Gary Kamiya loves San Francisco. And he’s walked nearly every square inch of it, from the weathered cliffs of Land’s End to the dark corners of the Tenderloin. His new book, “Cool Gray City of Love,” is a romantic letter to the city and the 49 spots that he thinks make it unique. Kamiya shares his favorite history and stories of San Francisco, and we ask you to tell us about the spots that made you fall in love with San Francisco.[View the story “Favorite Spots, Walks and Runs From Our Listeners” on Storify]

Gary Kamiya’s Love Letter to San Francisco 21 August,2013forum

Gary Kamiya, co-founder and former executive editor of

  • JuniorWoodpecker

    Didn’t Tom Graham of the SF Chronicle already walk every San Francisco Street?

  • Attila

    San Francisco is a nice city visually, but in recent years it has become full of techie douche bags who speculate in the mobile and web spaces, as well as heartless real estate scammers who smugly declare $2500 1BR apartments to be perfectly affordable, even when those 1BR’s are ramshackle shacks situated in backyards. It’s almost like the 1% of San Francisco made a calculated decision to get rid of the real people and to bring in the phonies and sociopaths, to create a kind of Enron by the Bay culture. That said, it’s not the case that all of the locals who have been pushed out of SF by the incoming narcissistic manboys were quality people either. To an extent it has been garbage in, garbage out.

    • disqus_cIfypB40x5

      Are you from Texas?

      • Weltanschauung

        I think the moniker implies he is from Hungary.
        Incidentally by local garbage, could he possibly mean people like those who beat up the Yale choir members a few years ago?

    • Cray

      I was born here, I am still here and I am not garbage. Neither are my many friends and relatives that grew up here.

  • marinmom

    Moving from the frenetic New York area many years ago, I had fallen in love with San Francisco as a child on many vacation trips with my family. To me, it is a peaceful, non judgmental place to be. I love all of its many varied neighborhoods, but also adore the small discoveries, the 16th Avenue Steps, the many alleys that wind their way through the city, the amazing Mission District murals, there is always something new and wonderful to explore. At the same time it is still a challenging city, never boring, always a surprise, in the end I am happier in San Francisco than I’ve been anywhere else in the world.

    • Gabriella West

      This is sweet, but your username is Marinmom. Do you actually live here? i wish I could find it peaceful and nonjudgmental, but having lived here for over 20 years I actually find it the opposite.

      • marinmom

        Have lived in both SF and Marin over the years. I come from the East Coast and find I have little tolerance for the rigid, deeply ingrained views of many back there. SF is far from perfect as I said, but given the choice…for me there is no choice. And I do think that there is far more peace to be found here than in most other major cities.

  • Bob Fry

    I haven’t read his book. Haven’t walked SF as he has, and never lived in SF. And not a world class or national traveler. With those caveats….

    I don’t think any American city is all that great. SF may be the best of the American cities, but none compare with the European or even Mexican cities I’ve had the fortune to visit. Non-American cities are actually livable and enjoyable for middle-class families. US cities attract all the human outliers and concentrate them, while other cities seem to have a more typical national cross-section of its inhabitants (London excluded, it has a cross-section of the world population).

    Instead of making our cities enjoyable, we’ve abandoned them to extremes of autos and human behaviors, then declared victory and exclaim how wonderful they are.

    Edit: continuing to listen, many callers explain the great views and vistas. True enough, but to me that’s like the initial rush of a puppy love vs the long term caring and live needed for a lifetime marriage.
    Let the down votes begin.

  • Wendy Fong

    As a SF native I hold these places near and dear to my heart. A project that I’m working on – highlights all these wonderful, off the beaten track spaces like POPOS ( privately owned, public open spaces), stairwells, murals, Parklets, conservatories…the list goes on and on. It’s what makes this city so unique. Go forth and explore!

  • Michael Cushing

    The greatest walks…anywhere SF City Guides walks. Their volunteers that walk the city every day are some of the best ambassadors for visitors and locals alike. They continually share their love of our city’s history and uncover so many nooks and crannies that few discover without years spent here. Thank you City Guides!

  • Ross Smith

    The Marin Historical Society has a great app that allows users to explore the remarkable sites and events in Marin. Can your guest or listeners identify any such app for exploring San Francisco?

    Oh, and I recall listening to the percussionists at Aquatic Park while watching the Polar Bear Club swimmers while working at a pizzaria at Ghirardelli Square… The sailboats, the shipping containers and oil tankers, Alcatraz and the fog horns… Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

  • marie

    Please don’t forget Rebecca Solnit’s books, especially ‘Infinite City’.
    Here words are poetry.

  • mulza

    sure, the natural landscape, bridges, & architecture of sf are amazing- so special, not to be found anywhere else in the world BUT we have lost a middle class. pushing the working class out of cities is disgusting & creates an ugly divide. technology, money, cars, fancy food & drink does not create beauty. quite the opposite.

  • Geoff Nino

    My wife and I fell in Love with The City sitting in the window seat overlook Kearny and Broadway at the Vesuvio!

  • Pete Funk

    When I moved to SF 25 years ago my introduction to the city was through pick up basketball. I found a community and an opportunity to explore my new city by seeking out a variety of courts throughout the city. I have nothing but fond memories of the first time I stepped onto the panhandle court, played at Grattan, The Marina, Ida B Wells on Alamo Square, and others I’m sure I’m forgetting. Each was unique and some with world class views. I learned the city while playing the game I loved.

  • MattCA12

    Chinatown, love it. Also GG Park. Wish there weren’t so many tourists, though.

  • Katy Butler

    What a beautiful show! My favorite place: The Filbert Steps, transformed from a rubbish-strewn Telegraph Hill hillside into a garden of paradise by aging Hollywood refugee Grace Marchant. Best memories: riding the cable car home from work at the SF Chronicle while a barbershop quartet riding with me sang “I left my heart in San Francisco” in the misty darkness. I kid you not.

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