16 July, 2009

San Francisco's Most Exciting Street

As this is my 50th entry, I want to finally devote some time to my favorite street in San Francisco. My choice is wildly subjective and I don't expect many will share my opinion. It's not Market Street or Broadway or Powell or Grant Avenue or any of a dozen other arguably thrilling thoroughfares. The City's crown jewel has to be... Clement Street (accent on the second syllable). I know, it doesn't figure too prominently in guidebooks (in fact, it probably doesn't appear at all). It's not setting hearts racing in Peoria. No Cable Car bells or fishing boats will thrill the visitor. What Clement Street does have is heaps of character. It is, in many ways, the typical SF neighborhood "main street". Plumbers, cobblers, butchers, bakers, video shops, coffee shops, pubs, anything the city dweller might require is all within a short stroll. It's home to a fantastic book store, one of the largest in The City; Green Apple. On the west end of the street is the charming, family-run 4 Star Theatre, home to both Hollywood films and direct-from-Hong Kong pictures. For the most part, it's free of the scourge of chain stores.
I once took a out-of-town visitor to Clement who spent an entire afternoon thinking he was in Chinatown. Although it is predominantly Chinese, the street has a sampling of Russian, Irish, Japanese, Burmese and Vietnamese businesses. Many happy hours can be spent exploring this incredible boulevard. Oh, lest I forget, it's also one of the great restaurant streets in town. If you can't find it on Clement, you don't need it.

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