Yes, many people shiver at the mention of the Sunset District in San Francisco. Many people say they can’t stand it, and never want to go there again. I can understand that. Nothing happens there. The population tends to be conservative, and the grid of mid century housing built on once beautiful sand dunes is not as visually inspiring as, say, the Victorians of Haight Ashberry. It’s a long way from anything, and there is little night life, sense of style in the way people dress, or excitement.
But for many people, the Outer Sunset District is a fantastic place to live. While the neighborhood is conservative in many ways, the people are generally well behaved, many of them being Asians, who will politely leave you alone. Even the homeless who live in Golden Gate Park, which runs through this area, do not ask for money here. If you are in a quite, internal mode, you need not be accosted here by people aggressively wanting your attention. If they wanted attention, they probably would be living in some other district. If you want more interaction, the drama of meeting new people, and flirting, the N Judah Muni train is there to take you to such adventures. And it is often not too crowded in the Outer Sunset District, so you may even be able to sit down. And if you feel like walking instead, you can go through Golden Gate park. It is a safe quiet area for riding your bike as well. Parking in the Outer Sunset is a bit tight, so it may be best to leave your car at home if you have one, and save pollution emissions at the same time.
And the Outer Sunset District is where many people who care about such things do live, which really makes it stand out. In the last couple years, the area around the N Judah line near the beach, only three blocks from Golden Gate Park, has vitalized itself. Other Avenues Health Food Co-op, near 44th Avenue, has been providing organic food and supplements to this community for a good while, and is a treasure. The workers are very personable, and checking out can be a playful, relaxed, humorous experience. They carry excellent books, and items such as teeshirts and purses, as well as the nutrition that keeps us healthy in San Francisco.
Across them them, on 45th Avenue, the vegan, organic restaurant, Feel Real, opened, in April, 2005. The owners/workers exude love, joy, reverence, spirit. This is a very special place, and as they were building it up, all with recycled materials, the owners meditated regularly to make this a vortex to enhance the spirit of the Outer Sunset District. It works. They serve foods they make themselves from scratch, such as a soup of the ocean, with no fish, but with seaweed they wade out at the appropriate time and place, to gather, with appreciation.
In 44th Avenue, another new restaurant is Judaliscious. It began mostly as a fresh squeazed organic juice bar, smoothie, and ice cream store, with vegan selections. It has moved on to include home made entres, baked goods, and a growing variety of drinks and healthy additions such as royal jelly. Like Feel Reaal and Other Avenues, Judaliscious is committed to bringing healthy choices which take into consideration the environment, the production of the foods and how it affects nature and the people involved.
The Outer Sunset District is favored by die hard surfers as well, though the chilly water requires wet suits, and a good command of the surf. Other health conscious individuals ride their bikes and run, often pushing baby carriages, along the trail by the Great Highway. The coast itself at Ocean Beach is a good place to go for long runs and walks, and many happy dogs and children can be encountered there, which is likely to bring a smile to your face. If you go far enough, you can find Fort Funsten, or, to the north, the ruins of the Sutro Baths, a romantic, nostalgic, beautiful spot. The beach is not always as clean as would be desired, but there are regular neighborhood clean up days.
The only aspect of The Outer Sunset District that is questionable for the health conscious individual is the weather. It does keep the rent slightly lower, yes. It is good for those who want to avoid the sun. Some people love the romance of long walks in the fog. But the windy, cool, overcast weather can be prohibitive for those who love basking in the warm sun. The beach is a bit of a tease, as you can go outside, and be ready to go jacketless to the beach, get some sun. And by the time to get close to it, you have to put your jacket on. Counterproductive. Oh, well. Nothing’s perfect.