My son was a colicky baby, wailing for hours and up before dawn. To comfort him—and escape our cramped apartment—we would take long walks. Fortifying coffee in hand and baby in pouch, I’d scale Folsom Street and then spiral up to Bernal Heights, where we could find nature without leaving San Francisco. Once I saw an owl gripping a branch, looking back at us with agate eyes. We kept up the ritual after the fussy baby turned into a happier toddler, and we would walk side by side. Max was just 2 when he surveyed the view and said, “Our city.” Some people argue that SF is no place to raise a kid, but I’ve always felt differently.
The typical Tahoe weekend plan goes like this: Scramble to get as much work done by noon on Friday as is humanly possible, then load up the car, cross the Bay Bridge, and pray you'll make it to Truckee in less than six hours. If there's snow, chains, or an accident anywhere along the route, settle in for the long haul. Spend Saturday skiing and drinking, wake up Sunday with an altitude-hangover headache, and reverse the trek on Sunday.
But what if you've got kids in tow—and not the kind of superhuman toddlers who can whiz down a blue slope in their baby skis at 30 mph, but regular, old-school carpet crawlers who just want some snow angels and sleds?
San Francisco has plenty of ultra-hip parents these days, and with the encroachment of rock shows and art events for the younger set, a new locale is emerging as the Final Frontier of family fun: the local watering hole. Buoyed by recent memories of their salad days and recession-induced frustration at dropping a boatload of cash on a babysitter, parents are bringing their babies into locales that were once their meat markets. As with everything involving urban children these days, this has provoked some heated opinions, from parents defending their need for a post-baby social life to childfree advocates decrying the presence of breastfeeding at the bar.