Skip to Navigation Skip to Content

Malena Watrous

Cities Are Good For Kids - and Kids Are Good For Cities

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.

Money Can't Buy It: How the City of Free Expression Became a City of Righteous Consumers

It’s the classic San Francisco story. In your early 20s, you leave home—some flyover state you’d just as soon forget—and move west, without a plan, which is the point. You stop where Interstate 80 stops, right on the edge of the continent, and unpack the U-Haul into a cramped room in a draughty flat in the Mission or the Lower Haight or the Outer Sunset. You share the space with roommates you’ve never met, work some meaningless job to pay the rent, and use the remaining hours to make art, or fantasize about making art, or just roam around the city, marveling at its fairy-tale beauty and strangeness—and at the fact that you get to call it home.

Daily Newsletters

Essential SF knowledge in your inbox

Sign up for our email newsletters to keep up on events, restaurants and SF haps.

Subscribe to 7x7
Renew
Give a Gift
FAQ's

Guides

The Big To-Do: 100 Things to Do In SF Before You Die

The Big Eat 2011: 100 Things to Try Before You Die

Pole Position: Our Subjective Guide to SF's Strip Clubs

Four Awesome Northern California Hot Springs

Refreshingly Unhip: SF's Old-School Pastrami Sandwiches

The 7 Best Carne Asada Burritos in San Francisco

The 10 Best Dishes Under $10 in Bernal Heights

The 10 Best Dishes Under $10 in the Lower Haight

The 10 Best Lunches in Union Square Under $10

The Path To Ramen Enlightenment

Secret Recipes: How to Make Some of the City's Best Dishes

Drink Up: SF's "Cocktail Movement" Bars

8 Solid First Date Ideas

Where to Learn An Instrument in SF

7 Local Musicians to Watch in 2011

The Best Wine Shops, Neighborhood by Neighborhood

The 7 Best San Francisco Albums of 2010

Refreshingly Unhip: The Best Glazed Dougnuts in SF

Tea: Our 7 Favorite Spots to Drink & Buy

Fireside Buzz: 7 Bars That'll Warm You Up

Beer Tasting Road Trip Itinerary of Sonoma & Mendocino Counties

Six Great Boots for Fall in San Francisco

Get A Room: Bars That Rent Private Spaces

The Best Phone Apps for the Food-Obsessed

9 Great San Francisco Football Bars

The Best Bowls of Soup (That Aren't Pho or Ramen) In SF

The 10 Best Burgers in San Francisco

Expert Advice on Parking in The City

Sonoma v. Napa: Which Does it Better?

Biking for Beginners: Routes to Take and Avoid

5 Ways to Get the Wine You Want in Restaurants

San Francisco's Best Dance Classes: 9 Places to Bust A Move

The Big Eat 2010: 100 Things to Try Before You Die

The Big Sweet 2010: 50 Treats to Try Before You Die