I work in the East Bay. My coworkers who’ve fled over a bridge, through a tunnel, or down a freeway to raise their children frequently encourage me to move out of San Francisco. The schools in the suburbs are better, they say. The City is so inconvenient, they allege. There’s so little outdoor space, they complain. People claim they want to live in San Francisco for the restaurants and culture, but when you have kids, you don’t take advantage of those things, they say.
At first, I resisted the urge to retort; I didn’t want to be the smug City dweller. But over time I’ve realized that many of their misperceptions about living in San Francisco with kids are actually the reasons I’m happy my children are growing up in the City.
I’m delighted with my children’s school, which is walking distance from our home, challenges them academically, and teaches them to be good citizens in a diverse world.
You want convenience? Neighborhood gem Chiotras Grocery is on my block. If I run out of an ingredient mid-dinner-prep, I can get there and back, ingredient in hand, in less than two minutes; and yes, wearing pajama pants.
My kids enjoy ample time in a variety of outdoor spaces. We frequently visit our five neighborhood playgrounds, and tryout parks and playgrounds in other parts of the City. My children like to hike and look for “specimens” in Glen Canyon. The Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park – free for City dwellers! – is our favorite spot to explore.
My children frequently eat in “adult” restaurants and are, mostly, well-behaved. I’m proud of their willingness to explore new food, and relieved that I’m still dining out at the places I want to eat.
In the last several months, my kids have attended the Symphony, the theater, and several Giants’ games. They go to museums on school field trips. The San Francisco Opera has a program at their school. The City’s rich cultural offerings aren’t lost on its youth. I’m proud of the opportunities my children have as “City kids.” I hope San Francisco becomes a part of their identities.
Erin Loback is a 17-year resident of San Francisco, an Alameda County prosecutor, and a proud “PTA mom.” She lives in Potrero Hill with her first-grade twins, Brett and Maggie, and her husband Dan. “Why I Choose to Raise My Family in San Francisco” is the brainchild of the Potrero Residents Education Fund, a nonprofit committed to helping create a stronger, more vibrant San Francisco by ensuring that families from a diversity of income levels raise their children in the City. Submit your story to firstname.lastname@example.org.