers can’t stop either Instagram-filtering the city as a beautiful backdrop (Looking, the upcoming Diary of Teenage Girl), or destroying the whole place over and over (San Andreas and Terminator Genisys).

Burning Man was born here, right on Baker Beach.


...And maybe because of that, we still get the best molly here.

Photo: Tanjila Ahmed

The view from Twin Peaks with morning fog.

Photo: David Yu

The jukebox at Murio's Trophy Room, among others.

Murio's Trophy Room. Caleb Pershan/SFist

The tireless and incoherent work of Frank Chu, protester.

Frank Chu with his trademark sign in the Financial District. January 14th, 2014. (Photo: Bhautik Joshi)

That day, every June, when all the rainbow flags go up along Market Street.

Photo: Arnaud H

Our intact collection of old man bars, long may they survive.

Photo: Tim Lucas

Night tours — and the rare nighttime party — at Alcatraz.

Photo: Sean Hobson

Carnivale in the Mission.

And how about the fact that every weekend from April to October there is some kind of street fair, festival, or ridiculously fun thing to do?

The How Weird Street Fest. Photo: Daniel Hoherd

Regardless of how you might feel about drones, you can't deny the relentless beauty of videos like this.

L'Ardoise, Chapeau, Baker Street Bistro, and all of the city’s tucked-away French bistros, with legit French staffs.

L'Ardoise. Photo: Facebook

SomeThing at The Stud, Grace Towers' Dick @ Night Party at Moby Dick, and all the places you can experience San Francisco's unpolished, often bearded style of drag, handed down to us via The Cockettes.

Grace Towers. Photo: Magnus Hastings via Facebook

Also, speaking of, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were born here.

Photo from one of the victims of Saturday's attacks: Stop The Violence/Facebook

The icon of our skyline, the TransAmerica Pyramid.

The Void sound system at Monarch, and that downstairs dancefloor.


95-Year-Old Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and City Lights Bookstore.

Every neighborhood farmers' market, and the one that started them all, at the Ferry Building.

Photo: Class V

The hidden jewel that is McLaren Park.

Photo: Ed Brownson

Every last windswept, wispy clouded sunset.

Photo: David Yu

Eve Batey and Caleb Pershan contributed to this list.

Photo from Dyke March 2013: Chris Glass via Flickr